After an injury-plagued season, weeks of speculation and an anonymous smear job in the local newspapers, Terry Collins announced that he was stepping down as manager of the New York Mets, and taking a position in the team’s front office. The 68-year-old has overseen a 70-91 club this season, one that entered 2017 with championship aspirations. According to reports, Collins lost the favor of some of the Mets’ front office decision makers (which makes his front office ascent seem strange) and players.

While this will go down as a Murphy’s Law season for Collins and the Mets, his tenure as the team’s manager was successful overall. The Mets hired Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson after the 2010 season and have since posted a sub-.500 record (550-582), but they went to the playoffs twice in a row in 2015-16 for just the second time in franchise history. The high point of the Collins era was the Mets’ NL pennant-winning season in 2015, when the Royals upended them in five games to claim a World Series title. He ends his time as the longest tenured manager in team history, and second in wins behind Davey Johnson.

Before taking the reins in New York, Collins managed the Astros from 1994-96 and the Angels between 1997-99. He mustered a plus-.500 record in Houston (224-197), the only place he achieved that feat. All told, Collins entered Sunday with a 995-1,016 mark across 13 seasons as a big league manager.

As is the case with Collins, Alderson is in a contract year. He’s expected to remain in his post, though, and will oversee the hiring of the Mets’ next manager. New York has already reached out to potential Collins replacements, and there have been reports linking the club to Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo and former or current Mets Robin Ventura, Alex Cora, Kevin Long, Bob Geren, and Chip Hale.

While Collins suffered an immense amount of scrutiny during his time as manager, particularly over the last year, he will go down as one of the best managers in the history of the team, right along with Johnson, Gil Hodges, and Bobby Valentine. He was someone who took over the team during the beginning of what everyone knew would be a long rebuilding process, and was able to guide it to one of the best runs in the history of the franchise in 2015. While much was made in the last week about him losing the locker room this season, when it mattered, his players never gave up for him. This was evident in 2015, when he was able to keep an offensively challenged and injury riddled club in contention up to the trade deadline, leading ownership to acquire Yeonis Cespedes, and it was evident last season in mid-August, after the team had fallen under .500 only to end the season with one of the major’s best records in the final six weeks, leading to a Wild Card berth.

He wasn’t perfect, he made his share of mistakes but he was the guy this team needed, and he was perfect mentor and father-figure for the plethora of prospects who became stars in 2015 when the team made the World Series in a year where no one thought it was possible. The anonymous sources who tried to smear him in the papers last week should be fired if they are ever revealed for a cowardly and absolutely needless move. It was apparent that, despite the good that had come from his time with the Mets, that time was over and the club simply needed a new leader. Nobody would dispute that. The fact that it happened shouldn’t take away from all this man has done for the franchise.

It’ll be interesting to see what his role in the front office will turn into, especially since the leaked reports stated that Collins had friction and heat from that same front office. He started out as minor league coordinator in 2010, and it make sense for him to fill that role again. Only time will tell if he has a meaningful role, or if it is simply a ceremonial position and title. But either way, this Met fan will never forget what Terry Collins did for this organization, and will be eternally grateful for all the good times his tenure brought. Thank you Terry Collins, Godspeed.

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