Dec 18, 2015

All Time Mets Third Baseman: David Wright- Part One (2004-2007)

David Allen Wright was born December 20, 1982, in Norfolk, Virginia. He was raised in Chesapeake, Virginia, growing up a Mets fan being in the area of the team's AAA clubs at Tidewater & Norfolk.

Wright attended Hickory High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, and was the 2001 Gatorade Virginia High School Player of the Year. He also earned All-State honors in 1999, 2000 and 2001 and was named Virginia All-State Player of the Year in 2001. Over his four-year career at Hickory, Wright hit .438 with 13 home runs and 90 RBI.

Wright was chosen as the Mets first round pick (38th pick overall) in the 2001 amateur draft, as compensation for losing Mike Hampton to free agency. The six foot right hand hitting Wright was chosen after the Mets first pick, Aaron Heilman.

In 2003 he won the Sterling Award for best Player at A ball St. Lucie with 15 HRs & 75 RBIs batting .270. The following year he batted ..363 in 60 games at AA Binghamton hitting 10 HRs with 40 RBIs. He was promoted quickly to AAA Norfolk where he hit .298 with 8 HRs & 17 RBIs in 31 games before getting called up to the Mets. The David Wright era began with alot of hype as he was being called the franchise player of the future.

David Wright made his debut at Shea Stadium on July 21st, starting at third base against the Montreal Expos. He went 0-4 that night but got two hits including a double the next day. In Montreal on July 26th he hit his first career HR off John Patterson.

He began to hit well in August gathering up nine multi hit games, including his first four hit game on August 21st in San Francisco, where he hit three doubles. On September 2nd he had his first multi HR game, coming at Florida as he drove in four runs with a pair of HRs against the Marlins. He had a good September driving in 19 runs, while raising his average to .293.

On the last day of the season he hit a two run HR & drove in a third run in the Mets 8-1 win over Montreal, in the teams last game as the Expos, before moving on to Washington D.C as the Nationals the next season. Wright ended the year with 14 HRs 17 doubles 40 RBIs 6 stolen bases a .332 on base % in 69 games (263 at bats).

In 2005 the 22 year old Wright took over as the Mets starting third baseman, a position he would hold into the next decade. Wright hit two HRs during the first week of the season, and hit his first grand slam on April 19th in a 16-4 Mets romp at Philadelphia.

In May he drove in 18 runs, including a stretch where he drove in runs in four straight games & another where he drove in a run in every other game over a ten day period. He put together a 15 game hit streak in July & remained consistent in the first half of the year batting above .290.

After the break he drove in nine runs in the final week of July, but then in the first two weeks of August he went on another tear. He hit safely in 10 of 12 games, driving in 17 runs in the first two weeks of that month, including a huge four hit six RBI day at San Diego on August 10th.

The day before he made his famous bare handed grab on a Brian Giles bloop to left center field. He caught the ball with his back to the plate & held onto it after crashing & tumbling to the ground. The Petco Park fans gave him a standing ovation & it was later voted "This Year In Baseball's Play of the Year". He had a big month driving in 27 runs with six HRs and an eleven game hit streak raining his average to .313.

On September 24th he hit a grand slam HR at Washington leading New York to a 5-2 win. The next day he hit a two run HR leading the Mets to a 6-5 win. He stayed hot as the year ended hitting 4 HRs with 7 RBIs in the last five games of the year. At bat for the year, he was all he was hyped up to be. Coming in the league's top ten in many offensive categories.

Wright hit .306 (9th in the NL) with 42 doubles (7th in the NL) 102 RBIs (10th in the NL) 176 hits (10th in the NL) 70 extra base hits (10th in the NL) & 14 HRs (second on the club to Cliff Floyd). He also led the team in runs scored (99) on base % (.388%) & walks (72), his 17 stolen bases were tied for second behind Jose Reyes.

He struggled on the field making 24 errors tied with Troy Glaus for the MLB lead. Wright did lead all NL third baseman in games played (160) assists (336) & helped turn 24 double plays

As the 2006 season began, Wright sealed the Mets Opening Day 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals with a 6th inning HR. He drove in runs in his first six games, including having back to back three RBI games against the Florida Marlins on the tail end. His 9th inning sac fly on April 9th was the walk off game winner against those Marlins.

On April 28th he hit a pair of HRs in Atlanta, one off John Smoltz & another off Chris Reitisma leading Pedro Martinez to a 5-2 win. On May 5th he had another walk off hit, this time a double against the Atlanta Braves Jorge Sosa.

On May 19th in the Opener of a three game subway series at Shea, Wright had three hits including the now classic game winner. In the 9th inning with two out & Paul Loduca on second base, Wright doubled off Mariano Rivera to deep center with the game winning hit over the centerfielder's head. The win sent a message that the 2006 Mets were the best team in New York that year, the Mets were back.

A week later he had another walk off game winning single against the Arizona D-backs n Memorial Day. In June he won the Player of the Month Award hitting ten HRs with 29 RBIs, a ten game hit streak & hitting safely in 15 of 17 games to begin the month. On June 4th he hit a pair of Hrs in San Francisco in a 7-6 Mets loss. On a road trip to Philadelphia he hit HRs in all three games, driving in six runs in the Mets sweep of the Phillies.

On Sunday June 18th he hit a grand slam off the Orioles Adam Loewen, leading New York to a 9-4 win at Camden Yards in Baltimore. On June 22nd he had another two HR game, this time against the Cincinnati Reds at Shea Stadium in a four RBI 6-2 Mets win. The next day the club traveled to Toronto & Wright hit another HR driving in three of the six Mets runs. He made his first All Star Game start that summer, hitting a HR in his first All Star at bat off AL pitcher, Kenny Rogers.

The previous night he participated in the HR derby coming in second place. His second half wasn't as strong & many people blamed the HR derby as cursing him in the second half.

In August Wright signed a six year $55 million contract extension, donating 1.5 million to the David Wright Foundation through the course of its lifetime.

On August 8th he tied up a game with a single & then put the Mets ahead in what would be the winning run in a Shea game against the San Diego Padres.On August 30th he hit another grand slam at Colorado, driving in five runs in the Mets 11-3 win over the Rockies. In September he had three different games where he drove in at least three runs.

On September 18th, the Mets clinched the NL Eastern title at Shea, their first since divisional title 1986. It was a long time coming, Wright & Jose Reyes were now the faces of a new Mets post season club.

He finished the year batting .311 (tenth in the NL) second on the club to Paul LoDuca (.318). He led the team with 40 doubles, tied with Carlos Beltran with 116 RBIs (7th in the NL) was third on the club with 26 HRs. He also had 181 hits, 96 runs scored 20 stolen bases & a .381 on base %.

Many believed he was the Mets best candidate for the NL MVP Award, even Tom Glavine said: "He's probably been our most clutch hitter over the first half of the season and he's certainly thrown his hat into the MVP talks." That year he appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman as well as MTV's all request Hour with team mate Cliff Floyd.

Post Season: In Game #1 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Wright doubled home Paul LoDuca & Carlos Delgado in the 6th inning, putting the Mets up 4-1. The Dodgers tied the game in the top of the 7th, Carlos Delgado put New York up 5-4 in the bottom of the 7th, then Wright doubled home Carlos Beltran with the 6th run, of the 6-5 win. He went 1-4 in each of the next two games, driving in a run in the Mets 9-5 Game #3 clincher.

He struggled in the NLCS against the St. Louis Cards batting just .160 (4-25). He hit a HR in Game #4 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, overall he hit .216 in ten post seasons games.

In 2007 Wright led the team in hitting with a career best .325 average (7th in the NL). He was topps on the club in doubles (42) on base % (.416-5th best in the NL) walks (94-7th in the NL ) & hits (196-4th in the NL). He was second on the club to Carlos Beltran in HRs (30) & RBIs (107-9th in the NL). That year he also stole 34 bases (7th in the NL) & got on base the most times of any one in the league (296).

He came in fourth in the years MVP voting & made another All Star start. He began the year with a fourteen game hitting streak, but then dropped off to finish April with a .244 average.

That month his younger brother Stephen, was enrolled at Virginia Tech. University & attending classes at Norris Hall, the scene of the tragic shooting events at the Virginia Tech. Massacre. David eventually got hold of his other brother & found out Stephen was safe.

At that point one of David's many endorsements included Vitamin Water in which he was the spokesperson. That May when the company was sold to Coca Cola, Wright netted $20 million dollars in the deal, overnight.

In the May Subway series at Shea Stadium, Wright hit a pair of two run HRs off Mike Meyers, in 10-7 Saturday afternoon Met victory. The next day he hit another HR & then another two days later as the Mets went to Atlanta. In the month of May he hit eight HRs with 22 RBIs. He entered June with an 18 game hit streak, and hit a HR in each game of a three game inter league set at Detroit against the Tigers.

On June 23rd interleague game against the Oakland A's in front of 52,000 at Shea Stadium, Wright doubled home the games only run in the bottom of the 9th inning with a double off A's pitcher Santiago Casilla.

On July 4th Wright had three hits with a three run HR & four RBIs off Josh Fogg at Coors Field in a Mets 17-7 Independence Day victory. On July 7th he Wright hit a solo HR off Houston's Woody Williams to tie up a game in the 6th inning. The game lasted into the 17th when Carlos Beltran & Wright both drove in runs giving the Mets a 5-3 win.

In California road trip, on a stretch from July 18th -24th he drove in a total of eleven runs in a five game, including two HRs. Wright started at third base for the NL All Star team in San Francisco's AT & T Park going 1-3 on the night in the AL victory.

He would drive in runs in five more straight games in August & bring his average back up to .320, with 14 multi hit games while driving in twenty runs. Wright had a good September hitting safely in all but just four games on the month.

He hit six HRs from September 1st through the 16th but no more the rest of the way. On September 2nd he hit a solo shot off the Braves John Smoltz in a 3-2 Mets win at Atlanta & then another the next day in Cincinnati. On the following home stand, he hit four HRs, including two against the surging Philadelphia Phillies.

Wright became the third Met in team history to join the 30-30 club joining Howard Johnson & Daryl Strawberry. He is the third youngest player in MLB history to reach the milestone.

He closed out the year with a sixteen game hit streak, driving in five runs in the last ten games, although the Mets collapsed during the final two weeks of the season. Midway through September they had a five game lead in the NL East over Philadelphia in which they blew by losing six of their last seven games.

Defensively Wright won his first of two straight Gold gloves as well as being named the third baseman of the NL Silver Slugger team.

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