New York Mets: Dillon Gee and the 5 Best Rookie Pitchers in Franchise History
Rookie Dillon Gee has been nothing shy of phenomenal in his short tenure with the New York Mets.
Entering tonight's start against the Atlanta Braves, Gee owns a 7-0 record to go along with an impressive 3.05 ERA.
Gee's early success has forced Mets fans to hearken back to the days of old and recall other young hurlers who put up impressive numbers in their rookie campaigns.
In their 50 years of existence, the New York Mets have been blessed with dominant young arms. It's a tough list to crack, but here are the top five rookie pitchers in New York Mets history.
5. Dillon Gee
2011 Statistics (Through June 14th)
Gee has been brilliant since his April 17th call-up.
In winning his seventh straight start, Dillon set a Mets rookie record for most consecutive wins to start a season.
The 25-year-old is tied for the rookie lead in wins, while ranking third among rookie pitchers with his 3.05 ERA.
More importantly, he gives the Mets a chance to win every time he takes the mound, making the loss of Chris Young to season-ending surgery all the easier to handle.
If Gee can notch a few more wins before the All-Star break, he may be making a trip to Phoenix to participate in the Midsummer Classic, something only three other Mets rookie pitchers have done before.
4. Jon Matlack
The 1972 Rookie of the Year, Jon Matlack impressed the New York Mets from the very start.
After being selected fourth overall in the 1967 amateur draft, Matlack was promoted to Queens late in the 1971 season and was expected to be the third wheel of the "Big Three" arms that the New York Mets were to build around in the 1970s (the other two being Jerry Koosman and Tom Seaver, but more on them later).
Matlack began 1972 coming out of the bullpen and earned his first victory in relief of Gary Gentry on April 23rd against the Chicago Cubs.
He was then promoted to the starting rotation, where he'd improve his record to 6-0, highlighted by a 1.95 ERA at May's end.
After playing a large role on the Mets' 1973 National League championship club, Matlack settled into a role as a dependable starting pitcher but never quite lived up to the lofty expectations set for him after his milestone rookie campaign in 1972.
He was dealt to the Texas Rangers in December of 1977 as part of a four-way trade.
3. Tom Seaver
Tom Seaver, "The Franchise," embodied what the New York Mets were all about in the late 1960s and '70s. Grit, determination and most of all pitching were the staples of Seaver's game—as well as the Amazins'.
Seaver was an All-Star selection during his rookie year of 1967, where he earned the save for the National League in a 15-inning affair.
"Tom Terrific" was also named the National League's Rookie of the Year at season's end.
Seaver would go on to become a 12-time All-Star selection, three-time Cy Young Award winner and a first ballot Hall of Famer, making him the only player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a New York Met.
Perhaps his greatest accomplishment, though, was taking on the role of anchor for the 1969 Miracle Mets pitching staff.
2. Jerry Koosman
In his rookie year of 1967, Koosman was named to the Topps' All-Star Rookie Team and was runner-up to Johnny Bench for the Rookie of the Year award.
He was also named to the first of his two career All-Star teams, where he pitched a scoreless ninth inning to notch the save for the National League. He struck Carl Yastrzemski to end the ball game.
Koosman would go on to play a pivotal role in the Mets' 1969 world championship and is remembered today as one of the most beloved Mets hurlers to ever wear the orange and blue.
1. Dwight Gooden
The Mets of the early 1980s were a lifeless bunch. Shea Stadium was empty. Queens became a ghost town. Even worse, the Mets were losing, posting sub-.500 records from 1980-1983.
That all changed the moment Dwight Gooden came to town.
"Doc" electrified the Shea faithful. He brought the magic back to Queens. His starts became less of a baseball game and more of a spectacle, as fans clamored at the 19-year-old's ability to rear back and blow the ball by seasoned major league veterans with relative ease.
Gooden led all major league pitchers with his 276 strikeouts in 1984, a rookie record to this day.
"Dr. K" set a then-major league record for strikeouts per nine innings with 11.39. He also set a record for most strikeouts in three consecutive starts with 43.
Gooden was named to the 1984 All-Star Game, where he struck out the side in his only appearance.
Fittingly, Doc was named the 1984 National League Rookie of the Year, culminating his historic inaugural season in the big leagues.