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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Mauro Gozzo – His New York Mets Career 1993,1994

Mauro GozzoThe Mets initially drafted right-handed pitcher Mauro Gozzo in the 13th round of the 1984 amateur draft.  After spending three seasons in the minors he was traded along with Ed Hearn and Rick Anderson to the Kansas City Royal in exchange for David Cone and Chris Jelic.  After bouncing around both the majors and minors for five years he returned to the Mets as a free agent, signing with them on December 22, 1992.  After spending the 1993 season in the minors Gozzo made his Met debut on September 6, 1993 against the Houston Astros.  He pitched the 8th inning and allowed 2 hits and 3 runs in the Mets 7-2 defeat.  Gozzo appeared in 10 games for the Mets over the last month of the season and posted a 0-1 record with one save and a 2.57 ERA.   His one save came on September 18 when he pitched a scoreless 10th inning in the Mets 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves. 

Gozzo started the 1994 season in the minors before joining New York at the end of April.  He would appear in 23 games for the Mets, 8 as a starter, posting a 3-5 record with a 4.83 ERA.  He earned his first win as a Met on May 8 against the St. Louis Cardinals when as the starter he allowed 2 hits and 2 runs over 7 innings as the Mets won 3-2.  He also won his next start against the Atlanta Braves on May 14.  As a starter Gozzo went 2-3

Following the season Gozzo was granted free agency ending his Met career.  In 33 career games for the Mets Gozzo posted a 3-6 record with 1 save and a 4.45 ERA.

While with the Mets Gozzo wore number 45.

Mauro Gozzo also played for the following teams:
Toronto Blue Jays – 1989
Cleveland Indians – 1990,1991
Minnesota Twins – 1992

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Pat Howell – His New York Mets Career 1992

Pat HowellPat Howell toiled in the Mets minor league system for five seasons before finally getting the call to the Majors in 1992. He made his Major League debut on July 10 against the Houston Astros as the Mets leadoff hitter and centerfielder. He singled in his first at bat and immediately stole second base. It looked like the Mets had found their new catalyst at the top of their lineup. Unfortunately, from that point on, despite being one heck of a defensive centerfielder, Howell struggled at the plate. He appeared in 31 games for the Mets but hit just .187 and drove in only one run.

Following the season, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Darren Reed. His one season with the Mets would be his only season in the majors.

While with the Mets Howell wore number 38.

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Tito Navarro – His New York Mets Career 1993

Tito NavarroThe Mets signed Tito Navarro as an amateur free agent on September 2, 1987 at the tender age of 16.  After spending six seasons in the minors Navarro finally made it to the show as a September call up in 1993.  He made his Major League debut on September 6th against the Houston Astros as the Mets starting shortstop and leadoff hitter.  He went 0 for 5 in the Mets 7-2 defeat.  He appeared in 12 games over the last month of the season, mainly as a pinch hitter, and batted .059 (1 for 17).   His first and only Major League hit came on September 18th against the Atlanta Braves.  His pinch hit single in the top of the 10th inning drove in the go ahead run in a game the Mets would win 3-2.

Navarro spent the entre 1994 season in the minors before retiring.

While with the Mets Navarro wore number 36.

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Tom Parsons – His New York Mets Career 1964,1965

Tom ParsonsThe Mets purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Tom Parsons from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the end of the 1964 season. He appeared in four games for the Mets during the month of September two as a starter and two out of the bullpen. He posted a 1-2 record with a 4.19 ERA. His one victory came on the last day of the season when he pitched 5 1/3 innings of relief in the Mets 15-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals

Parsons spent the entire 1965 season with the Mets splitting time between the starting rotation and the bullpen but posted a miserable 1-10 record with 4.67 ERA. His one victory was a complete game six hit shutout against the Chicago Cubs on July 5.

Following the season, the Mets traded Parsons to the Houston Astros for catcher Jerry Grote. In 39 appearances for the Mets Tom Parsons posted a 2 -12 record with 4.58 ERA.

While with the Mets Parsons wore number 27.

Tom Parsons also played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1963.

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Josias Manzanillo – His New York Mets Career 1993-1995,1999

Josias ManzanilloThe Mets obtained right-handed relief pitcher Josias Manzanillo from the Milwaukee Brewers on June 12, 1993 in exchange for Wayne Housie.  He initially reported to the minors before getting called up to New York in August.  Manzanillo made his Met debut on August 21st against the Colorado Rockies.  He pitched two innings of scoreless relief in the Mets 8-6 defeat.  He appeared in six games and posted a 0-0 record with a 3.00 ERA.

Manzanillo appeared in 37 games for the Mets in 1994 and finished with a 3-2 record with 2 saves and a 2.66 ERA.  He earned his first win as a Met on June 12th against the Montreal Expos. He entered the game in the 7th inning with the game tied and pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and was the pitcher of record when the Mets took the lead in the 8th inning.   He earned his first save on May 8th when he pitched the final two innings of the Mets 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals

Manzanillo started the 1995 season with the Mets and appeared in 12 games before the Mets placed him om waivers and he was claimed by the New York Yankees.  At the time he was 1 and 2 with a 7.88 ERA over 16 innings.

He returned to the Mets in 1999 and appeared in 12 games and posted a 0-0 record with a 5.79 ERA.  Following the season, he was granted free agency and signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  In 67 career games for the Met Manzanillo won 4 games and lost 4 while saving 2 games with a 4.21 ERA.

While with the Mets Manzanillo wore number 39.

Josias Manzanillo also played for the following teams:
Boston Red Sox – 1991
Milwaukee Brewers – 1993
New York Yankees – 1995
Seattle Mariners – 1997
Pittsburgh Pirates – 2000-2002
Cincinnati Reds – 2003
Florida Marlins – 2004

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Orlando Mercado – His New York Mets Career 1990

Orlando MercadoThe Mets signed Orlando Mercado, a seven-year journeyman catcher as a free agent on December 12, 1989. He made his Met debut as their starting catcher on April 15, 1990 against the Montreal Expos.  He went 0 for 3 as the Mets lost 3-1.   Serving as the backup catcher he appeared in 42 games and hit just .211 with 3 home runs and 7 RBIs before getting claimed off waivers by the Montreal Expos on August 30. His most productive game came on June 9 when he went 2 for 2 with a home run and 2 RBIs in the Mets 9-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

While with the Mets Mercado wore number 35.

Orlando Mercado also played for the following teams:
Seattle Mariners – 1982-1984
Texas Rangers – 1986
Detroit Tigers – 1987
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1987
Oakland A’s – 1988
Minnesota Twins – 1989
Montreal Expos – 1990

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Tom Filer – His New York Mets Career 1992

Tom FilerRight-handed pitcher Tom Filer was signed by the Mets as a free agent on December 19, 1991. Filer started the 1992 season pitching for the Mets top minor league affiliate the Tidewater Tides before being called up in July. He made his Met debut on the July 4th starting against the Houston Astros. He allowed 1 run and 5 hits over 7 innings but suffered a no decision as the Mets lost 3-1.  He would go on to pitch in 8 more games for the Mets all out of the bullpen before being sent back to the minors. His record was 0-1 with a 2.05 ERA.

Filer would not return to New York and spent the entire 1993 season pitching for the Norfolk Tides where he finished with a 2-10 record. He retired following the 1993 season.

While with the Mets Filer wore number 44.

Tom Filer also played for the following teams:
Chicago Cubs – 1982
Toronto Blue Jays – 1985
Milwaukee Brewers – 1988-1990

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Rick Sweet – His New York Mets Career 1982

Rick SweetThe New York Mets purchased Rick Sweet’s contract from the San Diego Padres on December 15, 1980. Sweet, a catcher, had been with the Padres organization for six seasons but played only one season with the big club, 1978 where he hit just .221 in 88 games. After signing with the Mets, he played his first season with the Tidewater Tides in 1981 where he hit .277 with 4 home runs and 55 RBI’s. Sweet started the 1982 season with the Mets and appeared in three games, all as a pinch hitter, before the Mets sold his contract to the Seattle Mariners. In his three at bats Sweet got only one hit, a pinch-hit single on April 28th in the Mets 5-4 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Rick Sweet spent the next two seasons with the Seattle Mariners before embarking on a managerial career. In 1987 he managed the Mets AA affiliate, the Binghamton Mets.  He led them to a 68-76 record before moving on to the Montreal Expos organization.

While with the Mets Sweet wore number 8.

Rick Sweet also played for the following teams:
San Diego Padres –  1978
Seattle Mariners – 1982,1983

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