Kevin McReynolds: 1988 N.L. Eastern Champion Mets Out Fielder (1987-1991)

Walter Kevin McReynolds was born October 16, 1959, in Little Rock Arkansas. He was a star athlete at Sylvan high school, at Little Rock & eventually The Kevin McReynolds Sports Complex there would be named in his honor.

The six-foot right-hand hitter attended the University of Arkansas & was the San Diego Padres first round pick in 1981. He went on to win back-to-back minor league MVP awards in both the California League & Pacific Coast League batting over .350 both times.

He was brought up briefly in June 1983 by the Padres, hitting a HR in his first career game. Overall, in 34 games he hit 4 HRs batting .221.

In the 1984 Padres NL Championship season he was their everyday center fielder, leading all N.L. out fielders in assists (18) put outs (422) & was third in fielding (.991%). 

The Padres had a strong line up made up of young guys like McReynolds & Tony Gwynn, along with veterans Steve Garvey, Craig Nettles, & Gary Templeton. McReynolds hit 20 HRs with 26 doubles, 75 RBIs, a .278 batting average & a .465 slugging %.

In the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs he hit .300 (3-10) with four RBIs, including a HR off George Frazier in the Padres 7-1 Game #3 win. He missed the World Series due to injury.

In 1985 he led all N.L. centerfielders in assists with 13 posting a .993 fielding % (third in the NL). He dropped off with the bat, to 15 HRs & 24 doubles & a .234 average.

In 1986 he returned to top form, as he drove in 96 runs (6th in the NL) slugged 26 HRs, hit over 30 doubles for the first time of three consecutive seasons, and batted .299. He moved over to play more left field and posted a .982 fielding percentage at both center & left field positions.

After the Mets won the 1986 World Series, they believed rookie Kevin Mitchell was a bad influence on Daryl Strawberry & Dwight Gooden. 

Since the latter two were All Stars, Mitchell was the odd man out, especially since he was a native of San Diego. 

Mets Career: In the off season the Mets got McReynolds in a trade for Kevin Mitchell, and two top prospects; Sean Abner & Stan Jefferson.

Quiet Low-Key Guy: The quiet, soft-spoken McReynolds came to New York on a raucous ballclub and stayed out of the spotlight. The media hated him, He didn’t them anything interesting to quote him on & he caused no drama.
No matter what McReynolds did they seemed to always want more.

Looking back, he had some good years behind the superstars of Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry & Keith Hernandez but never got the credit he deserved.

1987: Quietly he took over as the Mets leftfielder, batting sixth on Opening Day 1987. After a hitless debut he went on to hit safely in 12 of his next 13 games, including three straight HR games from April 9th to April 11th.

On April 23rd his 8th inning HR off the Pirates Logan Easley ended up being the winning run in an 8-7 win. The next day his base loaded infield grounder scored Keith Hernandez in what was the winning run in a 2-1 win over the Cardinals.

Trivia: In a game against the Braves, Mcreynolds was playing left field when a flyball by Dion James hit a dove flying by. The dove dropped in front of McReynolds, dead. He fielded the ball that ended up being a double. It was the first time a bird was actually killed during play.

In his first series against his old Padres teammates, he was held hitless in the first game, then got three hits & drove in two runs in the next two games. On May 22nd he homered off Fernando Valenzuela driving in two runs in a 6-4 Mets win at Shea.

Starting on June 18th, he hit HRs in three straight games while driving in five runs. On June 20th he hit a sac fly in the bottom of the 9th inning for the game winning run against the Philadelphia Phillies. On July 10th he hit two HRs off Mets 1986 NLCS nemesis, Houston's Mike Scott in a 7-3 win at the Astrodome. On July 18th he hit two more in a game against the Reds at Shea, off Ted Power.

Walk Off Hits: On July 19th, in a Sunday matinee at Shea, the Mets & Reds went at it tied up 5-5 until the 11th inning. Red's pitcher Bill Scherr walked both Bill Almon & Darryl Strawberrys & Keith Hernandez added a base hit. With the bases loaded McReynolds recorded an infield base hit, scoring Almon with the winning run.

On August 6th the Mets & Cubs were tied 6-6 going into the bottom of the 9th, McReynolds again came up with the bases loaded in a game winning spot. He singled against closer Lee Smith driving in Lee Mazzilli with game winning run.

 In August he was most productive driving in 22 runs in the month, while continuing a 13 game hit streak that began in July. On August 11th he homered to reach the 20 HR mark for the third time in his career.

On September 5th, he hit a two run HR off Fernando Valenzuela in Los Angeles, helping the Mets in a 4-2 win, keeping them 2.5 games behind the Cardinals.

On September 25th, hit a pair of HRs while driving in three runs against the Pirates. Two days later he hit a three run HR off Bob Kipper & drove in four runs in a 12-3 win over the Pirates in the last home game of the season. The Mets were still 2.5 games back with six to play. They lost two of three in Philly & by the time they got to St. Louis for a three-game set they were five games out & done.

Overall, on the 1987 season, McReynolds debut in New York was quiet with words but successful at the plate, he hit 29 HRs (9th in the NL), with 32 doubles, 5 triples 95 RBIs, batting .276 while stealing 14 bases.

1988 NL Eastern Champion Season: He started out 1988 with a huge Opening Day in Montreal. McReynolds had four hits with two HRs & four RBIs in the Mets 10-6 win over the Expos. The Mets hit six HRs that day as he & Darryl Strawberry both hit two each.

He had nine hits in the first three games & was batting over .400 on April 20th.

On April 17th he tied up a game against the St. Louis Cardinals with an 8th inning single off Todd Worrell, the Mets went on to a 3-2 win with Kevin Elster's walk off base hit. 

On May 11th in Houston, McReynolds singled off Dave Smith in the top of the 10th inning, scoring Howard Johnson with the game winning hit.

Walk Off Hit: On June 4th in a wild game at Shea, Gary Carter tied the game u in the bottom of the 9th inning. The Cubs retook the lead in the 11th, but the Mets tied it up when Mike Capel threw a wild pitch allowing Mookie Wilson to score in the bottom of the 11th. In the bottom of the 13th, McReynolds hit a walk off HR off Mike Capel to beat the Chicago Cubs 6-5. 

The next day he had three hits & drove in three runs in the 11-3 Mets win. 

Grand Slams: On June 21st he hit a grand slam off Pittsburgh’s Doug Drabek, while driving in a season high five runs in Ron Darling's 9-0 shutout against the Pirates, sat Shea Stadium. It was his first Mets grand slam & second of his career.

On August 11th at Wrigley Field, the Mets entered the 9th inning down 6-4. Lenny Dykstra's RBI single got them within a run. After Pat Perry loaded the bases, Rich Gossage was brought in to face McReynolds. McReynolds launched his second grand slam of the year, HR #17, giving the Mets a 9-6 lead & win. 

At the end of June into July he drove in runs in five straight games during an eight-game hit streak. In mid-July he hit HRs in three straight games on a road trip to Houston & Atlanta. 

On July 14th after driving in three runs in a 6-5 loss to the Astros the previous night, he had a four RBI game in Atlanta. He hit a three run HR off Rich Mahler in the 4th inning. In the top of the 10th inning, he singled scoring Daryl Strawberry in what was the game winning run.

On a road trip to Philadelphia in late July, McReynolds broke a 5-5 tie with an RBI single in the top of the 7th inning in an eventual 7-5 Met win. The next day he had a huge four hit game, matching his season high five RBIs, highlighted by a three run HR in the 3rd inning off David Palmer. In the month he batted .340 & drove in 22 runs with six HRs. 

On August 6th he hit a solo HR to tie up a game at Shea, against the Expos, leading to a 4-3 win. 

with Actress Susan Lucci
On August 24th he homered in the 7-1 opening series win over the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Two days later, on August 24th he helped beat the Dodgers with an 8th inning game winning sac fly off Orel Hershiser. The Mets swept the series.

When the Dodgers came to Shea the next week, he drove in the first of two Mets runs with a double off John Tudor, helping Doc Gooden in a 2-1 win over Tudor. The Mets sept this two-game set as well. 

Trivia: On the regular season the Mets took ten of eleven games from the Dodgers, until the post season.

Mets Clinch the East: On September 22nd, 1988, the Mets clinched the NL Eastern Division. McReynolds had a pair of hits, driving in a run in the 7th with a base hit. That night Ron Darling pitched a complete game win against the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium.

NL Player of the Week: Down the September stretch McReynolds batted .326 collecting 30 hits, hit seven HRs with 6 doubles & 23 RBIs, while having nine multiple hit games. He also had five straight multi-hit games the week of September 20th, earning him the NL Player of the Week. He also captured the NL Player of the Month Award.

Record Breaker: In 1988 McReynolds proved to be a great base stealing threat as well. He set a record on the base paths with the most stolen bases in a single season without getting caught, swiping 21 bases. 

He always had good speed, in his years with the Mets he stole 59 bases and only got caught 10 times.

On the season 1988 season, McReynolds was in the top five in the National League in both HRs (27) and RBIs (99). 

MVP Voting: He came in third place to Kirk Gibson & Daryl Strawberry in the National League MVP voting. The Award went to the Dodgers Kirk Gibson The majority of the sports writers who voted for a Met voted for either Strawberry or McReynolds, while anyone voting for a Dodger voted solely for Gibson.

McReynolds batted .288, with 30 doubles with a .336 on base %. He was also among the league leaders in slugging percentage as well at .496%. 

In the outfield he helped the Mets win the Eastern title leading all left fielder with 17 outfield assists, posting a .985 fielding %.

Post Season- 1988 NLCS: In the 1988 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers McReynolds went hitless in the first two games.

The Mets entered the 9th inning of Game #1 down 2-0 facing Orel Hershiser looking for a shutout. Greg Jeffries singled & with one out Daryl Strawberry doubled, scoring the Mets first run as Hershiser was removed for Jay Howell.

McReynolds walked & with two outs Gary Carter doubled scoring Strawberry. McReynolds also was sent home; he came around third base full speed. 

The throw arrived at home the same time McReynolds did, he raised his shoulder & shoved it into Dodger catcher Mike Scioscia. 

He was ruled safe with the go ahead run. This was a huge play, because Scioscia was arguably one of the best at blocking the plate.

Quotes- Kevin Mcreynolds: " I was pretty much zeroed in on him. I didn't make the choice; he made the choice by where he was standing".

In Game #4 at Shea Stadium, he followed Daryl Strawberry's 4th inning HR off John Tudor going back-to-back, with a solo shot to deep left center field.

In the game he had two hits, but the Mets went on to lose the game after blowing a lead going in the 9th inning. On this night Dwight Gooden served up his infamous HR to Mike Scioscia tying up the game. 

McReynolds had a huge Game #6 in Dodger Stadium driving in three of the Mets five runs, which tied the Series up at three games each. 

In the 1st inning his sac fly put the first run up on the board. 

In the 5th he hit a two run HR off former Met Tim Leary putting the Mets up 4-0. He had four hits on the day with a HR & three RBIs.

Drama: His worst moment with the media came during an interview before Game #7. When asked how he felt, his reply was "either way I'll be duck hunting tomorrow". The media & the fans didn't like it especially after the Mets lost.

In Game #7 he went hitless as Orel Hershiser shut out New York on a five hitter, ending their promising season in a huge upset. Overall, in the 1988 NLCS he batted .250 with two HRs four RBIs, three walks & two stolen bases.

After the Playoffs: On In the off season he signed a three-year deal & had the Mets help finance his new duck hunting club. 

On Opening Day 1989 he drove in a run in the Mets Opening Day win against the St Louis Cardinals. 

In the final week of April, he drove in eight runs, with RBIs in six straight games raising his average to .300. 

At the start of May he hit safely in 13 of 14 games & at the end of May he went on a hit streak hitting safely in 18 of twenty games.

On June 7th at Wrigley Field, he hit a three run HR & drove in four runs leading Doc Gooden to his seventh win, in a 10-5 win over the Chicago Cubs. 

Midway through the season, the Mets were 2.5 games back of the Montreal Expos & a game behind the Cubs in third place. Mcreynolds .280 batting average was one of the best on the club at that point.

Hit For the Cycle: On August 1st, the Mets blew out the Cardinals in St. Louis 11-0. On the day McReynolds had a season high six RBIs, while hitting for the cycle. In the top of the 2nd, he led off with a double & then scored on Barry Lyons base hit.

In the 6th, he hit a two run HR off Scott Terry, he added an 8th inning two run double & saved the hardest for last. He tripled in the 9th inning off Ricky Horton, driving in his sixth run. He also scored three runs in the game.

The next day he broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the 9th inning, with a single scoring Juan Samuel & Howard Johnson with the game winning hits. 

When the Cards came to Shea, he hit HRs in both ends of a double header helping New York to sweep the twin bill.

Walk Off Hit: On a Sunday afternoon game on August 6th, the Mets & Expos went into a five-hour 14 inning 1-1 tie. In the bottom of the 14th McReynolds won the game with a walk off HR off Montreal's Steve Frey.

In the month of August, he had his most productive month, driving in 24 runs.

Grand Slam: On August 30th he hit a grand slam HR off the Dodgers Tim Crews in a 9-3 Mets win at Dodger Stadium. It was the fourth granny of his career.

In September the Mets started the month 2.5 games back, but they lost four straight, starting by getting swept in San Francisco by the eventual NL Champion Giants. By mid-month they were 5.5 games back & never recovered finishing second to the Chicago Cubs. 

On September 11th, McReynolds had his fourth game of the year where he drove in at least four runs. This with three hits in a 5-2 win at Veterans Stadium. He closed out the year driving in runs in all three games of the final series at Pittsburgh.

On the year he hit .272 with 22 HRs with 25 doubles, 85 RBIs (second on the club to Howard Johnson & tenth in the NL) 15 stolen bases, a career high 74 walks & a .326 on base %. In the left field he was second in the league with nine assists, making ten (5th in the NL) overall.

1990: The Mets began the year without Keith Hernandez & Gary Carter, the two aging veterans had moved on & the Mets looked different. 

Mcreynolds began the season with a HR in the second game of the year, it came at Shea in a 3-0 win over the Pirates. In the final week of April, he drove in runs in six of eight Mets games.

In early May he hit HRs in three straight games against the Houston Astros, including both ends of a double header sweep. That week he also drove in runs in five straight games. 

With the Mets below .500 in May they fired Davey Johnson & put Bud Harrelson in the manager's spot.

Grand Slam: On May 21st he hit the fifth grand slam HR of his career. It came at Dodger Stadium off Mike Morgan in a 12-3 Mets win, behind Dwight Gooden.

On June 5th his 8th inning HR tied the game up against the Montreal Expos, setting the stage for an extra inning walk off HR from Tom O'Malley. A week later during a Wrigley Field June 12th slug fest, McReynolds hit a pair of HRs & drove in four runs in the 19-8 Mets win. He drove in a run in all four games of the series. Next week he hit HRs in back-to-back games in wins over the Cardinals at home.

On July 17th & July 31st, he had collected four hits, he would match that feat for the third time on August 25th.

Six RBI Day: On August 19th in San Francisco, he hit 4th inning two run HR off Mike Lacoss. In 5th, he connected off Lacoss again with a three-run shot giving the Mets a 7-2 lead. In the 6th inning, he singled through the hole driving his sixth run in the Mets 10-9 win. It was his only six RBI Day of the year matching a career high.

As the road trip in California continued, he hit a pair of HRs in a tight 3-2 win at Dodgers Stadium. He began September with four HRs in the first ten games and had another two HR game on September 24th.

Since Bud Harrelson had taken over, the team went 71-49. The Mets won 91 games that year but fell to second place again, four games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In 1990 he led all outfielders in assists with 14 as well as fielding % (.988%). At the plate he hit .269 with 24 HRs 23 doubles 82 RBIs & 77 walks which gave him his best on base % in his time in New York (.353%).

1991: Things were different in New York by 1991. Most of the stars from the Championship year, just five years prior were gone. Darryl Strawberry had just signed as a free agent with the Dodgers. Howard Johnson & McReynolds were the biggest offensive guys. 

Between a staff of Dwight Gooden, David Cone & Frank Viola no one won more than 14 games & with the exception of Gooden (13-7) the rest of the staff was .500 or worse. Bud Harrelson led the Mets to a fifth-place finish, their worst in almost a decade.

Walk off Hits: Mcreynolds's added two more walk off hits to his Mets career in 1991. On June 21st he hit a walk off HR off the Expos Scott Ruskin.  Two weeks later an RBI single off San Diego's Larry Andersen.

Triva: In his career Kevin McReynolds has eight Mets walk off game winning hits.

Mcreynolds's fell to a .259 batting average, although he still hit 16 HRs with 32 doubles 74 RBIs & a .322 on base %.

By then the fans were restless & once again they went after McReynolds the media critiqued him as well, saying his slow demeanor, when he wasn't producing of course, made him lazy or too lax.

In the 1991 off season, he was involved in a blockbuster deal, getting traded to Kansas City along with Greg Jeffries & Keith Miller for Bret Saberhagen & Bill Pecota.

Post Mets Career: He played two seasons in Kansas City but at age 31 he seemed to be winding down in his career as his skills were clearly fading. In two years in Kansas City, he hit a best .247 the first season with 13 HRs & 49 RBIs. He did put up his career best on base % since his big year in San Diego, (.357%) as he drew 67 walks, second most in his career. In 1993 he batted .245 with 11 HRs 42 RBIs. His on base % fell to .316%.

Return to Mets: In the winter of 1994 he was sent back to the New York Mets for Vince Coleman. The Mets had finally had enough of the idiotic Coleman, after all his drama, especially the throwing of an M-80 fire work in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium that injured a child.

On Opening Day 1994 he had two hits with an RBI for the Mets at Wrigley Field. On May 7th he
drove in the only run of the game with aground rule double against the Cardinals in St. Louis.

On June 12th, his last HRs came in a 5-4 win over the Expos where he hit two HRs & drove in four runs.

He had Knee problems & injuries that limited him to 51 games. The injuries would end his career as well by the age 33. McReynolds played in 51 games in the strike shortened season, batting .256 with 4 HRs 11 doubles & 21 RBIs. 

Mets Career Stats: McReynolds played six seasons in New York overall, in 787 games he batted .265 with 122 HRs 153 doubles & 456 RBIs.

In his 12 season MLB career McReynolds was a lifetime .256 hitter, with 1439 hits, 211 HRs, 284 doubles 35 triples, a .328 on base % & 93 stolen bases in 1502 games. He also had 66 sac flies (175th all time) & drew 522 walks.

Mets All Time Leader Board: McReynolds has played in 787 Mets games (21st most All Time). He is second all-time to Cleon Jones with games played in left field (758).  He hit 122 Met HRs (9th most all time) with 456 RBIs (11th All time) 153 doubles (13th all time) He has 791 Mets hits (16th all time) & 67 stolen bases (19th all time).

In the outfield he played 1069 games in left (61st all time) with 1469 games at all outfield positions.

McReynolds made 100 outfield assists posting a .987 fielding %. His .985 fielding % in left field in 41st all time. 

 In left field his .985 fielding % is 45th all time & his 67 assists in that position is #56 all time.

Family: Kevin married his wife Jackie in 1987. 

Retirement: McReynolds is an avid fisherman & duck hunter. He ran the Double Deuce Duck Club in Arkansas for thirty years.


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