The Mets announced on Tuesday that infielder Edgardo Alfonzo, LHP Jon Matlack, and RHP Ron Darling will be inducted to the Mets Hall of Fame during the upcoming 2020 season. The Mets will also posthumously honor LHP Al Jackson with the Hall of Fame Achievement Award for his contributions to the organization as a player and coach. The organization will institutionalize these honors with a ceremony ahead of the Mets 1:10pm game vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 17th.
Matlack, Darling, and Fonzie each represent a different era of success from the Mets franchise over the years. Jackson was an original Met, dedicating multiple years as a player and coach to the franchise. Let’s revisit their time representing the Orange and Blue:
Jon Matlack: A Jerry Koosman injury in 1971 allowed Matlack the opportunity to step into the rotation and showcase his stuff. From there his Mets career blossomed. Jon went on to pitch his way to the 1972 National League Rookie of the Year award, notching 15 wins and registering a 2.32 ERA. He would contribute another 14 wins the following season as the Mets represented the National League in the 1973 World Series. The Mets’ southpaw would then be named to the NL All-Star team for three consecutive seasons before spending his final year with the Mets in 1977. Jon is amongst the top 10 in a plethora of Mets franchise pitching categories, including wins, ERA, complete games, and strikeouts. He finished his Mets career with a win-loss total of 82-81, a record that’s been said to not be indicative of his stellar performance because of a lack of hitting. Remind you of anyone else?
Ron Darling: In addition to representing one-third of our beloved Mets Booth on SNY, Darling was one of the linchpins in the Mets dominant pitching during the 1980s. Ron was named an All-Star in 1985, a Gold Glove winner in 1989, and was part of the storied 1986 World Series-winning team. Darling also ranks in the top 10 in multiple Mets pitching categories, including wins, complete games, innings pitched, and shutouts.
Edgardo Alfonzo: Fonzie will go down as one of the most clutch hitters and top postseason performers in Mets history. Named an All-Star during the 2000 season, his knack for crunch-time hitting fueled the Mets during their 1999 and 2000 playoff runs. Alfonzo ranks amongst the top 10 in many of the Mets postseason hitting categories, including hits, batting average, and RBIs.
Fonzie has also contributed to the Mets organization on the coaching side. Starting as a bench coach in 2014, Edgardo has managed the Class A affiliate Brooklyn Cyclones since 2017. This past season Fonzie guided the Cyclones to the NY Penn League Championship. So how did the Mets reward him? New coaching contract? Promotion to Class AA or the Major League staff? Nope. They fired him. Maybe this induction was their way of saying “sorry”.
Al Jackson: The Mets will posthumously honor Jackson for his years of contribution to the organization, which include playing as a member of the original Mets 1962 team as well as spending multiple years in various pitching coach roles. As a player, Jackson ranks amongst the top 10 in Mets pitching for most shutouts and complete games. He was also the first Met pitcher to record a one-hitter, a feat he accomplished in 1962 against the Houston Colt .45s. As a coach, Jackson served at the MLB level on Bobby Valentine’s coaching staff for two years: in 1999 as an assistant and in 2000 as the bullpen coach. However, it is Jackson’s extensive work as the Mets minor league pitching coordinator that will be remembered most. Al Jackson passed away in August of last year from illness, and while it’s a shame that he won’t be alive to see the Mets honor him, many of the pitchers he helped along the way will.