Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Mets To Induct Darling, Matlack, Fonzie Into Team's Hall of Fame

Ron Darling. Picture credit: Turner Sports.

The Mets announced on Tuesday at Ron Darling, a top pitcher on the 1986 championship team; Jon Matlack, an anchor of their pitching staff when they went to the World Series in 1973; and Edgardo Alfonso, an infielder that led the Mets to the pennant in 2000, will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on Sunday, May 17 at Citi Field prior to the 1:10 p.m. first pitch vs. the Pirates.

Al Jackson, who pitched on the Mets' inaugural team in 1962 and went on to be a longtime coach for the team before passing away last August, will be posthumously honored with the Mets Hall of Fame Achievement Award for contributions to the organization.

“On behalf of ownership, I was thrilled to wholeheartedly approve the Hall of Fame Committee’s recommendation for Jon Matlack, Ron Darling and Edgardo Alfonzo into the 2020 class,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. “This group combines Mets eras from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s. Matlack was a fierce lefty who was a rock in the rotation and helped the 1973 Mets to the NL pennant. Ron’s steady brilliance was capped with the ’86 world championship. He allowed just three earned runs in 17.2 innings during the World Series vs. Boston. Fonzie is always someone Mets fans wanted at the plate with the game on the line. He thrived in those situations. His monster years in 1999 and 2000 were a huge reason for our success.”

The 30 Mets Hall of Fame Members (in order of the year they were inducted): Joan Payson (1981); Casey Stengel (1981); Gil Hodges (1982); George M. Weiss (1982); Johnny Murphy (1983); William A. Shea (1983); Ralph Kiner (1984); Bob Murphy (1984); Lindsey Nelson (1984); Bud Harrelson (1986); Rusty Staub (1986); Tom Seaver (1988); Jerry Koosman (1989); Ed Kranepool (1990); Cleon Jones (1991); Jerry Grote (1992); Tug McGraw (1993); Mookie Wilson (1996); Keith Hernandez (1997); Gary Carter (2001); Tommie Agee (2002); Frank Cashen (2010); Dwight Gooden (2010); Davey Johnson (2010), Darryl Strawberry (2010), John Franco (2012), Mike Piazza (2013), Jon Matlack (2020), Ron Darling (2020) and Edgardo Alfonzo (2020).

RON DARLING: Darling was one of the backbones of the Mets pitching rotation in the 1980s. He ranks fourth in team history in wins with 99. Darling is also in the top 10 in club history in complete games, innings, strikeouts and shutouts. A member of the 1986 World Champions, he won Game 4 of the World Series in Boston to even the series. Darling was an All-Star in 1985 and earned a Gold Glove Award in 1989. He has been a member of SNY’s broadcast team since its inception in 2006.

“I’m humbled and honored to be part of the Mets Hall of Fame Class of 2020,” said Darling. “Congratulations to the other honorees, especially Al Jackson who was my mentor in the minor leagues. Al changed the path of my professional baseball career and for that, I will be forever grateful. I want to thank the New York Mets organization for this honor and allowing me to be a part of the orange and blue for all these years. This year will be my 25th year, in some capacity, as part of the Mets family. I want to thank all of my teammates, managers and coaches, but most importantly the diehard Mets fans who have made a Hawaiian-born, Massachusetts-raised ballplayer and broadcaster, feel like a true New Yorker.”

Jon Matlack (seated) was at Citi Field last season as part of  an Alumni Weekend. Photo by Jason Schott.

JON MATLACK: Matlack was the 1972 Rookie of the Year and a three-time All-Star with the Mets. He ranks in the top 10 in franchise history in wins, complete games, ERA, strikeouts, shutouts and innings. Matlack won two games and had a 1.40 ERA in four starts during the 1973 postseason. He won double-digit games five straight years, led the NL in shutouts in 1974 and 1976 and was the co-MVP of the 1975 All-Star Game.

“I was honored when I got the call from Jeff [Wilpon],” said Matlack. “I was astounded when he called and I am so grateful for the honor. My time in New York was special to me and I am thrilled to be remembered with all of the great players, especially the pitchers, this organization has been blessed to have. Congrats to my fellow inductees Ron Darling and Edgardo Alfonzo. I’m glad that Al Jackson is being recognized as well for what he gave to the organization.”

EDGARDO ALFONSO: Alfonzo was one of the most clutch performers in Mets history. He ranks first in team postseason history in hits, runs and RBI. Alfonzo homered in the one-game playoff in 1999 at Cincinnati and then slugged two homers, including a grand slam, in Game 1 of the NLDS at Arizona. He ranks in the Top 10 in franchise history in hits, runs, doubles, RBI, OBP, total bases and batting average.  Alfonzo won a Silver Slugger Award in 1999 and was an All-Star in 2000.

“Getting into the Mets Hall of Fame is a dream come true for me,” said Alfonzo. “The Mets have had so many great players in their history and I’m so proud to receive this honor. This is something I never thought would be possible when I started out. I was never much for individual goals, I just wanted to help us win. For me to get inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on the 20th anniversary of our NL championship is a special thrill. I would like to congratulate Ron and Jon on their inductions. I’m really glad that Al Jackson is getting honored. He was our pitching coach for two years and was one of my favorites.”

AL JACKSON: Jackson, an original Met who spent 50 years in a New York Mets uniform, passed away on August 19, 2019. He pitched for the Mets from 1962-1969 and later became a major league coach, minor league pitching coordinator and a front office advisor for the club. The other Hall of Fame Achievement Award recipients are: front office executive Bob Mandt (2010), head groundskeeper Pete Flynn (2012) and scout Harry Minor (2013).

“Al was one of the Mets longest-tenured uniform members,” said Wilpon. “You can’t measure the impact he had on players as a major league and minor league coach. His laugh is greatly missed. We are honored to bestow this award to his family.”

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