Subway heroes: 122 players have worn uniform of both Mets and Yankees

Bobby Abreu looks on during batting practice before

Bobby Abreu looks on during batting practice before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field on Monday, April 21, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

advertisement | advertise on newsday

When Bobby Abreu stepped into the batter's box April 22 for his first Mets at-bat, he became the latest player to appear in a game for both the Mets and Yankees.

From David Aardsma to Todd Zeile, 122 players have suited up for both teams since the Mets were born in 1962.

In fact, 1962 Mets Marv Throneberry and Gene Woodling both played for the Yankees before the Mets existed. Throneberry was acquired in a trade with the Orioles in May of that season and Woodling joined the team when he was purchased in June of that season.

Five of the 122 will be active for the Subway Series, which begins Monday at Yankee Stadium. For the Mets, it's Abreu, Bartolo Colon, Kyle Farnsworth and Curtis Granderson. For the Yankees, it's Carlos Beltran.

Beltran is one of the most accomplished players to appear for both teams. He hit 149 home runs for the Mets from 2005-11. Granderson hit 115 for the Yankees from 2010-13.

Darryl Strawberry is the all-time two-team leader with a combined total of 293 home runs, 252 of them for the Mets. Rickey Henderson hit 90 combined (78 for the Yankees) and stole 368 bases (326 for the Yankees).

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Henderson is one of two Hall of Famers to play for both teams. Yogi Berra is the other.

Berra's Mets playing career is largely forgotten, and with good reason. Signed as a player/coach in 1965 after getting fired as Yankees manager in 1964, Berra came out of retirement to appear in four games for the Mets. He went 2-for-9 and struck out three times in four at-bats in his final appearance on May 9.

"I didn't go out there to be embarrassed," Berra said. He promptly retired again.

What about future Hall of Famers? Beltran is starting to generate buzz as a candidate, but that's years away. Four of the 122 are on the 2015 Hall of Fame ballot: Tony Clark, Doug Mientkiewicz, Gary Sheffield and David Weathers.

Only Sheffield has the numbers to be a serious candidate. A Yankee from 2004-06 and a Met in 2009, Sheffield hit 509 home runs (76 for the Yankees, 10 for the Mets.)

Hitting 500 home runs used to get a player into the Hall, but that has changed in the steroid era. Sheffield, a nine-time All-Star, was named in the Mitchell Report. If past voting is any guide, it's unlikely Sheffield will make it to Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility, if ever.

Plenty of accomplished former players are among the 122: Rick Cerone, Lee Mazzilli, John Olerud, Willie Randolph and Robin Ventura, to name a few.

Among the top pitchers are David Cone, Dwight Gooden, Orlando Hernandez, Al Leiter, Bobby Ojeda, Jesse Orosco, Jeff Reardon, Frank Tanana and Ralph Terry.

Gooden had the most combined wins with 181 (157 with the Mets, 24 with the Yankees). Cone was the most balanced, with a total of 145 wins (81 with the Mets, 64 with the Yankees).

Leiter had 95 wins with the Mets and 11 with the Yankees, but he's a Yankees announcer now, as is Cone. Ojeda works for the Mets' TV station, SNY, as a studio analyst.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Randolph starred and coached with the Yankees, finished his playing career with the Mets in 1992 and managed the Mets from 2005-08. He has a book coming out this week called "The Yankee Way: Playing, Coaching and My Life in Baseball."

The Mets didn't even make the subtitle.

Ron Swoboda became a beloved figure for the 1969 Miracle Mets but finished his career with the Yankees in 1973, just as another unlikely Mets team was playing in the World Series.

Both teams had a Doc (Medich) and a Dock (Ellis). They had a Friend (Bob) and an Angel (Berroa). They had Terrence Long and Bill Short. They had a Roy (Staiger) and a Rogers (Kenny). There was a Duke (Carmel) and a Knight (Brandon), neither of whom is among New York's baseball royalty.

They had players who are best known in New York for what they did when playing against the Yankees with a non-New York team: Mike Torrez (Red Sox), who gave up Bucky Dent's home run in 1978, and Tony Tarasco (Orioles), who camped under Derek Jeter's long drive to right and watched Jeffrey Maier interfere with the ball, leading to a disputed home run in the 1996 American League Championship Series.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Fifteen of the 122 played for both teams in the same season, including Southampton native and Center Moriches High product Paul Gibson (1993) and former Long Island Ducks reliever Armando Benitez (2003).

Benitez is one of four who have played for the Mets, Yankees and Ducks. The others are pitchers Allen Watson and Royce Ring and catcher Alberto Castillo.

Benitez also is one of the few players who have been traded between the teams, from the Mets to the Yankees in this case. So was Ventura, who went from the Mets to the Yankees in December 2001 for David Justice.

Justice, though, is not one of the 122. He never played for the Mets; he was traded seven days later to the Oakland A's.

And last but not least is Casey Stengel, the manager who played for neither the Yankees nor Mets but whose number is retired by both teams.

Subscribe to Newsday’s sports newsletter for stories, photos and videos about your favorite New York teams plus national sports news and events.

Comments now uses Facebook for our comment boards. Please read our guidelines and connect your Facebook account to comment.

You also may be interested in: