Why One '86 Mets Star Believes Wally Backman Should Be Next Manager

Find out why one '86 Mets star believes Wally Backman is the right man to manage the team.
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With Luis Rojas out the door, the Mets will be looking for their fourth manager in the last five seasons this winter.

And while this decision likely won't be made until they hire a president of baseball operations, one '86 Mets star believes the team should bring in one of his former teammates to manage the club.

"If Steve Cohen really meant what he said when he bought the team, and he promised the fans he would deliver a winning product, then he must hire Wally Backman as the new Mets manager," former Mets center fielder Lenny Dykstra told Inside the Mets via direct message on Twitter. "Steve Cohen would see and feel results immediately."

Although Dykstra comes along with a clouded past, he was a phenomenal player who alongside Backman, helped the Mets capture their last World Series championship in 1986.

He also starred as a regular interviewee in Nick Davis' four-part ESPN 30-for-30 documentary about the '86 Mets: "Once Upon a Time In Queens," which premiered in September of 2021.

For Dykstra, Backman has the right stuff to inspire a team at the big-league level, which is why he believes this is a match made in heaven.

"Managing in the big-leagues is about getting the players to go to war for you," said Dykstra. "And Backman knows how to motivate the players so that they show up at the ballpark every night on a mission of mercy.

"Mets fans have suffered for far too long. It’s time for the New York Mets to play baseball like it oughta be."

Despite Dykstra's wishes, Backman is unlikely to be considered a candidate due to a multitude of reasons.

Backman served as a minor league manager for the Mets from 2010-16. However, he resigned as the Triple-A manager following the 2016 season, and believes then general manager and current team president Sandy Alderson "back balled" him from receiving another opportunity in major league baseball.

And although Backman admittedly would jump at the opportunity to manage the Mets, he knows it's not going to happen.

“Not with who’s the president,” Backman said back in March, in reference to Alderson on The New York Post’s “Amazin’ But True” Mets podcast. “It wouldn’t happen. He doesn’t like me because I’ve always been very close to the media. I’m still close to the media that was there when I played. That’s not what he likes. He doesn’t like that, he’s told me that before.

“It got to the point in ’16, Terry [Collins] wanted me to be his bench coach and Sandy said that’s not gonna happen. That’s when they hired Dick Scott. Then I was going to be the third base coach one year and that didn’t happen. So I don’t know what I ever did. I never disrespected the man ever – ever. I did what he asked me to do.”

According to Backman, Alderson wanted him gone after he ignored the Mets' orders to bat Brandon Nimmo in the leadoff spot against lefties and play Michael Conforto vs. lefties in Triple-A. 

“[Alderson] had the one issue with Brandon Nimmo, I was supposed to hit him first, second and I hit him eighth eight or nine times during the regular season when we were facing one of the toughest left-handers in the PCL and I was just trying to protect the kid,” Backman said. “I had to get all the statistics and show it to everybody because he said I wasn’t doing what I was told to do. I know how to protect players. I played the game. I didn’t mind being protected because I couldn’t hit a lefty to save my a–. So I was just trying to help the kids, protect them and do things like that."

Backman was hired to manage the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004, but was fired after four days after the organization discovered his legal and financial issues in the past. The former Mets' second baseman just finished his third season as manager of the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League.

“I’d love to be the guy that ran that team [the Mets] because I know the players and I know how to run the game, but that’s not going to happen,” Backman said. “It’s not going to happen.”