Yesterday, Mookie Wilson made headlines when blurbs from his new book, “Mookie: Life, Baseball and the ’86 Mets,” were released. Wilson, who is one of the most beloved players in Mets history, feels he has been mistreated since the Sandy Alderson regime took control of the organization. His comments were very critical of the organization as a whole and he questioned the direction management are taking this team in.
Wilson, was a fan favorite, who played for the Mets from 1980-1989. Fans of that generation remember him being one of the teams few bright spots of the early 80’s. As the decade went on, and more talent arrived, Wilson become a key member of the Mets glory years. But there is one singular play that will have him etched into the history books forever. Wilson is most famously known for hitting the ball that went through Bill Buckner’s legs in game 6 of the ’86 World Series. From there, the Mets went on to win game 7, in what is known as one of the most memorable World Series of all-time.
When his playing days came to an end, Wilson returned to the Mets to become part of the coaching staff in 1996. He served as the teams first base coach under manager Bobby Valentine through the 2002 season. From there, he went on to manage in the minor league system and served as the Mets base running coordinator. In 2011, he returned to the big league club, as he once again served as the teams first base coach. But things got interesting following that season.
In 2011, Alderson was brought in to give the Mets a face lift, one of his first moves was to remake the coaching staff. Despite Terry Collins selecting Wilson to be his first base coach in 2011, the front office pulled rank following the season and replaced Wilson, despite Collins wishes to retain him. Since then, Wilson has served as a team ambassador and spring training special instructor. No other coaching position has been offered to Wilson since the 2011 season.
These are a few excerpts from Wilson’s new book regarding the situation:
“I understand that jobs come and go in the baseball business, but sometimes management loses sight of how these moves play with people’s lives,” Wilson writes. “When you have no stability and don’t know what you’re doing from one year to the next, it’s very difficult to do anything. One year you’re making $100,000, the next year just $40,000. Where’s the reasoning? How can people live under those circumstances?
“For as difficult as it is, I don’t think it really bothers team management, and that troubles me. I don’t care about not having a job. If they fire me because they have a better replacement, that’s fine. But when no information is given as to why a move is made, it’s much worse than getting an explanation I might disagree with. They just dictated my career as a player and a coach and it wasn’t right.”
The first thing I take away from this, I hope Wilson isn’t in any sort of financial trouble. He seems to hint at this when he brings up the fluctuating salary he must have been receiving as a team ambassador. I would like to think this is rather his way of displaying his anger towards not having a bigger role in the organization, and not a cry for money. That would be a real shame.
In regards to his second comment, I have to agree with Wilson. If the Mets wanted to replace him with another coach who better fits what they are trying to implement, or just feel they have a better man for the job, so be it, they have every right to do that. But everyone deserves a reason as to why they have been replaced. Wilson has been a stable in the organization for many years now, as both a player and coach, he deserved to at least been told why the Mets parted ways with him at the coaching level.
I find it hard to believe that Wilson wouldn’t be useful somewhere in the minor league level, unlike many of his teammates of the 80’s, Wilson was always considered to be a role model. He comes off as the type of figure you would want to help mold these young men in the early years of their professional careers. I’m not trying to say the Mets owe Wilson a job, because they don’t, but I just find it hard to imagine that he can’t be of use somewhere. If management feels he is best suited serving the organization as a team ambassador, that’s fine too.
Whatever the real issue is, as I feel like there must be something missing to this story, I hope it all gets sorted out. Wilson is, and always will be, a beloved figure in this city. He was here before the Alderson regime and will be long after they’re gone. Wilson will forever hold a place in fans hearts for what he has given this organization.
Read the NY Post article in its entirety for more on this story