Q&A: – Matthew Silverman – “New York Mets – A Complete Illustrated History”



We’re talking today to Matthew  Silverman, author of “New York Mets – A Complete Illustrated History”, which is hitting the bookstores this week. Silverman is a veteran Mets author, including the books “100 Things Mets Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die” and “Mets Essential: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Real Fan…”


The new book… New York Mets: The Complete Illustrated History… brings to life a half century of Mets baseball, from the lovable losers of the early years, through the championship teams of 1969 and 1986, up through the stars of today. Chock full of photos, memorabilia, and memories, New York Mets tells the complete story of the franchise, including season-by-season recaps, profiles of the great players and characters, and behind-the-scenes stories through the decades. Longtime Mets fan, author, and expert Matthew Silverman selects the Top 50 Mets players of all time, including current and future Hall of Famers Tom Seaver, Gary Carter, and Mike Piazza; superstar hurlers Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, and Johan Santana; powerful sluggers like Dave Kingman, Darryl Strawberry, and Carlos Beltran; slick-fielding glove-men Bud Harrelson, Keith Hernandez, and Jose Reyes; and fan favorites Ed Kranepool, Tug McGraw, Rusty Staub, Mookie Wilson, David Wright, and many more.

I had a chance to throw some questions his way after reading the book:

Mack: I love the way you designed the book and the photos are just great. Were there any specific photographers that worked with you directly?


Matt: There weren’t any photographers we specifically worked with, though there are a few photogs with several images in the book. I spent about two weeks going through several online archives, jotting down image numbers for the ones I though appropriate. The list was about 500 photos and maybe a quarter of that number got in. MVP Publishing came up with images I didn’t even know existed. And the final design blew me away. I didn’t know about the “pull-tab” Home Run Apple on the cover until I opened the box this afternoon. (I had been wondering how they could not have Seaver on the cover.) I just finished looking through it with my son five minutes ago. They put as much work into creating its look as I did in putting together its contents.


Mack: I see that you listed your top 50 Mets of all time. Do you see any of the current kids being added to this list over the next three to four years.


Matt: I have to be careful which names I say because I have a bad track record of going on and on about players who don’t pan out in New York (Carlos Baerga and Roberto Alomar come to mind among acquisitions; Mackey Sasser and Jerrod Riggan among farm products). But throwing caution to the wind, I have to say I really like Ike–and not just because the phrase sounds so retro. I also like Josh Thole as a contact-hitting catcher who bats lefty and has really come along with the glove and the pitch calling. I think of Jon Niese and Mike Pelfrey as being on permanent start-by-start basis: you never know if they’re going to go on a tear or have six straight starts that the team doesn’t win because they dig too deep a hole–but they’re young and may yet become more consistent. I also like Daniel Murphy. I like that even though Murph’s been supplanted at first base and is no longer a flavor of the week he’s still in their plans. I’ve always seen him as a–if I can turn back time–Dave Magadan kind of hitter, who goes gap to gap and knows how to play the game. Murph’s career may be starting 80 games a year and being ready off the bench the rest of the time–those guys are valuable, especially on good teams. Ed Kranepool and Wayne Garrett, guys on my top 50 from another era, were like that.

Mack: Mathew, this isn’t your first Mets book and I’m sure, it won’t be your last. Do you have a new project in mind for your next one?


Matt: I’m working on a book with another publisher that’s not a thorough history like this, but it has more rating of teams and players and such. I think it’ll be fun book that fans will enjoy. I’m calling it Best Mets, but the title isn’t set in stone yet. Thanks for asking.

Mack: I wanted to thank you for your acknowledgement to Mets bloggers that worked with you. Do you see a day when the Mets management will fully recognize the blogging community?


Matt: I think the day is almost here. It may eventually become like newspapers, where the team is selective with which bloggers get credentials. The bloggers have sort of broken the concept of the too typical baseball newspaper story: lead/observation/quote/observation/quote/observation/quote/quote/conclusion. Sandy Alderson has gone out of his way to make a select few bloggers feel accepted and part of the extended Mets community. (Disclosure: I’m not one of them.) Maybe the day will come when there will be more bloggers than newspaper guys in the locker room, though some bloggers are better for the distance they keep from the subject. Faith and Fear in Flushing’s Greg Prince, for one, writes better than anyone I’ve read, blog or print. He puts the package together of fact, history, and making you care. Even Matthew Cerrone at MetsBlog, who has more access than most, seems to want to take that step back and not become jaded and taking the experience for granted like a lot of newspaper guys have over the years. My goal was once to be a beat guy, but after reading The Worst Team Money Could Buy when I was a reporter at the lower levels of the trade, I started wondering if being a beat guy would really make me happy. Sorry to get philosophical and ramble on, but I’ve thought about this subject often.

Mack: OK, last question. Off the top of head, name the top all-time Mets by position.

Matt: 1B. Keith Hernandez, 2B. Edgardo Alfonzo, SS. Jose Reyes, 3B. David Wright, LF. Cleon Jones, CF. Mookie Wilson/Carlos Beltran, RF. Darryl Strawberry, C. Mike Piazza, RHP. Tom Seaver, RHP. Dwight Gooden, LHP. Jerry Koosman, LHP. Al Leiter, RHP. David Cone, RHRP. Roger McDowell, LHRP: Jesse Orosco, Long Man: Sid Fernandez, CL. Tug McGraw

Yes, there are two guys for center field. I used to list the position as Wilson and Dykstra. Now I guess it’s Wilson and Beltran. Beltran’s a better player than Mookie, but I can’t say he’s been a better Met. It killed me to leave off Jon Matlack. Darling’s pretty close as well. Really good questions, Mack. Thanks for your interest.

Observation: Buy this book. It’s a good one.


2 Responses to Q&A: – Matthew Silverman – “New York Mets – A Complete Illustrated History”

  1. hank goldman says:

    having been a met fan since inception
    i cant wait to get my hands on the book. i have at least 700 pictures of my own from good years and bad

  2. Mack Ade says:

    you’ll enjoy this one… he’s one of the better Mets authirs out there…

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