Wright's career one for the record books
On Jul. 21, 2004, David Wright took the field at Shea Stadium for the first time. On Sept. 29, 2018, he will don a New York Mets uniform for the last time at Citi Field, capping off his career as arguably one of the best players to ever wear the team’s name.
For the last two years, Wright was the player you maybe got a glimpse of in the dugout during a broadcast. Or, he was the guy who disappeared from all news for a period of time after he got injured. And then, he became the guy who, despite positive signs pointing to his return, would always face setbacks.
From neck and shoulder problems, to spinal stenosis, Wright grinded through, attempting to make his way back onto the field as an everyday player to no avail.
“Those three combined, it’s debilitating to play baseball,” Wright said.
Through all of this, Wright was still a leader in the clubhouse. He stuck with the team and desperately tried to make a return. Never once did he leave the mind of fans - nor will he ever.
Wright will always be “the man” for many fans. He will always be “the Captain” and “Captain America.” His career has been nothing short of both incredible and later heartbreaking to watch.
After being drafted by the organization in 2001, Wright quickly became the face of the franchise after his debut. He signed two hefty contract extensions over the course of 13 major league seasons, won two Gold Gloves and made seven All-Star games. He ranks at the top of the Mets all-time offensive records, including hits, runs, RBIs, doubles and walks, while sitting ten home runs short behind Darryl Strawberry for the lead spot in that category, as well.
He also ranks in the top five among third basemen since his debut in hits, batting average, extra base hits, home runs, RBIs and on base percentage.
In his press conference on Sept. 13, flanked by Jeff Wilpon, Chief Operating Officer and son of Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon, and interim General Manager John Ricco, Wright never used the word retirement, but clearly expressed that he didn’t foresee a change he’d be able to play beyond September and beyond 2018.
Wright’s career goes beyond his rankings in the all-time numbers. He always found the positives in each loss and bad game. Through the good and bad times, he remained dedicated to the team. He was the collected voice in the clubhouse and in front of the press, except for during that press conference, where his eyes reddened, voice cracked and tears fell from his face, as he prepared to say goodbye to the game he’s played professionally for half of his life.
“The love and the support I’ve received from inside the organization, outside the organization has been first class, and words can’t express the gratitude I have for everybody,” Wright said.
For two long years, Mets fans wondered if they would ever see their captain play again. Wright himself even wondered if he would, not only for his own sake of achieving his goal to come back, but also to play in front of his family, including his two daughters.
Sept. 29 will be the end of an era. It was one that was not only exciting and brought hope, but also one that brought one of the best Mets players of all-time to light. When Wright steps on the field on that day, a chapter in the organization’s history will come to a close, making it an emotional and meaningful game for not only Wright, but everyone else in the ballpark.
“I said it when i was a younger player and I’ll say it again: I truly bleed orange and blue, and through this process the love and the support and the respect from inside and outside the organization has meant the world to me.”
Photo Courtesy of AP/D. Ross Cameron