Don’t call it hibernation—baseball may take the winter off, but it never sleeps. With free agency already underway, a select few players will be tasked with joining our beloved Yankees and Mets with the hopes of bolstering the teams’ respective postseason prospects for next year.
With that in mind, here’s a look back at a few players who set the bar exceedingly high by flourishing in both Yankees and Mets uniforms. It’s unlikely that any offseason addition this year will someday make us all so collectively happy, but we can dream.
The right-hander became synonymous with Yankees greatness in the late 1990s, anchoring the starting rotation on four championship teams and authoring a perfect game in 1999. But Cone was a coveted starter long before his days in pinstripes, and first rose to stardom as a member of the Mets, compiling an 81-51 record from 1987-92. Particularly dominant was his 1988 season, in which Cone, aged 25, finished an astonishing 20-3 with a 2.22 ERA, guiding the Mets to a division title and finishing third in the Cy Young award vote.
Always streaky, often dynamic, Granderson caught fire in the middle of a four-year stint with the Yankees, topping 40 home runs in back-to-back seasons from 2011-12 and garnering MVP consideration. He would jump ship in 2014 for the Yankees’ crosstown rivals and, after a rocky start, became a formidable presence in the Mets’ lineup, helping them reach the World Series in 2015. He also provided the Mets with much needed durability by playing in at least 150 games in each of his three full seasons with the team. Most crucially, Granderson sported a poised and media-friendly demeanor regardless of which New York clubhouse he called home.
Unlike Cone, who was consistent for most of his career, Strawberry was a bona fide superstar who eventually lost his way, only to find a second life later on. The power-hitting right fielder became a favorite of Mets fans in an instant, winning the 1983 Rookie of the Year award and subsequently making seven straight all-star teams from 1984-90. Strawberry left the team following that stretch and fell on hard times, enduring several lackluster seasons and a number of issues off the field. But when the Yankees found themselves needing a spark during their 1996 pennant race, they threw the beleaguered “Straw man” a lifeline and he did not disappoint, tallying 11 homers in the final two months of the season and torturing the Orioles with three long balls in the ALCS, en route to the championship. Strawberry would help the Yankees win two more titles.
Other Worthy Choices
Carlos Beltran, Dwight Gooden, Orlando Hernandez