Friday, August 10, 2012

Best Mets by Matthew Silverman

Best Mets by Matthew Silverman
Published by Taylor Trade Publishing ISBN 978-1-58979-670-6
Trade paperback $16.95

The New York Mets turn fifty this year, and it is the perfect time for Best Mets: Fifty Years of Highs and Lows from New York's Most Agonizingly Amazin' Team by Matthew Silverman. It's just too bad that Johan Santana waited until this season to throw the Mets first-ever no-hitter; it was too late for the book.

Flipping through the book was like a blast from the past for me, seeing all of my old favorites, (Tug McGraw and Gary Carter were my all-time faves) and their exploits in print. After the introduction gives an overview of the fifty years, Silverman gets into lists, which any true baseball fan adores.

We get the Top 50 Mets, and even better, certain Mets give their Top 50 Mets (Jerry Koosman chose Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Grote, Bud Harrelson and himself.) Zipping through the list and seeing Cleon Jones, Jon Matlack, Tommy Agee, and Felix Millan made me smile with joyful memories.

Other chapters include Best Teams, Best All-Stars, and Best Games, which include a list of the team rivalries, heartbreaking losses, and best comebacks. Interspersed through the book are interesting tidbits about "Mets People", including Jane Jarvis, a virtuoso organist. On the night of the big New York blackout in 1977, amidst the chaos, looting and arrests, Jarvis kept the crowd at Shea Stadium happy and calm by singing Christmas carols.

I'm a fairly knowledgeable baseball fan, but one thing in the book stumped me. WAR- Wins Against Replacement- rankings are listed. I had no idea what WAR was, never heard of it.  "WAR looks at a player's performance based on valuable he is compared to the average Triple-A player who might be called up to replace him." (My older son told me it's a recent stat.) No surprise, Tom Seaver holds the number one ranking for the Mets.

Best Mets is a must-have book for any Mets fan. It has so much great information presented in an interesting and breezy manner, you can race through the book and then go back and savor each list, each tidbit, and it would be a terrific conversation starter when two or more Mets fans get together.

rating 4 of 5

I saw the great Bud Harrelson a few months ago at a book signing, my post on that is here.

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