Finally, after all these years the Mets are going to have their legacy player, the homegrown star who finishes what he started in Queens and puts up numbers that will stand in the team record book for years, perhaps decades.

Surely, David Wright will need at least one championship over the next eight years, for which he will now be under contract to the tune of $138 million, to be appreciated in the manner of Tom Seaver, Keith Hernandez or Gary Carter.

But even those most revered of Mets weren't lifers. They either left early or arrived late, which is pretty much the story of this franchise for what is now more than half a century, and it has always been something of a sore spot among fans and even former players.

"I know the fans always wanted that guy,'' Darryl Strawberry was saying by phone Friday night, "and I'm thrilled that David is finally going to be that player.

"When I look back, I know it should have been me. I would have loved to finish what I started there. And I know (Jose) Reyes would have loved to do the same thing.

"But I'm glad they're doing the right thing with David. I've always said he reminds me of (Derek) Jeter, the way he plays and conducts himself, and the respect he has for the game. It would have been a sad day if they had let him walk.''