David Wright, who hasn't played in the majors since May 27, 2016, was activated from the 60-day DL on Tuesday and will start at third base on Saturday, Sept. 29 at Citi Field.
Here's a look at the 10 most memorable moments of Wright's Mets career...
No. 10) Major League debut, July 21, 2004
Following just two and a half highly-touted seasons in the minor leagues, Wright was called up to the Mets and made his much-awaited, big-league debut. He hit seventh in the lineup, started at third base and went hitless in four at-bats.
He recently told me he barley remembers his first at bat because he was consumed with the moment and distracted by seeing his face on the Jumbotron.
At the time, Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile were struggling to provide a consistent presence at first base. So, to help stabilize the situation, Ty Wigginton moved to first from third base, where Wright was said to be a temporary replacement until other additions could made.
Thankfully, Wright -- who got his first Mets hit the next day -- was awesome and never left...
No. 9) Barehanded catch, Aug. 9, 2005
During a game in San Diego, Padres OF Brian Giles hit a blooper over the head and right shoulder of Wright, who quickly turned, extended his bare hand and snatched it out of the air before landing on the grass in left field.
The grab is widely considered the greatest and most memorable defensive play of Wright's career as it won MLB.com's This Year in Baseball Play of the Year Award.
It was a great catch. However, it was more or less meaningless in the grand scheme of that season. To me, I see this moment as extra special because, in addition to being an impressive catch, it also signaled to Mets fans, media and all of baseball that he was a legit player and star in the making...
No. 8) All-Star Game at Citi Field, July 16, 2013
Wright almost didn't start at third base for the National League during the first All Star Game at Citi Field. During late spring, early summer, Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval led the fan vote.
The Giants, who at the time were considered to have the best social media team in sports, had been running multiple online campaigns encouraging fans to vote. It also helped that the Giants were coming off a World Championship and consistently sold out their games, during which fans could submit hard ballots for their preferred players.
The Mets, on the other hand, were in the middle of what would be their fifth-straight losing season, during which attendance had been dipping.
Thankfully, the team's social media and marketing team amped up their plea for Mets fans to get behind Wright, especially since the game would be played in their home ballpark.
In the end, Wright received the fourth-largest number of votes in the N.L. with 6,411,381 votes and took the field as the team's starting third baseman in front of his home-town fans.
"I was drafted by this team, developed by this team, and a lot of players don't get the opportunity to participate in one All-Star Game, much less the All-Star Games I've had the opportunity to participate in," Wright said the weekend prior to the game, at which time he was hitting .305 average with 13 home runs. "This year, being at home, obviously it's special."
No. 7) Home run in first All-Star Game at -bat, July 11, 2006
In the first at bat of first All Star Game, while starting at third base, Wright hit a home run. It's a nice moment, though hardly worthy of a more mainstream list. However, for me, I think it sticks out because he hit it against Kenny Rogers, who I still haven't forgiven for what he did pitching for the Mets against the Braves during the 1999 playoffs.
Wright would go on to play in the All Star Game six more times.
No. 6) Mets clinch NL East, Sept. 18, 2006
"After running roughshod over the National League," as Gary Cohen said, the Mets won the NL East for the first time since 1988. The night was a terrific moment for the entire organization...
However, when I think of that game and the celebration that occurred afterward, I instantly think of Wright dripping in champagne and smoking a cigar on field at Shea Stadium, saluting fans in the stands, while standing with an arm around his young partner in crime, Jose Reyes.
No. 5) Wright breaks Mets hit record, Sept. 26, 2012
In his third at-bat against of the day, Wrights singled off Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke. It was Wright's 1,419th hit of his career and broke Ed Kranepool's record for most hits in team history.
In the following years, Wright would go on to also become the franchise leader in at bats, RBI, walks, runs scored and total bases. He's also currently second in games played, home runs, while ranking third in batting average and fourth in On Base Percentage.
No. 4) Nov 30, 2012
Following a long summer worrying whether Wright would leave the Mets as a free agent that winter and sign with another team, it was reported by WFAN's Ed Coleman during the middle of the night that Wright and the Mets agreed to an eight-year, $138-million contract extension.
The deal likely meant Wright would retire wearing a Mets hat, making him the only player in team history to do that while also starting multiple All Star and postseason games.
For myself and other Mets fans, it was a declaration that Wright (who probably could have gotten more money on the open market) believed in the Mets and their ability to rebound from four consecutive seasons finishing below .500.
The following spring, his teammates and Terry Collins named Wright the fourth team captain in Mets franchise history (Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez and John Franco being the other three). It's more or less a meaningless title for active players in the clubhouse, as any former player will tell you. However, for the overall organization and for the team's fans, designating David the team's captain meant putting a face on the franchise and created a model for future players and young kids rising through the team's farm system.
No. 3) Aug. 24, 2015
After missing the previous 115 games, under which questions swirled whether he might ever play again, Wright made his triumphant return from the disabled list and, in his first at bat, hit a home run at Citizens Bank Park against the Phillies.
"I had to be careful, I almost pulled a Wilmer Flores out there," Wright said jokingly after the game. "You have to try to keep your emotions in check. You're happy and you're satisfied, but, at the same time, you understand we're right in the middle of a pennant race."
The previous April, Wright was put on the DL with a hamstring injury. During his rehab, doctors discovered he was also dealing with lumbar spinal stenosis, which is a degenerative condition made temporarily tolerable with time consuming, rigorous rehab or a complex surgery that is best performed in retirement.
According to reports, the night before, Wright arrived at the team's hotel in full uniform.
No. 2) Sept. 13, 2018
Flanked by assistant GM John Ricco and co-owner Jeff Wilpon, Wright announced that he would be starting his first game with the Mets in over two years on Saturday, Sept. 29.
Rooting for this team takes a level of mental and emotional armor, patience and blind faith like no other experience I know in sports. The eye rolling, utter frustration and the constant slings and arrows at the team and us from the media and opposing (and crosstown) fans can come fast and furious. However, David has been our firewall. He was the guy that took the hit, gave us cover by making us proud, and provided hope that things would be better.
I know from talking with him this past year that when his tears dry it will reveal a tremendous sense of pride for what he accomplished by making it back and for the relationship he built with us.
No. 1) Oct. 30, 2015
In the days after each 2007 and 2008, and very often during the dark days of the following six seasons, Wright talked about worrying that he may have missed his chance to play in the World Series, which he viewed as the ultimate accomplishment. During his press conference announcing a contract extension that more or less guaranteed he would play his entire career with the Mets, he promised the organization and Mets fans that he would eventually get them to the Fall Classic. In 2015, that goal was crossed off his to-do list.
To top it off, in his first at-bat during his first World Series game in Citi Field, Wright hit a two-run home run off Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura. The Mets won the game, 9-3. I attended every postseason game that season, sitting high above first base with my childhood friends. In the hundreds of games I have attended over the decades, the collective reaction from Mets fans to Wright's home run was one of the most amazing, emotionally charged moments I ever experienced.
In an interview I did with him a few months later, Wright told the most memorable moment at that point in his career was looking up at the team's fans in the stands before the first pitch of Game 3.