1992 New York Mets
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s)Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday, Jr.
General manager(s)Al Harazin
Manager(s)Jeff Torborg
Local televisionWWOR-TV/SportsChannel New York
(Ralph Kiner, Tim McCarver, Fran Healy, Rusty Staub, Bob Carpenter)
Local radioWFAN
(Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen, Todd Kalas)
WSKQ-FM (spanish)
(Juan Alicea, Billy Berroa, Renato Morffi, Armando Talavera)
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The New York Mets' 1992 season was the 31st regular season for the Mets. The Mets entered the season attempting to improve on their 1991 season, where due in part to a second half collapse they finished 78-84 and recorded their first losing record since 1983. Instead, they had a worse record of 72-90, missing the playoffs for the 4th consecutive year. All 81 of the Mets' home games were played at Shea Stadium.

Background

After contending for most of the first two-thirds of the 1991 season, the Mets stumbled from second place to fifth at the end of the season. The collapse cost second-year manager Bud Harrelson his job, as he was fired toward the end of the campaign. To replace him the Mets brought in Jeff Torborg, who had led the Chicago White Sox to second place in the American League West in 1991. In memory of the man responsible for bringing National League baseball back to New York, the Mets wore a memorial patch for William A. Shea during this season.

Major acquisitions

The Mets' front office went to work trying to rebuild their squad that was only three years removed from their last playoff appearance. Their biggest acquisition was Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bobby Bonilla, who signed a five-year contract for just over $29 million that was one of the largest in league history at the time.

The Mets also made it a point to get a top starting pitcher that would complement Dwight Gooden and David Cone at the front of the rotation, deciding to part ways with former Cy Young Award winner and 1991 National League All-Star Frank Viola after he lost ten of his last twelve decisions and finished with a 13-15 record. They traded for another former Cy Young winner, Kansas City Royals ace Bret Saberhagen, who had gone 13-8 in 1991 and thrown a no-hitter. The price the Mets paid was steep, however, as they traded away former prize prospect and starting second baseman Gregg Jefferies, the team’s leading hitter, and veteran outfielder Kevin McReynolds, who finished second on the team in home runs (utility infielder Keith Miller was also included in the trade).

The Mets' acquisitions were rounded out by a pair of veterans. Second baseman Willie Randolph, who had spent 1991 with the Milwaukee Brewers, was brought in to replace Jefferies and had finished among the American League leaders in batting average the year before. To add some power to the lineup, the Mets also brought in Eddie Murray, who had been playing first base for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Returning players

Although the Mets lost their leading hitter when they acquired Saberhagen, they were returning the defending National League leader in home runs and runs batted in with utility man Howard Johnson. The pitching staff would be led by ace Dwight Gooden, coming off a 13-7 campaign, and #2 starter David Cone, who had led the league in strikeouts en route to a 14-14 season which he finished with a one-hit, nineteen-strikeout performance against the Philadelphia Phillies; his strikeout total for the game tied the then-National League record.

Season

1992 New York Mets road jersey with William Shea memorial patch on left sleeve
1992 New York Mets road jersey with William Shea memorial patch on left sleeve

Despite the high expectations, the Mets regressed and finished the season with a 72-90 record, their first 90-loss season since 1983. The team managed to hover near .500 at the All-Star Break but only won thirty times afterward.

The two marquee acquisitions for the Mets both fizzled in their first year in New York. Bonilla, despite improving his home run total from 1991 by one, drove in only seventy runs and hit below .250, drawing boos from the local fans who were expecting more from him given his record contract. Saberhagen was injured and ineffective throughout the season and only recorded fifteen starts with a 3-5 record. Their other two major additions had other luck. Murray, at 36, managed to hit 16 home runs and drive in 93 runs, but Randolph was injured for most of the season and only managed to play 90 games in what proved to be his final year as an active ballplayer.

Howard Johnson's numbers also fell as he battled injuries, with his home run total reduced to seven in 100 total games. No Mets player hit more than nineteen home runs (Bonilla), and Daryl Boston was the only other Met who reached double digit home runs with eleven. In addition, only Bonilla and Murray recorded fifty or more RBIs for the season and, among qualified batters, the highest average anyone recorded was Murray's .261.

The pitching staff also had its share of issues. Closer John Franco missed much of the year with injuries, so the Mets decided to give the closer’s role to Anthony Young, who had not pitched particularly well as a starter. After he found initial success, converting his first twelve save opportunities, he blew five of his last eight and took the loss in all five. After winning his first two decisions as a starter, Young would take the loss in the remaining fourteen games where he was the pitcher of record, leaving him with a 2-14 overall mark for the season.

Sid Fernandez led the Mets in wins and ERA, while in contrast Gooden posted his worst record as a starter to that point in his career, finishing at 10-13 and with a career low 145 strikeouts. Saberhagen, the major offseason acquisition, only managed to record a 3-5 record in seventeen games with fifteen starts as injuries kept him out of the rotation.

In August, the Mets parted ways with David Cone after he recorded a 13-7 record and 214 strikeouts, the latter total leading the National League. Cone was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for two prospects, one of which was future All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent. Cone’s strikeout total, which was frozen once he left the Mets, held until late in the year when John Smoltz of the Atlanta Braves passed it by recording his 215th strikeout. Despite that, Cone finished with the overall league lead in strikeouts (261), a 17-10 record, and his first World Series championship as the Blue Jays defeated Smoltz’s Braves in that year’s contest.

Criticism

The fact that the Mets made such inroads to increase payroll with little to no result, combined with the distant attitudes and actions of some of the players and Jeff Torborg's inability to maintain control of the chaotic situation, led to a controversial account of the inner workings of the Mets during that 1992 season.[1] The book was written by current North Jersey Media Group writer Bob Klapisch and current New York Daily News baseball writer John Harper, and titled The Worst Team Money Could Buy: The Collapse of the New York Mets (ISBN 0-8032-7822-5),

Shortly after the book's April 1993 release, Klapisch was confronted by an irate Bobby Bonilla. Bonilla threatened Klapisch and kept trying to goad him into a physical confrontation.[2][3]

Offseason

Regular season

Season standings

NL East W L Pct. GB Home Road
Pittsburgh Pirates 96 66 0.593 53–28 43–38
Montreal Expos 87 75 0.537 9 43–38 44–37
St. Louis Cardinals 83 79 0.512 13 45–36 38–43
Chicago Cubs 78 84 0.481 18 43–38 35–46
New York Mets 72 90 0.444 24 41–40 31–50
Philadelphia Phillies 70 92 0.432 26 41–40 29–52

Record vs. opponents


Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]
Team ATL CHC CIN HOU LAD MON NYM PHI PIT SD SF STL
Atlanta 10–2 9–9 13–5 12–6 4–8 7–5 6–6 7–5 13–5 11–7 6–6
Chicago 2–10 5–7 8–4 6–6 7–11 9–9 9–9 8–10 5–7 8–4 11–7
Cincinnati 9–9 7–5 10–8 11–7 5–7 7–5 7–5 6–6 11–7 10–8 7–5
Houston 5–13 4–8 8–10 13–5 8–4 5–7 8–4 6–6 7–11 12–6 5–7
Los Angeles 6–12 6–6 7–11 5–13 4–8 5–7 5–7 5–7 9–9 7–11 4–8
Montreal 8–4 11–7 7–5 4–8 8–4 12–6 9–9 9–9 8–4 5–7 6–12
New York 5–7 9–9 5–7 7–5 7–5 6–12 6–12 4–14 4–8 10–2 9–9
Philadelphia 6-6 9–9 5–7 4–8 7–5 9–9 12–6 5–13 3–9 3–9 7–11
Pittsburgh 5–7 10–8 6–6 6–6 7–5 9–9 14–4 13–5 5–7 6–6 15–3
San Diego 5–13 7–5 7–11 11–7 9–9 4–8 8–4 9–3 7–5 11–7 4–8
San Francisco 7–11 4–8 8–10 6–12 11–7 7–5 2–10 9–3 6–6 7–11 5–7
St. Louis 6–6 7–11 5–7 7–5 8–4 12–6 9–9 11–7 3–15 8–4 7–5


Opening Day starters

Notable transactions

Roster

1992 New York Mets
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Manager

Coaches

Player stats

Batting

Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Todd Hundley 123 358 75 .209 7 32
1B Eddie Murray 156 551 144 .261 16 93
2B Willie Randolph 90 286 72 .252 2 15
3B Dave Magadan 99 321 91 .283 3 28
SS Dick Schofield 142 420 86 .205 4 36
LF Daryl Boston 130 289 72 .249 11 35
CF Howard Johnson 100 350 78 .223 7 43
RF Bobby Bonilla 128 438 109 .249 19 70

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Bill Pecota 117 269 61 .227 2 26
Vince Coleman 71 229 63 .275 2 21
Chico Walker 107 227 70 .308 4 36
Dave Gallagher 98 175 42 .240 1 21
Charlie O'Brien 68 156 33 .212 2 13
Mackey Sasser 92 141 34 .241 2 18
Kevin Bass 46 137 37 .270 2 9
Chris Donnels 45 121 21 .174 0 6
Jeff Kent 37 113 27 .239 3 15
Ryan Thompson 30 108 24 .222 3 10
Jeff McKnight 31 85 23 .271 2 13
Pat Howell 31 75 14 .187 0 1
D.J. Dozier 25 47 9 .191 0 2
Junior Noboa 46 47 7 .149 0 3
Kevin Elster 6 18 4 .222 0 0
Kevin Baez 6 13 2 .154 0 0
Steve Springer 4 5 2 .400 0 0
Rodney McCray 18 1 1 1.000 0 1

Pitching

Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Sid Fernandez 32 214.2 14 11 2.73 193
Dwight Gooden 31 206.0 10 13 3.67 145
David Cone 27 196.2 13 7 2.88 214
Pete Schourek 22 136.0 6 8 3.64 60
Bret Saberhagen 17 97.2 3 5 3.50 81
Eric Hillman 11 52.1 2 2 5.33 16
Mike Birkbeck 1 7.0 0 1 9.00 2

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Anthony Young 52 121.0 2 14 4.17 64
Wally Whitehurst 44 97.0 3 9 3.62 70
Tom Filer 9 22.0 0 1 2.05 9
Joe Vitko 3 4.2 0 1 13.50 6

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Jeff Innis 76 6 9 1 2.86 39
Paul Gibson 43 0 1 0 5.23 49
Lee Guetterman 43 3 4 2 5.82 15
John Franco 31 6 2 15 1.64 20
Mark Dewey 20 1 0 0 4.32 24
Barry Jones 17 2 0 1 9.39 11
Tim Burke 15 1 2 0 5.74 7
Bill Pecota 1 0 0 0 9.00 0

Farm system

See also: Minor League Baseball

Level Team League Manager
AAA Tidewater Tides International League Clint Hurdle
AA Binghamton Mets Eastern League Steve Swisher
A St. Lucie Mets Florida State League John Tamargo
A Columbia Mets South Atlantic League Tim Blackwell
A-Short Season Pittsfield Mets New York–Penn League Jim Thrift
Rookie Kingsport Mets Appalachian League Andre David
Rookie GCL Mets Gulf Coast League Junior Roman

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Binghamton[12]

References