Collins To Initiate Process For Wright To Be Captain

David-Wright15It was during the summer of 2008 when I first broached the question with then-Mets manager Willie Randolph: Could David Wright someday be named captain?

I went back to my story and this is what Randolph said: “It’s not something we’re talking about now, but yes, David certainly has the qualifications needed to be a captain. He has the respect and admiration of his teammates. They listen to him.”

The Mets didn’t pull the trigger because they had veterans with more experience – such as Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran – and didn’t want to ruffle the feathers of the older players. Randolph wasn’t kept around long enough to name Wright captain, but it was always a foregone conclusion it would eventually happen.

Now, with Wright armed with an eight-year contract that will have him finish his career with the Mets, manager Terry Collins said today he will begin the process of naming his third baseman to the honor, joining Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and John Franco.

The first step is to involve discussing the matter with GM Sandy Alderson and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon.

“I’ve never had that before, so I’m not really sure what the process is,’’ Collins told reporters in Port St. Lucie. “I have an idea in my head of how to approach it as we move forward. I’ll start that process, but it’s something I need to discuss with Jeff and Sandy first.’’

Wright has been the Mets unofficial captain for years; now it is the matter of wrapping a bow around the package. If there’s an issue in Major League Baseball or surrounding the Mets, Wright is the one to provide the player’s perspective. He’s the one reporters crowd around if the Mets lose a close game or go into a tailspin. It has been written numerous times he’s the face of this franchise.

If there were a Mt. Rushmore of the Mets, his face would be there. He is arguably the best position player the Mets have ever produced, and he holds the performance resume to match the job description.

Wright is the one Met with the cache to pull a teammate aside to admonish him for not hustling and showing up on time. He did it with Lastings Milledge and Fernando Martinez. When Jose Reyes was trying to conceal an injury on the field, he made sure the manager knew. It was more important, Wright believed, for the team not to be undermanned than it was to be buddy-buddy with his friend Reyes.

Wright has been known to take a struggling teammate out to dinner, or if nothing else sit next to him in the dugout and talk.

I covered the Yankees when Derek Jeter was named captain and then-manager Joe Torre said his shortstop did things for the club that transcended statistics.

It is the same thing with Wright, and such an appointment is long overdue.

 

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