BY JOE RINI
Although September was short on pennant race drama for the New York Mets, two players did scale team milestones during this last week of the 2012 season. David Wright became the Mets all-time hits leader and R.A. Dickey became the Mets first 20 game winner since 1990.
The Mets also made an announcement regarding the future of the organization, as the return of Terry Collins and his coaches for the 2013 season was made official.
On September 26, Wright’s infield single in the third inning of the Mets 6-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates was the 1,419 hit of his career. The hit put Wright ahead of Ed Kranepool on the Mets hit list.
A Met since 2004 and still two months shy of 30, Wright is also the all-time team leader in RBI and runs scored. With the Mets certain to exercise an option on Wright for 2013, the inevitable question becomes whether the financially challenged team will secure him to a long-term deal this winter or risk losing him to free agency next year.
A day after Wright’s milestone, R.A. Dickey struck out 13 Pirates in 7 and 2/3 innings on his way to becoming the sixth 20-game winner in Mets history. The Mets won a 6-5 victory over the Pirates in the final game at Citi Field in 2012.
The 37-year old knuckleballer is a well-chronicled unlikely success story with his 20-6 record this season. He finishes at or near the top of many pitching categories and is a top candidate to join Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden as Mets Cy Young Award winners.
Twice in the last seven years, there have been no 20 game winners in the major leagues, making Dickey’s achievement for a team with a losing record especially notable.
“He’s willing to sacrifice everything to be great. I’m so happy for him I can’t tell you. In the midst of a tough situation with the way we didn’t play very well in the second half, this certainly makes the end of the season very bright,” said Terry Collins.
After his win, Dickey saluted the fans and said, “This was for them.” Considering how the last home games of 2006, 2007, and 2008 ended in such disappointing fashion for, perhaps Dickey’s 20th win will provide some karmic relief in the years to come.
Incredibly, Dickey revealed after his final start against the Marlins on Tuesday that he had pitched most of this season with an abdominal tear. He will have surgery to repair it later this month. So as the book is closed on the Mets 2012 season, it has been my privilege to write about it and I thank you, the readers. By the way, it’s only 137 days to Mets pitchers and catchers.