More than 60 former players and managers are expected to be on hand next Saturday when the Mets hold their first Old-Timers’ Day since 1994.
The guest list is a who’s who of Mets history, from members of the original 1962 team, to World Series champions from 1969 and 1986, to recent stars from the World Series teams of 2000 and 2015.
The Mets are truly pulling out all the stops to honor their history in the franchise’s 61st season.
The former players will take batting practice and play in an Old-Timers’ game before the current Mets host the Colorado Rockies at 7:10 p.m. Gates will open at 3:30 and introductions are expected to begin at 4:30.
Among the big names expected to attend are MLB Hall of Famers Mike Piazza, Pedro Martinez and Joe Torre, plus Mets Hall of Famers Ed Kranepool, Cleon Jones, Mookie Wilson, Keith Hernandez, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, John Franco, Mike Piazza, Jon Matlack, Ron Darling and Edgardo Alfonzo, and fan favorites such as Benny Agbayani, Endy Chavez and Bartolo Colon.
David Cone and Willie Randolph, who were part of the Yankees’ scaled-back Old-Timers’ Day last month, will double dip as Mets Old-Timers, too.
But there are some prominent members of Mets history who will not be attending for various reasons.
Wright, who will turn 40 on Dec. 20 and last played in farewell games in 2018, said during a March 31 visit to Mets spring training: “I don’t consider myself old.”
When told that 37-year-old Daniel Murphy was attending, Wright said: “Well, Murphy, I know my body is like an old man, but he’s really like an old man. He moves like an old man, he talks like an old man. So Old-Timers’ Day is perfect for Murph.”
Jose Reyes, 39, will attend.
The former Mets captain, who lives in California, said he would be open to attending a future Old-Timers’ Day.
Davey Johnson & Bud Harrelson
Johnson, who led the Mets to the 1986 title, and beloved former shortstop and manager Harrelson are unable to attend because of health issues.
Johan Santana & Yoenis Cespedes
Santana, who was at Citi Field earlier this season to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his no-hitter, originally accepted the Mets’ invitation but then had to back out because of recent shoulder surgery.
Cespedes accepted the Mets’ invitation, much to the delight of some and the surprise of most, but backed out because, well, he’s Cespedes and he can be flighty. He also reportedly plans on coming back to play in the majors in 2023 and is planning to play winter ball.
This one is, in a word, awkward.
“Nails” is a fan favorite, but he is persona non grata at Citi Field for what the club calls “various issues.”
The most recent — and one that Dykstra continues to reference on his very active, very vitriolic Twitter feed — is a feud with Darling, his former teammate.
Dykstra sued Darling for defamation in 2019 after the former pitcher wrote in a book that Dykstra shouted racial taunts at Red Sox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd from the on-deck circle before Game 3 of the 1986 World Series. Boyd is Black. Dykstra denies the charge.
New York Supreme Court Judge Robert Kalish, in throwing out the suit in 2020, ruled that Dykstra’s “reputation for unsportsmanlike conduct and bigotry is already so tarnished that it cannot be further injured.”
Dykstra has had numerous run-ins with the law and spent more than a year in a California prison after two convictions for bankruptcy fraud and other offenses. He was released in 2013.
After word got out in February that he probably was not going to be invited to Old-Timers’ Day, Dykstra posted on Twitter: “Could you imagine if me, Wally, Doc, Straw and Mitch all just . . . instead partied in the parking lot with fans?”
The former teammates Dykstra mentioned — Wally Backman, Gooden, Strawberry and Kevin Mitchell — will all be inside Citi Field for the Aug. 27 ceremony.
They were invited.