Jerry DiPoto – His New York Mets Career 1995,1996

Jerry DiPotoThe New York Mets acquired Jerry DiPoto, a New Jersey native, along with Dave Mlicki, Paul Byrd and Jesus Azuaje from the Cleveland Indians for Jeromy Burnitz and Joe Roa on November 18, 1994. DiPoto, a right handed middle reliever, had a fine rookie season with the Indians in 1993 (4-4 with 11 saves and a 2.40 ERA) but was coming off an injury plagued season in 1994 where he appeared in only seven games and posted an astronomical 8.04 ERA.

The Mets used him as a middle reliever in 1995 where he initially struggled, posting an 0-3 record with a 6.91 ERA in the first three months of the season. But starting in July he began to settle down winning three games during the month. By the end of the season DiPoto had lowered his ERA to 3.78 while posting a 4-6 record with two saves in 58 games, the most on the staff.

Jerry DiPoto returned to the Mets in 1996, once again primarily used as a middle reliever. After getting the win on opening day DiPoto went on to become one of the Mets most effective relievers finishing the seasons with a 7-2 record and 4.19 ERA.

Looking to bolster their starting rotation the Mets traded DiPoto to the Colorado Rockies in the off-season in exchange for Armando Reynosa, who had won 30 games for the Rockies over four seasons. In his two seasons with the Mets Jerry DiPoto pitched in 115 games posting an 11-8 record with a 3.98 ERA.

While with the Mets DiPoto wore number 45.

Jerry DiPoto also played for the following teams:
Cleveland Indians – 1993,1994
Colorado Rockies – 1997-2000

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Bill Latham – His New York Mets Career 1985

Bill LathamThe New York Mets signed Bill Latham, a left-handed pitcher, as an amateur free agent in 1981. Latham worked his way through the Mets minor league system for four years before making his Major League debut on April 15, 1985. He started the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates but lasted just 3 2/3 innings allowing five hits and three runs and suffered the loss. He would appear in one more game, pitching two innings of scoreless relief against the Phillies on April 20th before being shipped back to the minors.

Bill Latham was brought back up to the Mets on July 27th to pitch the second game of a doubleheader against the Houston Astros. He pitched effectively over 7 1/3 innings allowing just three runs to earn his first Major League victory. He even earned his first major league base hit, a second inning single which also drove in the Mets second run of the game. After the game he was shipped back to the minors.

Latham was brought back to New York in September to help the Mets in their playoff push against the St Louis Cardinals. He pitched three games out of the bullpen, losing one, before being given the ball to start the final game of the season. He pitched five innings and lost the game 2-1.

He finished the season with a 1-3 record and 3.97 ERA.

Latham was traded to the Minnesota Twins prior to the 1986 season. He spent one season with the Twins splitting time between the majors and the minors. The Twins traded him back to the Mets in May of 1987. He spent two seasons in the minors but did not make it back to the majors and retired following the 1988 season.

While with the Mets Latham wore number 44 and number 33.

Bill Latham also played for the Minnesota Twins in 1986.

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Dave Magadan – His New York Mets Career 1986-1992

Dave MagadanThe Mets drafted Dave Magadan in the second round of the 1983 amateur draft. A former college player of the year at the University of Alabama Magadan worked his way through the Mets minor league system. He hit .300 at every stop but with very little power.

Magadan made his Major League debut as a September call up in 1986. He singled in his first at bat as a pinch hitter on September 7. But it was his performance on September 17 which really endeared him to Met fans. On that night the Mets were in position to clinch the National League Eastern Division, but their All-star first baseman Keith Hernandez was sick and unable to play. Manager Davey Johnson inserted Dave Magadan into the lineup to replace Hernandez and in his first start of his career Magadan excited the crowd by going 3 for 4 with two RBIs as the Mets won the game 4-2 to clinch the division. During the game many Met fans started to jokingly chant “Keith who.” Magadan finished the season hitting .444 (8 for 18) in ten games.

Magadan played the entire 1987 with the Mets appearing in 85 games. He was used as a part time player and pinch hitter, splitting time between first and third base. Showing incredible discipline at the plate Magadan hit .318 with 3 home runs and 24 RBIs. He served in pretty much the same role over the next two seasons, but his average dipped below .300 both times. He hit .277 in 1988 and .286 in 1989.

In 1990 Magadan became the Mets everyday first baseman and enjoyed his finest season as a Met. His .328 average led the team and was good enough for third highest in the National League. He also drove in 72 runs. But his average slipped to .258 in 1991 as well as his run production, he drove in just 51 runs. He raised his average to .283 in 1992 but only drove in 28 runs.

Following the season, the Mets brass decided they wanted more power out of their first baseman and let Magadan leave as a free agent. He signed with the Florida Marlins.

In his seven seasons with the Mets Magadan hit .292 with 21 home runs and 254 RBIs.

While with the Mets Magadan wore number 29 from 1986-1989 and in 1992.  He wore number 10 from 1990-1991.

Dave Magadan also played for the following teams:
Seattle Mariners – 1993
Florida Marlins – 1993,1994
Houston Astros – 199
Chicago Cubs – 1996
Oakland A’s – 1997,1998
San Diego Padres – 1999-2001
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Willie Harris – His New York Mets Career 2011

Willie HarrisThe Mets signed 10-year veteran Willie Harris as a free agent prior to the 2011 season. The plan was to use him mainly as a pinch hitter and back up outfielder but due to the rash of injuries the Mets suffered during the season, he saw considerably more playing time. After making his Met debut as their opening day leftfielder, a game in which he went 2 for 4 and scored the Mets first run of the season, he went on to appear in a team best 126 games playing all three outfield positions as well as 2nd and 3rd base. He finished the seasons with 2 home runs, 23 RBIs and a .246 batting average,

Following the 2011 season he was granted free agency and signed with the Cincinnati Reds.

While with the Mets Harris wore number 22.

Willie Harris also played for the following teams:
Baltimore Orioles – 2001
Chicago White Sox – 2002-2005
Boston Red Sox – 2006
Atlanta Braves – 2007
Washington Nationals – 2008-2010
Cincinnati Reds – 2011
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Matt Wise – His New York Mets Career 2008

Matt WiseThe Mets signed right-handed pitcher Matt Wise as a free agent prior to the 2008 to be a member of their bullpen. But unfortunately, what the Mets got was damaged goods. After suffering the loss in just his second game as a Met on April 1st Matt Wise was placed on the disabled list with stiffness in his pitching arm. He returned in the middle of May but continued to struggle and was once again placed on the DL this time with tendonitis in his rotator cuff. The injury not only shut Wise down for the remainder of the season it also ended his career. In 8 games for the Mets, Matt Wise posted a 0-1 record with a 6.43 ERA.

While with the Mets Wise wore number 38.

Matt Wise also played for the following teams:
Atlanta Braves – 2000-2002
Milwaukee Brewers – 2004-2007

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Bruce Chen – His New York Mets Career 2001,2002

Bruce ChenThe Mets acquired left-handed pitcher Bruce Chen from the Philadelphia Phillies on July 27, 2001 along with Adam Walker in exchange for Turk Wendell and Dennis Cook. He made his Mets debut on August 1; he allowed 2 runs and 2 hits over 6 innings but earned a no decision in the Mets 8-2 win over the Houston Astros. Chen started a total of 11 games for the Mets over the remainder of the season and posted a 3-2 record with a 4.68 ERA.

Chen returned in 2002 but appeared in just one game, throwing 2/3 innings of relief against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 4 before the Mets traded him to the Montreal Expos on April 5. He was traded along with Dicky Gonzalez and Luis Figueroa in exchange for Scott Strickland, Matt Watson and Phillip Seibel.

While with the Mets Chen wore number 32.

Bruce Chen also played for the following teams:
Atlanta Braves – 1998-2000
Philadelphia Phillies – 2000,2001
Montreal Expos – 2002
Cincinnati Reds – 2002
Boston Red Sox – 2003
Houston Astros – 2003
Baltimore Orioles – 2004-2006
Texas Rangers – 2007
Kanas City Royals – 2009-2014
Cleveland Indians – 2015

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Wally Backman – His New York Mets Career 1980-1988

Wally BackmanA hardnosed gritty player Wally Backman symbolized the feistiness and tenacity of the great Met teams of the mid 80’s especially the 1986 World Championship team.

Wally Backman started his Met career as a September call up in 1980 and would spend parts of the next four seasons with the Mets. During that span he showed signs of promise but could never stick with the big club, injuries also played a factor. When not playing in New York Backman spent much of the time with the Mets Triple A affiliate the Tidewater Tides. It was with Tidewater where Backman caught the eye of manager Davey Johnson who liked his style of play. When Johnson was named the manager of the Mets in 1984, he immediately made Backman his starting second baseman and leadoff hitter. He became a fan favorite due to his hardnosed style of play, leading the league in dirty uniforms. Backman would hit .280 while also stealing 32 bases as the Mets surprised many and won 90 games for their first winning season since 1976.

In 1985 he hit .273 with 1 home run and 38 RBIs and led the team in stolen bases with 30. During the month of August, he enjoyed a 14-game hitting streak.

In 1986, Backman’s struggles against left-handed pitching forced Davey Johnson to platoon him with Tim Teufel. But he still managed to hit a career best .320 while batting in the number two spot in the lineup setting the table for the Mets big hitters, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and Darryl Strawberry, as the Mets ran away and hid in the National League and won the World Series.

During the 1986 League Championship Series, he hit just 0.238 but was in the middle of some of the most pivotal moments.  In game 3, with the Mets trailing 5-4 entering the 9th inning Backman led off with a bunt single.  He beat out the bunt when he lunged past Astros first baseman Glenn Davis.  Two batters later he scored on Len Dyktra’s walk off home run.  In game 5 with the game tied in the 12rh inning, he led off with an infield single and would eventually come around to score the winning run on Gary Carter’s single.  During the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, he hit .333 (6 for 18) and drove in one run.

Backman’s production began to fall off in 1987 and by 1988 and with the emergence of Gregg Jefferies and Keith Miller from the Mets minor league system he became expendable. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins following the 1988 season in exchange for three minor league prospects.

Backman hit .283 over his 9-year career with the Mets, playing in 765 games.

In 2010, Wally Backman returned to the Mets organization as manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones, their single A minor league affiliate.  He went on to manage their double A affiliate the Binghamton Mets.  He also managed their Triple A affiliate in both Buffalo and Las Vegas from 2012-2016.

While with the Mets Backman wore number 28 in 1980 and number 6 from 1981-1988.

Wally Backman also played for the following teams:
Minnesota Twins – 1989
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1990
Philadelphia Phillies – 1991,1992
Seattle Mariners – 1993

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Gary Sheffield – His New York Mets Career 2009

Gary SheffieldGary Sheffield, the nephew of Mets great Dwight Gooden, was nearing the end of his 21-year career when the Mets signed him as a free agent following his release from the Detroit Tigers during spring training in 2009. The Mets had planned to use Sheffield mainly as a pinch hitter, but he would become more of an everyday player due to various injuries to members of the Mets outfield.

After going hitless in his first seven at-bats, Sheffield’s first hit as Met turned out to be an historic one. On April 17 his pinch-hit home run against the Milwaukee Brewers not only tied the game at four, it was also the 500th of his career. Sheffield became the 25th player in Major League history to reach 500 home runs and the first player to do so in a Mets uniform.

Sheffield would finish out the season appearing in 100 games for the Mets. He hit .276 with 10 home runs and 43 RBIs.

Sheffield was granted free agency following the season but was not picked up by another team thus ending his 22-year career.

While with the Mets Sheffield wore number 10.

Gary Sheffield also played for the following teams:
Milwaukee Brewers – 1988-1991
San Diego Padres – 1992,1993
Florida Marlins – 1993-1998
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1998-2001
Atlanta Braves – 2002,2003
New York Yankees – 2004-2006
Detroit Tigers – 2007,2008
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Kevin Roberson – His New York Mets Career 1996

Kevin RobersonThe Mets signed free agent outfielder Kevin Roberson on November 12, 1995. He made their roster out of spring training in 1996 and singled in his first plate appearance as pinch hitter on April 3 in the Mets 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Roberson would appear in 27 games for the Mets, mainly as a pinch hitter, before being sent down to the minors at the end of May. At the time of his demotion he was hitting .222 with 3 home runs and 9 RBIs. The highlight of his brief tenure with the Mets occurred on April 27 when he hit a 3 run home run in the top of the 9th inning to give the Mets a 7-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Following the season Roberson signed with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent.

While with the Mets Roberson wore number 18.

Kevin Roberson also played for the Chicago Cubs from 1993-1995.

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Kevin Lomon – His New York Mets Career 1995

The Mets drafted right-handed pitcher Kevin Lomon, a career minor leaguer, from the Atlanta Braves in the 1994 rule 5 draft. He made his Mets as well as his Major League debut on April 27, 1995, he pitched the final 2 2/3 innings and was the losing pitcher in the 8-7 defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies. Lomon would pitch in five more games for the Mets but with very little success. In 9 1/3 innings pitched he allowed 17 hits and 7 earned runs and posted a 6.75 ERA. He was returned to the Atlanta Braves on May 30.

Lomon would have a brief stint with the Atlanta Braves in 1996, but would spend the rest of his professional career toiling around the minors before retiring after the 2001 season.

While with the Mets Lomon wore number 44.

Kevin Lomon also played for the Atlanta Braves in 1996.

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