Bob Friend – His New York Mets Career 1966

Bob FriendBob Friend a former 4-time all-star pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates was purchased by the Mets from the New York Yankees on June 15, 1966.  Friend made his Met debut on June 18th against the Cincinnati Reds.  As the starting pitcher is threw 4 1/3 innings and earned a no-decision in the Mets 5-4 loss.   He would finish out the season appearing in 22 games, 12 as a starter. 

His first win as a Met came on June 24th against the Chicago Cubs, he pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed zero earned runs in the Mets 4-2 victory.  From July 17-27, he won three straight decisions including a complete game shutout against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the defending World Champions.

Friend finished out the season with a 5-8 record with a 4.40 ERA.  Following the season the Mets released Friend on October 17th ending his Major League career.

While with the Mets Friend wore number 20.

Bob Friend also played for the following teams:
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1952-1965
New York Yankees – 1966

 

 

Mike Birkbeck – His New York Mets Career 1992,1995

The Mets signed right-handed pitcher Mike Birkbeck as a free agent on January 2, 1992.  He pitched most of the 92 season in the minors with the Tidewater Tides before getting called up to New York at the end of August.  He made his Met debut on August 31 as their starting pitcher against the Atlanta Braves.  In what would be his only appearance of the season for the Mets he allowed 7 runs and 12 hits over 7 innings and suffered the loss.

Following the season Birkbeck left the Mets as a free agent only to return to New York in 1995.  After starting the season in the minors, he was called up in the middle of May.  He made four starts for the Mets and pitched reasonably well but failed to win a game and was released on June 13.  He finished with a 0-1 record and 1.63 ERA in 27 2/3 innings.

In five starts for the Mets over two seasons Birkbeck posted a 0-2 record with a 3.12 ERA.

While with the Mets Birkbeck wore number 49 in 1992 and number 36 in 1995.

Mike Birkbeck also played for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1986-1989.

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David Lamb – His New York Mets Career 2000

Utility infielder David Lamb was claimed off waivers by the Mets from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays prior to the 2000 season.  After starting the year with the Norfolk Tide, Lamb was promoted to the big club in July.  He made his Mets debut on July 5 as pinch hitter for Melvin Mora, for the record he struck out.  Lamb would appear in six more games for the Mets mainly as a defensive replacement before being sent back down to the minors at the end of July where he spent the remainder of the season.  Lamb did start one game during his brief tenure with the Mets on July 18 against the Toronto Blue Jays.  It was during this game where Lamb recorded his only hit with the Mets.

In seven games for the Mets Lamb batted .200 (1 for 5).  Following the season, he signed with the Anaheim Angels as a free agent.

While with the Mets Lamb wore number 26.

David Lamb also played for the following teams:
Tampa Bay Devil Rays – 1999
Minnesota Twins – 2002

 

 

 

 

 

Kurt Abbott – His New York Mets Career 2000

TKurt Abbotthe Mets signed utility player Kurt Abbott as a free agent prior the 2000 season.   Abbott, a seven year veteran, made his Mets debut on April 5, 2000 pinch hitting for pitcher Rich Rodriguez.  After popping up to shortstop, Abbott remained in the game playing centerfield and doubled during his second at bat.

Abbott’s time with the Mets very uneventful.  He would go on to appear in 79 games for the Mets, playing primarily shortstop.  He batted .217 with 6 home runs and 12 RBIs.   During the postseason, he went 1 for 13.  His only hit coming off of Andy Pettite during game 5 of the World Series.

2000 would be Abbott’s only season with the Mets. He was granted free agency and signed with the Atlanta Braves prior to the 2001 season, his last in the majors.

While with the Mets Abbott wore number 20.

Kurt Abbott also played for the following teams:
Oakland A’s – 1993,1998
Florida Marlins – 1994-1997
Colorado Rockies – 1998,1999
Atlanta Braves – 2001

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Abraham Nunez – His New York Mets Career 2008

Following his release by the Milwaukee Brewers the Mets signed Abraham Nunez on May 19, 2008.  The eleven-year veteran infielder made his Met debut on June 5 as a pinch hitter for pitcher Joe Smith and grounded out to shortstop.  Three days later he made another appearance as a pinch hitter flying out to shortstop for pitcher Claudio Vargas.  It would be his last appearance in a Mets uniform; in fact, it would be his last appearance in a Major League uniform.  Following the game, he was sent down to the minors where he finished out the season.

Nunez was granted free agency following the season and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks but did not make it back to the majors and retired following the 2009 season.

While with the Mets Nunez wore number 6.

Abraham Nunez also played for the following teams:
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1997-2004
St. Louis Cardinals – 2005
Philadelphia Phillies – 2006,2007

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Braden Looper – His New York Mets Career 2004-2005

Braden LooperThe New York Mets signed Braden Lopper to be their new closer prior to the 2004 season.  Looper was coming off a season in which he saved 28 games for the Florida Marlins and helped them win the World Series.

Braden Looper made his Met debut on opening day in 2004 pitching a scoreless 9th inning in the Mets 7-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.  From that point on he would go on to have his best season of his seven-year career converting 29 of 34 save opportunities to lead the team while posting a 2.70 ERA, though he did have a losing record at 2-5.

Looper started the 2005 season by blowing the save on Opening Day by giving up 2 home runs in the 9th inning.  It would be a sign of things to come for Looper in 2005.  Despite leading the team once again in saves with 28 he blew 8 games.  After blowing the game against the New York Yankees, in a game that would have given the Mets a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium, the fans started to turn on Looper.  With the constant barrage of boos Looper suffered through the season with a 4-7 record and 3.94 ERA

At the end of September, it was revealed that Looper was pitching most of the season with a blown AC Joint which would require surgery.  To his credit, he never used the injury as an excuse for his struggles. 

The Mets chose not to pick up Looper’s option following the 2005 season and he signed a three-year contract with the St Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals eventually transformed Looper into a starting pitcher.

His final numbers in his two seasons with the Mets were a 6-12 record with 57 saves and a 3.22 ERA.

While with the Mets Looper wore number 40.

Braden Looper also played for the following teams:
St. Louis Cardinals – 1998,2006-2008
Florida Marlins – 1999-2003
Milwaukee Brewers – 2009

 

 

John Olerud – His New York Mets Career 1997-1999

John Olerud.pngPrior to the 1997 season the Mets pulled off one of the greatest trades in franchise history when they sent pitcher Robert Person to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for first baseman John Olerud.  Though Olerud was a solid hitting first baseman he never developed into the power hitter the Blue Jays were hoping for and became expendable with the emergence of Carlos Delgado who was more of a power threat.

The Mets were more than happy to take John Olerud off the Blue Jays hands and Met fans were glad they did.  Olerud quickly became a fan favorite due to his quiet demeanor and steady bat while also anchoring the Mets infield with solid defense.

In 1997, his first season in New York, Olerud hit .294 with 22 home runs and a team best 102 RBIs.  He also became the seventh player in franchise history to hit for the cycle when he accomplished the feat on September 11.

In 1998 Olerud set the Mets single season record with a .354 batting average as well as with a .447 on-base percentage.  Also for the second straight season Olerud led the Mets in RBIs, this time with 93. 

In 1999 John Olerud hit .298 with 19 home runs and 96 RBIs as the Mets reached the postseason for the first time since 1988.   A feat that happened thanks in large part to a clutch home run by Olerud during the stretch run.  On September 29 with the Mets in the midst of a seven game losing streak and on the verge of falling out of the race for the National League Wild Card, John Olerud saved the Met season by hitting a grand slam off Greg Maddux in the bottom of the 4th inning.  It was the Mets seventh consecutive hit of the inning and broke the game open.  The Mets went on to win the game 9-2 and three of their next four games to force a one game playoff with the Cincinnati Reds. The Mets won the playoff game 5-0 to take the National League Wild Card. 

In 1999 John Olerud also anchored an infield many considered to be the best of all-time.  Olerud was joined by 2B Edgardo Alfonzo, SS Rey Ordonez and 3B Robin Ventura.  The quartet committed just 27 errors during the entire season.

In the postseason Olerud homered off Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first game of the NLDS.  He would drive in six runs and hit .438 as the Mets won the series in four games to advance to the NLCS.

In the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves he hit another two home runs and once again drove in six runs.  He also got the game winning hit in game four, the Mets first win of the series.  Unfortunately, the Mets lost the series in six games.  In ten postseason games Olerud hit .348 with three home runs and twelve RBIs.

Unfortunately for the Mets 1999 would be Olerud’s last season in New York.  In order to be closer to his family he decided to sign with the Seattle Mariners as a free agent.

In his three seasons with the Mets Olerud hit .315 with 63 home runs and 291 RBIs. 

While with the Mets Olerud wore number 5.

John Olerud also played for the following teams:
Toronto Blue Jays – 1989-1996
Seattle Mariners – 2000-2004
New York Yankees – 2004
Boston Red Sox – 2005

 

 

Brad Clontz – His New York Mets Career 1998

Right-handed pitcher Brad Clontz was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers along with Hideo Nomo on June 4, 1998 in exchange for Dave Mlicki and Greg McMichael.  He made his Met debut the next day pitching an inning of scoreless relief in the Mets 9-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox.  Following the game he was farmed out to the minors where he finished out the season pitching for the Norfolk Tides.  He returned to the Mets in September and made one more appearance.  On September 8 he pitched two innings and allowed three runs in the Mets 16-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Following the season Clontz signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox but his place in Mets history was not quite over.  On the last day of the 1999 season the Mets were facing the Pittsburgh Pirates and needed a win to at least force a one game playoff for the National League Wild Card.  In the bottom of the 9th inning with the score tied and the bases loaded Clontz, who was now a member of the Pirates, was brought in to face Mike Piazza.  Clontz’s first pitch was wild and Melvin Mora ran home to score the winning run.   The next day the Mets defeated the Cincinnati Reds to clinch the Wild Card and advance to the postseason for the first time since 1988.

While with the Mets Clontz wore number 49.

Brad Clontz also played for the following teams:
Atlanta Braves – 1995-1997
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1998
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1999,2000

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Trot Nixon – His New York Mets Career 2008

Trot NixonA former number one draft choice of the Boston Red Sox, Trot Nixon spent ten seasons in Beantown helping the Red Sox end their 87 year championship draught in 2004.  In 2008, he was playing in the Arizona Diamondbacks minor league system when the Mets came knocking on the door looking for an outfielder to fill in for the injured Moises Alou and acquired Nixon on June 13,2008.  Two days later he got off to a strong start in his Met debut going 2 for 3 against the Texas Rangers, but the Mets would lose 8-7.  But Nixon would struggle with the Mets hitting just .171 in 11 games before being placed on the disabled list with a hernia. He would spend the remainder of the season on the disabled list. Following the season he signed as a free agent with the Milwaukee Brewers. 

Trot Nixon did hit one home run while with the Mets on June 20 in the Mets 7-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies in Denver.

While with the Mets Nixon wore number 6.

Trot Nixon also played for the following teams:
Boston Red Sox – 1996, 1998-2008
Cleveland Indians – 2007

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Carlos Mendoza – His New York Mets Career 1997

Carlos mensozaThe Mets signed outfielder Carlos Mendoza as an amateur free agent on November 10, 1992 but he wouldn’t appear in a Met uniform until 1997.  He made his Major League debut on September 3, 1997 as a pinch runner for Butch Huskey and finished out the season appearing in 15 games, mainly as a pinch hitter and pinch runner.  He hit .250 (3 for 12) with 1 RBI.  His only RBI occurred as a result of a hit by pitch during his first career start on September 24.

Following the season Mendoza was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 1997 expansion draft.

While with the Mets Mendoza wore number 6.

Carlos Mendoza also played for the Colorado Rockies in 2000.

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