I watched most of yesterday’s game on the Mets’ network, listening to Gary Cohen and Mex Hernandez call the game. I like the Met guys, although Cohen gets jacked-up more now that he’s on TV. That’s fine because in general, he just gets out of the way and let’s the action unfold, without the need to put exclaimation points on every call. I know Cohen grew up rooting for the Mets which is why I was puzzled at something he said yesterday.
Ron Darling, the third guy in the Met booth, was calling the game for the TBS Game of the Week, and over at YES, David Cone and Ken Singleton were doing with the game with Michael Kay. Cohen mentioned that the grouping of Hernandez, Darling, Cone and Singleton represented the four best trades in franchise history.
I get the first three, but to suggest that the Mets got the better of the deal that sent Singleton, Mike Jorgeseon and Tim Foli to the Expos in exchange for Rusty Staub seems misguided at best, sentimental at worst.
The trade took place on April 2, 1972, a few months shy of Singleton’s 25th birthday. In his second season with the Expos, Singleton played 162 games, hit .302/.425/.479, with 26 doubles, 23 dingers, 100 runs scored, 103 RBI and 123 walks, good for a 148 OPS+. In comparison, Rusty Staub’s best season with the Mets from 72-75 was 1975 when he hit .282/.371/.448 in 155 games, with 30 doubles, 19 dingers, 93 runs scored and 105 RBI, good for an OPS+ of 131. Staub was three years older than Singleton and by 1979 he was a platoon player. In a long, 23-year career, Staub’s line is .279/.362/.431. In a much shorter career (15 seasons), Singleton’s line is .282/.388/.436. After the trade, Singleton put up OPS+ seasons of 153, 165, 152, 155, and 142. They were all full seasons. Staub, put up OPS+ seasons of 131 and 137 in full seasons, and 147 as a pinch-hitter for the Mets in 1981.
Jorgensen and Foli had some productive seasons too.
Maybe it’s me. I was too young to follow the team during the early 70s but looking at the numbers, I’d say this was one of the worst trades in Met history.