The New York Mets celebrated Old Timer’s Day at Citi Field on Saturday. However, the day was more than that for team icon Ray Knight.
Knight’s inclusion in Old Timer’s Day would not seem out of the ordinary to the outside observer. The former corner infielder was a two-time All-Star who helped the team win the World Series in 1986. More than that, he was the World Series MVP that year as well.
However, the Wilpons, who owned the Mets from 1987 until they sold the team in 2020, shunned Knight. The Mets icon opened up about what his inclusion in Old Timer’s Day meant to him.
“It’s a special thing for me to be here and feel like maybe I’m back part of this organization because [Steve] Cohen came in and spoke to me today. I hadn’t spoken to Jeff Wilpon in 30 years, period,” he said Saturday.
“Never was invited back, except for the 30-year [World Series reunion]. I was never invited to throw out the first pitch, none of that stuff. And that hurts because you give everything you have and you expect somebody to give a little something back, and that’s what this organization is doing now.”
Knight left the Mets after the 1987 season when he signed with the Baltimore Orioles. But his issues with the team began after a lowball offer prior to his departure to the Orioles.
“I didn’t even enjoy the parade. It just never went away, the hurt never went away, because it never changed,” Knight said.
Through it all, however, Knight maintained a love for the Mets. Even if the team well and truly hurt him. Even if he despised the men who ran the team, and eventually him out of town.
“It hurts to this day,” Knight said in reference to his 1987 free agency decision. “I love the New York Mets, I don’t like the Wilpons, I don’t like any of that deal.”