Just in time for the holiday season, Mets 101's Seven in Seven series returns as our gift to you. Each week, the Mets 101 staff will begin a countdown of topics related to the New York Mets (i.e. best third baseman, worst defeat, etc.). We will begin our countdowns with the number seven and work all the way to number one. This week's Seven in Seven list follows last week's biggest blockbusters with the complete opposite: the biggest busts in Met history. Today we take a look at the second biggest bust in Met history, third baseman Jim Fregosi.
2. Jim Fregosi
All Time Mets Stats: 146 Games, 108 Hits, 38 Runs, .233 Batting Average, 5 Home Runs, 43 RBI's, .319 On Base Percentage, .328 Slugging Percentage
Analysis: Third baseman Jim Fregosi may not be a familiar name to any Mets fan born after 1980, but he earned his place on this list. Fregosi had been a very good big leaguer for the California Angels in the 1960's, and was even regarded as the best hitting shortstop in the game. Fregosi was also slick on defense and became a star for the Angels, earning six All Star appearances in seven years. Fregosi was sidelined during the 1971 season with a tumor in his left foot, leaving the Angels unsure of his future. Fregosi was placed on the trading block after the season, and the Angels found a willing trade partner with the Mets.
The Mets were looking to upgrade the third base position, as Wayne Garrett had been a serviceable option since the 1969 championship team. The Mets traded away from their excess of starting pitching by sending Nolan Ryan to California in exchange for the six time All Star. Fregosi was expected to settle in at third and provide a steady presence in the lineup. Fregosi was hampered by injuries in 1972 and was clearly a shadow of his former self. The Mets eventually gave up on Fregosi in the middle of the 1973 season, selling him off to the Texas Rangers.
While Fregosi's flop was bad enough for the Mets, what makes it even worse was the fact that the main piece they gave up for Fregosi went on to have an outstanding career. Nolan Ryan thrived once he got away from Flushing, beginning what was bound to be a Hall of Fame career in style with the California Angels. Ryan went on to become the all time strikeout king in major league history and threw a record seven no hitters, which stung Mets fans even more considering the team had to another 40 years until they saw their first no hitter. We will never know if Ryan would have become the same Hall of Fame pitcher if he remained in Queens, but the one thing that is clear is that the Mets' return of Fregosi didn't even come close to matching what they gave up in Ryan.
Check back tomorrow as we reveal the number one bust in Mets history as our Seven in Seven series continues!
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