Comparing the '62 Mets with the '03 Tigers, my impression is
that the Tigers are slightly ahead in terms of young talent that might develop into something worthwhile. In fact, all
the Tigers used as regulars this year except Bobby Higginson can be considered on their way up. When I think of the '62
Mets, I think of a comical bunch of fading stars and cast-offs: Ritchie Ashburn, Gil Hodges, Ken MacKenzie, Marv Throneberry,
Choo Choo Coleman, etc. The average age of their position players was 30. Thirty years old was older then than it is now.
(That sounds like something a '62 Met would say.) Really. I believe Creatine and improved training techniques has vastly extended
the peak plateau of a major league ballplayer. Bill James hasn't confirmed this for me, yet, but someone ought to do the research.
Actually, the Mets' best hitter Frank Thomas (33) had four
years on Dmitri Young (29). Only two '62 Mets went on to have a solid career afterwards: Al Jackson (26) and Bob Miller
(24). (Actually, there were two '62 Met Bob Millers. This is the right-hander who went on to relieve for the Dodgers
and a record number of other teams.) Roger Craig (32) had another strong enough season left in him to lose another 22 games
on top of his 24 losses in '62. Jim Hickman (25), Felix Mantilla (27), Chris Cannizzaro (24), and Joe Christopher (26)
each had a productive season later on in their careers, but those were one-year-wonders.
On the Tigers I still see a long career likely for Carlos Pena.
Don't be surprised if we see him in some all-star games - and don't be surprised, if we never do. The other guys with the
most all-star potential all came in the same trade for Jeff Weaver: Jeremy Bonderman and Franklyn German.
The rest of the team is more of a crapshoot. Dmitri Young
is having a very good year. He could have another. Eric Munson and Warren Morris earned their keep. I think. Craig
Monroe is a good platoon player. Mike Maroth and Nate Cornejo will get another year in the rotation due to a lack of alternatives.
I don't know why youngsters Infante, Santiago, and Inge failed to develop. Perhaps, they were rushed. Perhaps, they never
will hit. Alex Sanchez is a decent pinch runner and defensive outfielder, but there is no evidence he can hit, which should
be his primary task. Jamie Walker is good reliever, but that's nothing to build from. We are still waiting for consistency
and health from the Tigers' former no.1 overall pick Matt Anderson. Their other top picks have been much worse.