Fred Lewis – His New York Mets Career 2012

Fred LewisThe Mets signed Fred Lewis, a 6-year veteran outfielder, to a minor league contract on April 25, 2012.  He spent the season playing for the Mets Triple A affiliate the Buffalo Bisons, where he hit .294, before joining the Mets when rosters expanded in September.  He made his Met debut on September 4 against the St. Louis Cardinals when he pinch hit for catcher Kelly Shoppach; he grounded out to third base.  Over the final month of the seasons he appeared in 18 games, 3 as a starter, and hit just .150 (3 for 18).   His first hit as a Met cane on September 20, a 6th inning single in a game the Mets would lose 16-1 to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Following the season, he was granted free agency but did not sign with a Major League team, opting instead to play in Japan.

While with the Mets Lewis wore number 15.

Fred Lewis also played for the following teams:
San Francisco Giants – 2006-2009
Toronto Blue Jays – 2010
Cincinnati Reds – 2011

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J. C. Martin His New York Mets Career 1968,1969

JC MartinThe Mets acquired catcher J.C. Martin from the Chicago White Sox along with minor leaguer Billy Southworth in exchange for Ken Boyer and Sandy Alomar on November 27, 1967. Martin made his Met debut as their Opening Day catcher in 1968 against the San Francisco Giants.  He went 1 for 4 as the Mets lost 4-3.  He also fractured his finger which forced him to miss a month of playing time.  When he returned to action in May he served as the backup catcher to Jerry Grote.  He appeared in 78 games and batted .225 with 3 home runs and 31 RBIs. 

Martin returned in 1969 and served in the same capacity as 1968.  In the Mets Miracle Word Championship season, he hit .209 with 4 home runs and 21 RBIs. 

In the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves he pinch hit twice. In game number one he singled and drove in two runs to cap a 5 run rally in the 8th inning to help solidify the Mets 9-5 win. 

Martin made one pinch hit appearance in the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.  His one at bat was one of the most memorable and controversial plays of the series.  It came in the 10th inning of game 4 with the game tied at 1.  With Rod Gaspar on second base representing the winning run Martin laid down on a perfect sacrifice bunt.  As he was running to first Oriole pitcher Pete Richert’s throw hit Martin on the left wrist and the ball ricocheted into foul territory.  Gaspar rounded third and scored the winning run.  The Orioles argued that Martin was out of the base line, but the umpires disagreed, and the Mets had a 3 games to 1 lead in the series.  The Mets won the next day and won the first World Series title in franchise history.

Martin’s bunt in the World Series turned out to be his last appearance in a Mets uniform as he was traded to the Chicago Cubs in the offseason in exchange for minor leaguer Randy Bobb.

In 144 games over two seasons Martin hit .219 with 7 home runs and 52 RBIs.

While with the Mets Martin wore number 9.

J.C, Martin also played for the following teams:
Chicago White Sox – 1959-1967
Chicago Cubs – 1970-1972

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Joe Sambito – His New York Mets Career 1985

Joe SambitoFormer All-Star and Brooklyn native Joe Sambito was signed as a free agent on   April 26,1985. The left-hander made his Met debut on April 28 pitching an inning of scoreless relief in the Mets 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would go on to pitch in 7 more games for the Mets before being demoted to the minors in June. At the time of his demotion his ERA was 12.66. His last appearance came in the worst loss in Met history, a 26-7 loss to the Phillies on June 11. He pitched 3 innings and gave up 10 runs 8 of which were earned.

Sambito pitched in 19 games for AAA Tidewater but posted a 0-3 record with a 4.55 ERA and was released by the Mets in August. He returned to the majors in 1986 with the Boston Red Sox and would make two appearances against the Mets in the World Series.

While with the Mets Sambito wore number 35.

Joe Sambito also played for the following teams:
Houston Astros – 1976-1982, 1984
Boston Red Sox – 1986,1987

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Rusty Staub – His New York Mets Career 1972-1975, 1981-1985

Rusty StaubOne of the most popular players in franchise history Rusty Staub had two successful stints with the Mets.  The Mets first acquired Staub from the Montreal Expos on April 6, 1972 in exchange for Tim Foli, Mike Jorgensen and Ken Singleton.

Staub singled in his first at bat as a Met on April 15, 1972 but injuries limited him to just 66 games for the season. But he did manage to hit .293 with 9 home runs and 38 RBIs. In 1973 he played an integral part as the Mets won the National League Eastern Division by hitting .279 with 15 home runs and 76 RBIs, the most on the team, while also setting a franchise record with 36 doubles. But it was in the postseason where he cemented his legacy in Met history. In the NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds Staub hit 3 home runs, 2 in game 3game 3, and drove in 5 runs as the Mets upset the Reds in 5 games to win the National League Pennant. Unfortunately, he also injured his shoulder when he crashed into the outfield wall. The injury hampered his ability to throw but not his ability to hit. In the World Series against the Oakland A’s, Staub was the Mets leading hitter with a .423 average and also led the team with 6 RBIs. In game 4 he hit a home run and drove in 5 runs as the Mets won 6-1 to even the series at 2 games apiece.  Unfortunately, it was not enough as the Mets lost the series in 7 games.

Rusty had a very similar season in 1974 once again leading the team in RBIs with 78 but hit just .258. 1975 turned out to be his best season with the Mets, he set a franchise record with 105 RBIs, a record that would stand for 15 seasons until Darryl Strawberry broke it with 108 in 1990.

Despite his success the Mets traded Staub to the Detroit Tigers in the offseason along with minor leaguer Bill Laxton in exchange for pitcher Mickey Lolich and outfielder Billy Baldwin.

It was a trade the Mets would come to regret as Staub went on to become one of the most productive run producers while Lolich had a mediocre season for the Mets and then retired.

Rusty returned to the Mets in 1981 as a free agent and would play 5 seasons with the Mets before retiring after the 1985 season.  In his first season back with the Mets Staub played first base and hit .317 with 5 home runs and 21 RBIs.  In 1982 he served as a player/coach and split time between the outfield and first base but hit just .242 with 3 home runs and 28 RBIs. 

From 1983 to 1985 Staub served primarily as a pinch hitter and became the most preeminent pinch hitter in the league.

In 1983 he tied the Major League record for most consecutive pinch hits with eight. He also tied the single season Major League record with 25 pinch hit RBI’s. In 1984 Staub hit just one home run, but that one home run put him in exclusive company as he became just the second player to hit a home run before his 20th birthday and after his 40th birthday, the other player was Hall of Famer ty Cobb.

Rusty Staub retired following the 1985 season. In his 9 seasons with the Mets Staub appeared in 942 games and hit .276 with 75 home runs and 399 RBIs.  He was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1986.

Following his playing career Staub spent 10 seasons in the Mets broadcast booth

While with the Mets Staub wore number 4 from 1972 to 1975 and number 10 from 1981 to 1985.

Rusty Staub also played for the following teams:
Houston Astros – 1963-1968
Montreal Expos – 1969-1971, 1979
Detroit Tigers – 1976-1979
Texas Rangers – 1980

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Mike Baxter – His New York Mets Career 2011-2013

Mike BaxterThe Mets claimed outfielder Mike Baxter off waivers from the San Diego Padres on July 22, 2011.  It was a dream come true for Baxter. As a native of Whitestone, Queens, a long fly ball from Shea Stadium, Baxter grew up a diehard Met fan and dreamed of one day playing for them.  He made his Met debut on August 8 against the San Diego Padres when he pinch hit for pitcher Ryota Igarashi.  He doubled and drove in a run to bring the Mets to within three runs in a game they would win 9-8.  Baxter would appear in 22 games for the Mets over the remainder of the season and batted .235 with 1 home run and 4 RBIs.  His one home run came on the last day of the season, a two-run shot in the 6th inning that helped cement the Mets 3-0 vctory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Baxter made the Mets roster out of Spring Training in 2012 and would appear 89 games, mainly as a pinch hitter.  He batted .263 with 3 home runs and 17 RBIs.  But it was his actions on June 1 that would cement his legacy in Mets history.  It was on that day that Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in franchise history.  But if not for Baxter it might not have occurred.  In the 7th inning Baxter preserved the no-hitter by making a spectacular catch  against the wall.  Unfortunately for Baxter he injured his shoulder on the play and landed on the disabled list for two months.  He returned on July 30.  On August 4 he set a franchise record with 5 walks in a game.

Baxter returned in 2013 and again served mainly as a pinch hitter.  He appeared in 74 games but batted just .189 with 4 RBIs.  The highlight of his season came on May 7 when he hit a pinch hit walk off single to give the Mets a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

The Mets placed Baxter on waivers following the season and he was picked up by the Los Angeles Dodgers.  In 185 career games for the Mets Baxter batted .232 with 4 home runs and 25 RBIs.

While with the Mets Baxter wore number 23.

Mike Baxter also played for the following teams:
San Diego Padres – 2010
Los Angeles Dodgers – 2014
Chicago Cubs – 2015

 

Baxter no hitter.png
Mike Baxter’s catch against the wall preserves Johan Santana’s no-hitter

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Chris Donnels – His New York Mets Career 1991,1992

Chris DonnelsDrafted by the Mets in the 1st round, 24th overall, in the 1987 amateur draft Chris Donnels made his Major League debut with the Mets on May 7, 1991 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  As the starting 3rd baseman he singled and drove in a run in his first at-bat as the Mets won 6-5.  He spent a month with the Mets appearing in 8 games before being sent back to the minors.  He returned at the end of August and finished out the season in New York, Playing both 1st and 3rd base he appeared in a total of 37 games and batted .225 with 5 RBIs.

In 1992 he shuffled back and forth between New York and the Tidewater Tides, the Mets top farm club.  He appeared in 45 games for the Mets and batted just .174 with 6 RBIs while playing both 3rd and 2nd base.

Following the season Donnels was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft.  In 82 games over 2 seasons he batted .195 with 11 RBIs.

While with the Mets Donnels wore number 23.

Chris Donnels also played for the following teams:
Houston Astros – 1993-1995
Boston Red Sox – 1995
Los Angeles Dodgers – 2000,2001
Arizona Diamondbacks – 2002

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Brett Butler – His New York Mets Career 1995

Brett ButlerThe Mets signed veteran leadoff hitter Brett Butler as a free agent on April 11, 1995.  He made his Met debut as their centerfielder and leadoff hitter on Opening Day against the Colorado Rockies. He singled in his first at bat and finished the game 2 for 4 as the Mets lost 11-9 in 14 innings.  He got off to a fast start hitting safely in his first six games and 19 of his first 25.  For the week ending July 23rd he was named the National League Player of the Week when he hit .576 (19 for 33) including three straight four hit games.  He also hit his only home run of the season during the week, a 2-run shot on July 20 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

With the Mets going no where in the standings they decided to trade Butler to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team he had played for from 1991-1994, on August 18 for a couple of minor leaguers.  The Mets were playing the Dodgers that day, so Butler just walked across the field to join his new team.  Butler appeared in 90 games for the Mets and batted .311 with 1 home run and 25 RBIs

Despite only playing in 90 games, Butler led the Met in triples with 7 and stolen bases with 21.

While with the Mets Butler wore number 22.

Brett Butler also played for the following teams:
Atlanta Braves – 1981-1983
Cleveland Indians – 1984-1987
San Francisco Giants – 1988-1990
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1991-1997
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Jeff Tam – His New York Mets Career 1998,1999

Jeff TamAfter spending 5 seasons in the minors right-handed pitcher Jeff Tam made his Major League debut with the Mets on June 30, 1998.  He pitched an inning of scoreless relief in the Mets 6-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.  He appeared in 15 games, all out of the bullpen, and posted a 1-1 record with a 6.28 ERA in 14 1/3 innings.  His only win came on July 12, 1998 against the Montreal Expos.  He pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed no runs while striking out 1.

Tam started the 1999 season in the minors before being placed on waivers where he was picked up by the Cleveland Indians on June 18.  He appeared in 1 game for the Indians before once again being placed on waivers.  The Mets reclaimed him on August 11 and he went on to appear in 9 games. He finished the season with a 0-0 record and 3.18 ERA.

Following the season, he was granted free agency and he signed with the Oakland A’s.  In 24 games over 2 seasons he posted a 1-1 record with a 1.91 ERA.

While with the Mets Tam wore number 36 in 1998 and number 38 in 1999.

Jeff Tam also played for the following teams:
Cleveland Indians – 1999
Oakland A’s – 2000-2002
Toronto Blue Jays – 2003

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Gil Hodges – His New York Mets Playing Career 1962-1963

Gil HodgesWhen the Mets were looking to fill their roster at the 1961 expansion draft instead of going for youth they decided to select as many former stars as possible, especially those with ties to their forbearers the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants. One of the players selected was first baseman Gil Hodges who was one of the most popular players in Brooklyn history.

Hodges was penciled in as the Mets Opening Day first baseman in 1962 and fittingly enough he hit the first home run in franchise history. But a bum knee limited him to just 54 games for the season. He hit .252 with 9 home runs and 17 RBIs. The only other highlight of his season occurred on May 12 when he hit a walk off home run during the second game of a doubleheader against the Milwaukee Brewers. It was memorable day for the Mets in an otherwise dismal season, as Hobie Landrith won the first game of the doubleheader with a walk-off home run of his own.

Hodges returned for the 1963 season but was traded to the Washington Senators for Jimmy Piersall after just 11 games where he became the Senators new manager. At the time of the trade Hodges was hitting just .227.

In 65 gamed for the Mets over two seasons, Hodges hit .248 with 9 home runs and 20 RBIs.

Hodges would return to the Mets in 1968 as their manager and would lead them to their first World Series title in 1969.

While with the Mets Hodges wore number 14.

Gil Hodges also played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1943 and from 1947-1957 and the Los Angeles Dodges from 1958-1961

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Takashi Kashiwada – His New York Mets Career 1997

Takashi KashiwadaWhile the rest of baseball was fawning over the Yankees signing of Japanese fireballer Hideki Irabu the New York Mets quietly purchased left-handed pitcher Takashi Kashiwada from the Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese Central League on April 3, 1997. After spending a month in the minors he made his Major League debut on May 1 becoming the first Japanese born player to play for the Mets.  He pitched an inning of scoreless relief in their 7-3 loss to the San Diego Padres. He would spend the remainder of the season pitching exclusively out of the bullpen. On May 18 he earned his first win when he pitched 1 2/3 innings against the Colorado Rockies. Kashiwada would appear in 35 games posting a 3-1 record with a 4.31 ERA.

The Mets released Kashiwada following the season and he returned to Japan and pitched another 7 seasons for the Giants.

While with the Mets Kashiwada wore number 18.

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