Why David Wright was viewed as ‘the blueprint’ for a major leaguer

With David Wright set to play his final game for the Mets on Saturday, Post columnist Steve Serby spoke to current teammates, members of the organization and others about the third basemen.

Zack Wheeler: He always plays with passion. He loves the team, he loves everybody that he plays with. He loves the game, and to see him sorta go out like this stinks. I guess it’s part of life, part of the game, it happens to people . . . it’s unfortunate that it happened to him ’cause he’s one of the good guys in the game. No matter who you are, you could be Jose Reyes that he’s played with for 15 years or something, and then you could be Joe Schmo off the street, or a person that works here doing who knows what?, he’ll say “Hey” to you no matter who you are. He treats everybody with respect no matter what you do, who you are around this place. I think that’s what makes him special to me, he never got a big headache, he’s always stayed the same person I’m guessing. It’s cool to see that. Especially these days, when there’s a lot of people in this game that get big heads just because they have success. It never happened to him. He’s humble and down to earth, and it’s good to see.

Equipment manager Kevin Kierst: I was the clubhouse manager in Norfolk, Va. when they brought him in for his pre-draft workout. And, you’ve been in this game long enough, you can tell, when guys walk in the door, I usually can tell whether they’re gonna have some success in this game. And from Day 1, to me it was apparent, that this kid would be something special. He’s been, to me, a great friend, a sometimes-confidante, he helped me a lot when I got up here, 2011. He was just one of those guys I went to when I had a question or if I had an issue or something, he was the guy that I went to. The best compliment that I could ever say about him was, somebody told me one day, he said, “I wish I had 25 of him.” He’s one of those guys that he almost apologizes everytime he asks you to do something — “That’s why I’m here!” You find that guys like that are the least fuss. I hope this is what he wants. It probably isn’t. But I hope that he goes out the way he wants to go out.

Jacob deGrom: He was a great role model, especially for somebody like me coming up. Not really knowing what New York media and stuff was about and like how to go about things. But watching him and seeing how he handled everything was definitely a huge plus for me early in my career. There was no better example of the way to do things right. He’s gonna be missed greatly, as we have missed him the past couple of years.

Jay Bruce: I came into the big leagues at 21 years old, and I kind of always thought of David as the blueprint. Kind of like if I could draw it up, like what I wanted, how I wanted to be treated, how I wanted people to think about me, how I wanted to treat people, to treat the game, and obviously everyone wants to play like him, you know? Coming up to the major leagues at a young age, he pretty much nailed it. And then getting to know him as a person now as we’re both older, in our 30s, he’s a great human being, man. Very very genuine and gracious and thoughtful. And never takes himself too seriously. Whereas some people in his position could kind of take it for granted a little bit, and I don’t think that he does. . . He just did it right. He was kind of like waltzing into the Hall of Fame. It was kind of a no-brainer. For five or six years there straight, he was in the conversation for best player in the game. . . The guy was a Captain and refused to put a C on his jersey, you know? He appreciates and relishes the responsibility, but I don’t think he cares about the pomp and circumstance, I guess.

Michael Conforto: David texted me after I was drafted, which was one of the cooler things on that day. I couldn’t believe that he went out of his way and wanted me to feel welcome to the team, to the organization. And for me, thinking of the Mets, I would always think of David. I was a big fan of his growing up. When I was struggling, when I was doing well, he’d make it a point to either build me up or congratulate me on things – – even when he wasn’t around. Throughout the whole process, he’s been able to lead even when not being here. He was able to have an impact on me even if we only played together for like a month, two months or so. But I was extremely happy to have been able to play with him in the World Series. . .to be able to see him come off the DL, hit a home run his first at-bat, have a couple of big hits along the way for us to get to the World Series, then obviously the World Series home run was awesome too. It’ll be a fun way to end the year, and hopefully he gets the sendoff he deserves.

Todd Frazier: We would talk at third base a little bit for a couple of years. I didn’t really know how good of a guy he really was until I was around him a lot more. He was the guy I looked up to as a third baseman. He was a guy that I’ll always go to for questions. He’ll tell ya, he’s like, “This might not be the right answer, but it’s what works.” And nine times out of ten he’s right. He’s been through the ups and downs, and for a guy that worked as tirelessly and as hard as he did, to just get back to this moment, shows a lot about his character, and how much he loves the game of baseball, how much he loves New York, the fans and everything about it. I call him a true New Yorker, man, to be honest with ya just because he’s gritty, he’s not afraid to tell you what he really thinks. . . he’ll take a kid under his wing and he’ll help him prosper and make him try to be the player he is and bring out all the good in everybody, and I couldn’t thank him enough. I don’t know how many innings he’s playing, but I hope he can go as long as he can, because he deserves all the praise, he deserves all the cheers. If the umpire strikes him out, the fans are gonna go nuts (smile), somebody might get a beer thrown on ’em or something. He’s a class act. I’ll be on the top step watching, I know that.

Bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello: Anytime I think about David, it’s always about how he goes about his business, the professionalism on and off the field, the lead-by-example kinda guy he is. He just sets the tone as far as work ethic, preparation. It’s hard to put into words the impact that that has on all the other guys. . .teammates, coaches even. He’s the exact same guy as he was back in ’04 that he is now. It’s a me-world these days between social media, Instagram, this and that, everyone’s worried about promoting themselves and he’s never been that way. It’s sorta surreal. I’ve had a front row seat for his entire career, and 15 years went fast for sure.

Devin Mesoraco: Prior to getting to know David, there was always a very select few guys that when you come in and played that you were like, “Man, I get to play this guy.” For me, David was one of those guys. . . Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones. . .David Wright was one of those guys.

Director of Player Relations and Community Engagement Donovan Mitchell: We were doing an event here with the kids from Ronald McDonald House, and they were on the field, but the kids were getting a little bit too hot. David was gonna see the kids before he went for stretch right before a game. And when he came out, he was looking for the kids, they weren’t on the field. This is like 10, 15 minutes before the game. He comes back in, he asks us to hold the doors open, he runs into the press conference room, says hello to the kids, comes sprinting back through here (outside batting cage) back out on the field. And this is something that he didn’t have to do. But that’s just David. I’ve been here since David’s been here, and I’ve watched him from just a player to a father to a married man to an All-Star. . .I’ve seen some changes in his life, and I’m really excited for him. But I’m really gonna miss him. I think he does wonders for this organization.

WFAN Mets reporter Ed Coleman: The night that his ($138 million) contract was finalized, he was at a fundraiser for (late Mets PR executive) Shannon Forde. He was always thinking of somebody else, and Shannon in particular I know he loved. He always knew what to do. He was always the guy in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately, not now, with the injuries. I told him the other day some of the things I appreciated about him was in tough times, when this team was not good, he was always there night in and night out. When other guys should have talked, he talked. Even when he didn’t have to be there, he was there.

Eli Manning: David and I got our first starts that same year really, ’04, and so keeping up with him all these years. Hate what he’s going through with some of these injuries these last years, but have so much respect for him as a player and just how he conducted himself on and off the field, what he was as a captain, and did everything the right way.

Jay Horowitz: He had visited a kid at Sloan-Kettering, 9 or 10-year-old kid, who passed away (cancer) a short time after he saw him. He called the parents, went to the funeral home, saw the family, no publicity, no nothing. He did it on his own, nobody knew. He’s probably done 20,30,40 of those things through the years. The couple of years that Shannon was sick, he just went out of his way to be nice to her and comfort the family, every charity event we had for her he was there.

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