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Marty Noble

Twenty notable '20' facts in Mets history

Noble: 20 notable '20' facts in Mets history

Twenty notable '20' facts in Mets history play video for Twenty notable '20' facts in Mets history
In appreciation of R.A. Dickey's 20th victory, we present a Mets Top 20 list.

1. Howard Johnson wore No. 20 for most of his Mets tenure. He led the National League in runs batted in (117) and home runs (38) in 1991, establishing a club record for RBIs, produced three 30-30 seasons, averaged 31 home runs, 96 runs, 95 RBIs and 32 stolen bases per season from '87-'91 and routinely crushed the best fastballs in the league.

2. Tom Seaver produced four 20-victory seasons -- 25-7 in 1969, 22-9 in '75, 21-12 in '72 and 20-10 in '71. He won three NL Cy Young Awards and the NL Rookie of the Year Award in nine years and laid the groundwork for his Hall of Fame election.

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3. Tommie Agee wore No. 20 as well. He made those catches in Game 3, 1969, and hit the only upper-deck home run at Shea Stadium on April 10, 1969.

4. Dwight Gooden produced his lone 20-victory season in 1985. His 24-4 mark that year stands as the only time a pitcher finished 20 games over .500 in Mets history.

5. The '62 Mets lost 16 times in their first 20 games, producing a .200 winning percentage that was 50 points lower than their final percentage.

6. The Mets allowed 20 unearned runs in 1999.

7. The Mets have amassed 20 hits in a game 13 times and have produced five hitting streaks of 20 games.

8. Outfielder Ryan Thompson wore No. 20, too. He is best known for his tendency to exaggerate -- or lie. No matter what a teammate did in high school or the Minor Leagues, Thompson claimed to have done more; hence his clubhouse nickname -- Topper. Gooden came up with a better one: "The Lyin' King."

9. Jerry Koosman had a 20-20 experience with the Mets in 1976 and '77. He won 20 games for the first time in '76 and lost 20 the following season. "They say you've got to be a good pitcher to lose 20," Koosman said. "And I know you have to be a good pitcher to win 20. I've done both. So what does that make me? Great?"

10. Johnson had nine "20-10" seasons during his Mets tenure. He always had the best vision on the team -- 20-10.

11. Excluding Bruce Benedict (two games in 1999) and Cookie Lavagetto (one game in 1962), 20 men have managed the Mets.

12. Five Mets pitchers -- Al Leiter (15 in seven innings), Turk Wendell (two in one), Armando Benitez (one in one), Chuck McElroy (one in 2/3) and Pat Mahomes (one in 1 1/3) combined for 20 strikeouts, a club record, in a 13-inning game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Aug. 1, 1999.

13. Mets pitchers have exceeded 200 strikeouts in a season 20 times, most recently Dickey this season.

14. Including HoJo, Agee and Thompson, 26 players have worn the No. 20 for the Mets, including John Pacella, who lost his cap approximately 20 times per inning while pitching.

15. David Cone, not a member of the rotation when the season began, won 20 games in 1988, including 18 as a starter. Besides him, Seaver, Koosman, Gooden and Frank Viola, only Dickey has won 20 with the Mets.

16. Al Jackson lost 20 games in 1962 -- four fewer than Roger Craig that year -- and again in 1965. Tracy Stallard lost 20 time in 1964.

17. John Milner led the Mets in home runs in 1974 with 20.

18. An offensively challenged team, the 1969 Mets scored 20 combined runs in the first two postseason games in their history, both in Atlanta.

19. The Mets defeated the Cardinals, 2-1, in 20 innings on April 17, 2010. It remains the only 20-inning game in their history, and their longest game since Sept. 11, 1974 (25 innings)

20. Wally Backman paid me $20 following the 1988 season because he failed to hit a home run. I paid him $20 in '87 and in '86 because he hit one each year.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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