No Mets player has ever been a truer example of everything you want a player to be, than David Wright.
This is a man who was Blessed with an innate ability to play the game of baseball at the highest level. He excelled in a way only a select few others have. Longtime Mets fans know all about the revolving door our team had at 3rd base over many years. That was until David Wright became the everyday 3rd baseman in 2004. On September 29th, 2018, for the last time, our Captain will take the field at the position where NO Met will ever exceed his contributions, ever again.
Don’t misunderstand; players may come along who have better stats, in the future. Players may come who win more Gold Gloves. Players may come who become the new “Face of the Franchise”. But no Mets player will ever be to our team, what David Wright has been.
If I was a parent with a young son or daughter who plays baseball and my young child was looking for someone in Major League Baseball or even sports in general, to look up to, I would tell them about David Wright. Many sports stars today are all about how much money they can make. They are all about prestige and publicity. They care more about endorsement deals than giving all they have in every game. David Wright put it all on the field and gave every ounce of himself to the game, to his teammates, to the fans and to the true ideals of sport – every time he got the chance to do so. He personifies everything a baseball player should be.
In his 13 seasons with the Mets, David Wright was an All-Star 7 times. He won 2 Gold Glove Awards and 2 Silver Slugger Awards. His career batting average stands at .296 with an on-base percentage of .376 and a slugging percentage of .491. He has 242 home runs and 196 stolen bases. He is the Mets’ all-time leader in hits, doubles, walks, runs scored and RBIs. Wright was a true five-tool player blending power, speed and quality defense at the hot corner. His intelligence on the field and his leadership, even from a young age, are what lead to his being named only the 4th official captain in Mets history.
During both the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classics, David was honored to represent the United States. His heroics in both of these events led to him being nicknamed “Captain America”. There was a memorable walk-off hit to push the U.S. into semi-final play in 2009 and a grand slam in 2013 that was part of a huge tournament performance.
It’s true that his career stats are impressive but it is the intangibles that he brought to the Mets that truly set him apart from all the other Mets stars that came before him. His presence was felt from the very beginning of his Mets career. He was a consummate professional, never ducking from the media or throwing a tantrum. He set a standard in the clubhouse by the way he treated his teammates. No matter the circumstances he always showed his manager, coaches and management genuine respect. He loved the fans and gave us his appreciation every chance he could. He exuded boyish enthusiasm in every game. He never quit on a ball if he thought he could catch it. His one-handed catch, over his head is imbued in the minds of Mets fans, forever. Oh, and that Home Run swing! What a thing of beauty.
Beyond being a great player, David Wright is a true example of how to be a good person. He was always the first Met through the door of any charity event. He established his own charitable foundation when he was just beginning his MLB career and has continued to extend its reach. He is a far better human being even than he is a baseball player.
I don’t think I will ever lose the vision of that David Wright smile in my mind’s eye, or his tongue hanging out whenever he took off after a ground ball or made a throw to first base or the routine he went through with his warm-up swings and his batting gloves and his jersey, every time he stepped into the batter’s box. Everything about watching David Wright play was pure joy. Everything about David Wright, the man, is pure class. He even showed us how to graciously close a playing career.
After watching him talk about his final chance to put on a Mets uniform as a player and do the one thing he loves more than words can describe, one more time, I can only admire him more for the ordeal he has endured to be able to end his career on his own terms. That the Mets organization is giving him the opportunity to do that is wholly deserved and appropriate. It goes without saying that the number 5 will never again be placed upon the uniform of another Met.
Our Captain is giving us one more hard-earned moment to treasure. Sheer determination and unending integrity have brought him to that moment. And we will be watching with some sadness but also with hearts full of appreciation.
No Mets player has ever given us more.
No player has ever embodied being a Met, better.
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