From Francisco Rodriguez's arrest for beating up on his father-in-law in the Citi Field clubhouse to Vince Coleman throwing a lit firecracker into a crowd outside of Dodger Stadium in 1993, the New York Mets have seen their fair share of embarrassing moments in the past 20 years of franchise history. However, the 25-season span from their inception in 1962 to their World Series-winning year in 1986, produced several ugly moments that will never be forgotten by Mets fans.
Here's a look at the top five most embarrassing New York Mets' moments that occurred between 1962 and 1986:
George Foster Says His Benching Was Racially Motivated
Mets outfielder George Foster, who was 37 years old at the time, was hitting just .228 during the 1986 season when he was benched in favor of Kevin Mitchell. In response to the benching, Foster said "When a ballclub can, they replace a George Foster or a Mookie Wilson with a more popular white player."
This was a completely ridiculous statement because Foster was benched for Kevin Mitchell, who is of the same race as him. It's bad news whenever a player pulls the race card to make excuses for poor performance, and Foster was placed on waivers by the Mets just days after his comments were made. Foster also rubbed some fans and teammates wrong that season when he sat alone on the bench and refused to run out onto the field to support his teammates during a bench-clearing brawl.
Trading Away Nolan Ryan
After putting together back-to-back losing seasons in New York, Nolan Ryan asked to be traded away from the Mets in 1971. The Mets granted his wishes, and sent him to the California Angels (now the Los Angeles Angels), in return for third baseman Jim Fregosi.
The Mets felt that they had plenty of pitching at the time, and getting a six-time All-Star like Fregosi would help fill the void at third base. The deal would eventually go down as one of the worst in franchise history, as Fregosi hit just .232 with five homers in 1972, while Ryan would go on to have a Hall of Fame career that included seven no-hitters and 5,714 strikeouts.
The Midnight Massacre
Tom Seaver, just 33 at the time and still at the top of his game, was traded to the Cincinnati Reds on June 15, 1977 for Pat Zachry, Steve Henderson, Doug Flynn, and Dan Norman. Seaver was, and perhaps still is, the most popular Met of all-time, so the trade was widely criticized by fans who wanted to see Seaver return to the Mets for a few more years.
Seaver would go on to win a total of 21 games that year, including 14 for the Reds, and also earn 10 or more wins in each of his next four seasons. Meanwhile, the players the Mets got back for him never really generated much production, which made the trade look even worse.
1986 Mets Scuffle With Houston Police Officers
On July 19, 1986, a handful of Mets players got into a small fight with Houston police officers outside a popular singles club when the team was in town for a series against the Houston Astros. According to reports, Tim Teufel was upset that he wasn't allowed to leave the bar with a drink in his hand, even though it was a violation of Texas liquor laws to leave a club with an alcoholic beverage.
Teufel, along with Ron Darling, ended up getting arrested when the argument escalated into a mini-fight outside the club. Two other Mets, Bob Ojeda and Rick Aguilera, were charged with hindering the arrest when they allegedly tried to prevent their fellow players from being arrested.
Dwight Gooden Fights With Tampa Police
On Dec. 13, 1986, Dwight Gooden was charged with assaulting several police officers in what the police described as a routine traffic offense that turned into a furious fight. According to the police, one officer was kicked in the head and another was kneed in the groin. Gooden would ultimately plead no contest and get three years probation for the incident, but he never learned his lesson. Later in his career, he would test positive for cocaine and fail multiple substance abuse tests, resulting in season-long suspensions and a sorry end to a once-promising career.
Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.