Jeff McKnight – His New York Mets Career 1989,1992-1994

Jeff McKnightThe Mets drafted Jeff McKnight in the 2nd round of the 1983 amateur draft.  After spending 7 seasons in the minors he finally made his Major League debut on June 6, 1989 against the Chicago Cubs In his first Major League at bat as a pinch hitter for Roger McDowell. he singled.  The next day he made his first career start.  As the Mets starting 2nd baseman he went 1 for 2 with 2 walks as the Mets beat the Cubs 10-8.  McKnight appeared in 6 games before being sent back to the minors.  He batted .250 (3 for 12) while playing all 4 infield positions.

Following the 1989 season McKnight was released by the Mets and he was picked up by the Baltimore Orioles.  He returned to the Mets as a free agent on December 21, 1991.   He started the 1992 season in the minors before getting recalled in August.   He appeared in 31 games playing in both the infield and outfield and batted .271 with 2 home runs and 13 RBIs.  His first home run came on September 15, a two-run shot that propelled the Mets to a 4-2 win over the Cubs.

McKnight spent the entire 1993 with the Mets serving as a utility player and pinch hitter and appeared in 105 games.  He hit .256 with 2 home runs and 13 RBIs.  He started the 1994 season with the Mets and was used exclusively as a pinch hitter but hit just .148 (4 for 27) with 2 RBIs.  He was sent back to the minors in June.  He returned in August and appeared in one game on August 11 against the Philadelphia Phillies.  He hit a pinch-hit single in 7th inning.  It would be his last appearance in a Major League uniform and his last hit.  The next day the players went on strike and would not return until 1995. 

 He was granted free agency following the season but did not sign with another team.  In 173 career games for the Mets McKnight hit .250 with 4 home runs and 28 RBIs.

While with the Mets McKnight wore number 15 in 1989, number 5 in 1992, numbers 7 and 17 in 1993 and number 18 in 1994.

Jeff McKnight also played for the Baltimore Orioles in 1990 and 1991

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Kevin Tapani – His New York Mets Career 1989

Kevin TapaniRight-handed pitcher Kevin Tapani was acquired by Mets from the Oakland A’s as part of a multi-player 3 team trade on December 11, 1997.   Tapani spent the next 1 ½ seasons in the minors before getting the call to join the Mets in July 1989.  He made his Major League debut on July 4 against the Houston Astros when he relieved Bob Ojeda in the first inning after he gave up 8 runs.  Tapani pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed 1 run as the Mets lost 10-3. 

Tapani made 2 more relief appearances and allowed 1 run in each game before being traded on July 31.  He was traded to the Minnesota Twins along with Rick Aguilera, David West, Tim Drummond and Jack Savage for Frank Viola, the defending American League Cy Young winner.

In his three appearances for the Mets Tapani posted a 0-0 with a 3.68 ERA in 7 innings.

While with the Mets Tapani wore number 26.

Kevin Tapani also played for the following teams:
Minnesota Twins – 1989-1995
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1995
Chicago White Sox – 1996
Chicago Cubs – 1997-2001

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Gary Carter – His New York Mets Career 1985-1989

Gary CarterA seven-time All-Star catcher with the Montreal Expos, Gary Carter was acquired by the Mets prior to the 1985 season in exchange for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Floyd Youmans and Herm Winningham. He was considered to be the final piece to the puzzle as the Mets pursued their first World Series title since 1969.

Carter made an immediate impact when he hit the game winning home run in the bottom of the 10th inning on Opening Day 1985. He would go on to lead the team with 32 home runs and 100 RBI’s. On September 3rd he became the 5th player in franchise history to hit 3 home runs in a game. The next day he hit another 2 home runs to become the first player in Mets history to hit 5 home runs over the span of 2 games. He was selected to be the starting catcher in the All-Star game but was unable to play due to injury. During the month of September, he hit .320 with 13 home runs and 36 RBIs and was named the National League Player of the Month.

In 1986 Carter continued his strong hitting and tied Rusty Staub’s franchise record for most RBI’s in a season with 105. He also hit 24 home runs as the Mets cruised to their first postseason appearance since 1973. He once again was selected to start for the National League in the All-Star game. He also finished 3rd in the National League MVP voting, 

During the postseason Carter initially struggled going 1 for 21 in the NLCS against the Houston Astros before knocking in the winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning of game 5. The Mets would win the series in 6 games. During the World Series Carter hit 2 home runs during game 4 and drove in the tying run in game 7. But his most famous at-bat came during game 6. In the bottom of the 10th inning with the Mets trailing by 2 runs and down to their last out and on the verge of losing the series, Carter singled to start the Mets 3 run rally. In one of the most amazing comebacks in World Series history the Mets won the game and would go on to win the series in 7 games to capture their 2nd World Series title.

Carter returned in 1987 but his numbers began to dip as he hit just .235 with 20 home runs and 83 RBIs. In 1988 he hit just 11 home runs with 46 RBIs, but he did manage to hit the 300th home run of his career. The Mets returned to the postseason in 1988 and Carter hit .222 with 4 RBIs in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. His 2 run double in the 9th inning of game 1 drove in both the tying and winning runs, but the Mets would lose the series in 7 games.

In 1989 Carter suffered through an injury plagued season. He hit just .183 with 2 home runs and 15 RBIs in 50 games. It would be his last season with the Mets as the Mets decided that his best days were behind him and chose not to offer him a new contract.

In five seasons with the Mets Carter hit .249 with 89 home runs and 349 RBIs. He would play another three years before retiring following the 1992 season.

In 2001 Carter was elected to the Mets Hall of Fame and in 2003 he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

While with the Mets Carter wore number 8,

Gary Carter also played for the following teams:
Montreal Expos – 1974-1984, 1992
San Francisco Giants – 1990
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1991

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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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Terry Leach – His New York Mets Career 1981,1982,1985-1989

Terry LeachTerry Leach, a right-handed pitcher who pithed side-armed, was originally signed by the Mets as a minor league free agent on July 27, 1980. A year later he made his Major League debut on August 12, 1981 when he pitched one inning of relief in the Mets 7-4 win over the Chicago Cubs, He allowed 3 hits and 2 runs.  He finished out the season with the Mets and appeared in 21 games, all but one out of the bullpen, and posted a 1-1 record with a 2.55 ERA.  He earned his first Major League win on September 9 against the Pittsburgh Pirates when he pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.  In his only start of the season on August 15 against the Philadelphia Phillies he pitched 5 innings and allowed 3 hits and 1 unearned run.  He got a no-decision as the Mets won 3-1.

He started the 1982 season in the minors before getting brought up to New York in June.  Once again, he appeared in 21 games, all but one out of the bullpen, and posted a 2-1 record with 1 save and a 4.17 ERA.  His only start came on October 1 was a memorable one.  He pitched a complete game shutout and allowed only 1 hit and struck out 7 in 10 innings of work as the Met won 1=0.

Leach spent the entire 1983 season in the minors pitching for the Tidewater Tides.  He posted a 5-7 record with 6 saves and a 4.46 ERA.  Following the season, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs, He started the 1984 season in the Cubs minor league system before being traded to the Atlanta Braves.  He didn’t last long in the Braves organization.  He was released by the Braves on May 25 and was immediately picked up by the Mets.  He finished out the season in the minors.

He started the 1985 season in the minors before once again getting called up the New York in June.  This time he appeared in 22 games 4 as a starter, and posted a 3-4 record with 1 save and a 2.91. His best performance came on August 22 when he pitched a compete game 3 hit shut out against the San Francisco Giants.

Leach started the 1986 season with the Mets but made only 6 appearances, all out of the bullpen, before being shipped back to the minors.  He posted a 0-0 record with a 2.70 innings in 6 2/3 innings.

 He spent the entire 1987 season with the Mets and enjoyed his best season with the Mets.  He started the season in the bullpen before a rash of injuries in the Mets starting staff he was forced to join the rotation.  In 12 starts he posted a 7-1 record, He finished the season with an 11-1 record and 3.22 ERA.  His best appearance came on July 2 when he pitched a complete game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds

Leach pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in 1988 appearing in 52 games.  He finished with a 7-2 record with 3 saves and 2.54 ERA in helping the Mets win the National League Eastern Division title.  In the postseason he appeared in 3 games and did not allow any runs in 5 innings of relief.  But the Mets lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.

In 1989 he appeared in 10 games before being traded to the Kansas City Royals on June 9.  At the time of the trade his record 0-0 with a 4.22 ERA.

In 176 games for the Mets over 7 seasons Leach posted a 24 and 9 record with 7 saves and 3.11 ERA.

While with the Mets Leach wore number 43 in 1981 and 1986 and number 26 from 1985 to 1986.

Terry Leach also played for the following teams:
Kansas City Royals – 1989
Minnesota Twins – 1990-1991
Chicago White Sox – 1992-1993

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Lou Thornton – His New York Mets Career 1989,1990

Lou ThorntonThe Mets drafted outfielder Lou Thornton in the 19th round of the 1981 amateur draft.  After spending 4 seasons in the Mets minor league system, he was lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1984 Rule 5 draft.  He returned to the Mets organization when he was signed as a free agent on June 9, 1989.  He finally made his Met debut on September 1, 1989 as pinch runner for Dave Magadan in the 7-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants.  He finished out the season with the Mets appearing in 13 games and batted .308 (4 for 13) with 1 RBI.  His first hit as a Met came on September 26th, a 7th inning single in the Mets 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.  On September 29th against the Pittsburgh Pirates he went 3 for as the Mets won 7-0.

Thornton appeared in 3 games for the Mets in 1990, all in April but did not get an at bat.  He appeared in one game as a pinch runner and two more as a defensive replacement.  He spent the remainder of the season playing in the minors for the Tidewater Tides, the Mets Triple A affiliate, where he batted .227.  Following the season, he was granted free agency but did not sign with another team.

While with the Mets Thornton wore number 4 in 1989 and number 1 in 1990.

Lou Thornton also played for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1985, 1987 and 1988.

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Phil Lombardi – His New York Mets Career 1989

Phil LombardiThe Mets acquired Phil Lombardi from their cross-town rivals the New York Yankees on December 11, 1987 along with Darren Reed and Steve Frey in exchange for Rafael Santana and Victor Garcia.  He would make his Met debut on June 27,1989 against the Montreal Expos as a late inning defensive replacement at first base.  He grounded out to shortstop in his only at bat.  The next day as their starting catcher he went 3 for 4 with a home run.  It would be his most productive game as a Met. He would go on to appear in 18 games for the Mets, mainly as a catcher, and hit .229 with 1 home run and 3 RBIs.  

Following the season, he was placed on waivers and was claimed by the Atlanta Braves. 

While with the Mets Lombardi wore number 39.

Phil Lombardi also played for the New York Yankees in 1986 and 1987.

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Wally Whitehurst – His New York Mets Career 1989-1992

Wally WhitehurstAfter spending a year and a half in the Mets minor league system Wally Whitehurst made his Met as well as his Major League debut on July 17, 1989.  He pitched one inning of relief and gave up two runs in the Mets 6-0 loss to the Houston Astros.  He would finish out the season with the Mets appearing in nine games all except one out of the bullpen.  He posted a 0-1 record with 4.50 ERA in 14 innings. 

Whitehurst made the Mets staff out of Spring Training in 1990 and was used a middle reliever and enjoyed his best season as a Met.  He appeared in 38 games, third most on the staff, and posted a 1-0 record with 2 saves and 3.29 ERA.  His first major league victory came on July 5th when he pitched 4 2/3 innings of relief against the Atlanta Braves. 

In 1991 the Mets converted Whitehurst to a starter.  He won his first start of the season, but then went on to have minimal success.  In 20 starts he won 5 while losing 11.  Overall for the season he appeared in 36 games and finished with a 7-12 record and 4.19 ERA.  1992 was more of the same, he appeared in a career high 44 games, 11 as a starter.  His record at the end of the season was 3 and 9 with 3.62 ERA. 

Following the season, the Mets traded Whitehurst to the San Diego Padres along with D.J. Dozier and Raul Casanova in exchange for All-Star shortstop Tony Fernandez.  

In four seasons with the Mets Wally Whitehurst appeared in 127 games, 32 as a starter, and compiled an 11-22 record with 3 saves and a 3.83 ERA.

While with the Mets Whitehurst wore number 47.

Wally Whitehurst also played for the following teams:
San Diego Padres – 1993,1994
New York Yankees – 1996

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Rick Aguilera – His New York Mets Career 1985-1989

Rick AguileraIf it wasn’t for a little roller hit behind the bag by Mookie Wilson that went through the legs of Bill Buckner, Rick Aguilera would be known as the pitcher who lost game six of the 1986 World Series. Fortunately for Aguilera the Mets pulled the game out and won the series and he is now remembered as a very good pitcher who won 37 games in five seasons for the Mets mostly as their number five starter.

In his Mets debut on June 12, 1985 Rick Aguilera pitched two innings of scoreless relief against the Philadelphia Phillies to earn his first big league victory.  He appeared in 21 games, 19 as a starter, in 1985 and finished the season with a 10-7 record. He followed that up with an identical 10-7 record during the Mets World Championship season in 1986.

During the postseason in 1986 Aguilera pitched out of the bullpen and as previously stated was on the mound during the tenth inning of game six of the World Series. With the scored tied and the Mets having no margin for error as they trailed the series 3 games to 2, Aguilera gave up two runs to the Boston Red Sox.  In the bottom of the inning the Mets were down to their final out before staging one of the most remarkable comebacks in baseball history.  The Mets won the game and went on to win the series in seven games.

Injuries limited Aguilera to just 18 games in 1987 but when healthy he managed to post an 11 and 3 record.  The Mets moved Aguilera to the bullpen in 1988 where he went 0-4 in just 11 games in another injury plagued season. In 1989 Aguilera pitched exclusively out of the bullpen posting a 6 and 6 record with 7 saves before the Mets traded him along with David West, Kevin Tapani, Tim Drummond and Jack Savage to the Minnesota Twins for Frank Viola, the American League’s reigning Cy Young Award winner.

Rick Aguilera pitched in 114 regular season games for the Mets posting a 37 – 27 record with 7 saves and an ERA of 3.58.  He was also a fine hitter, hitting three home runs during his Mets career.

While with the Mets Aguilera wore number 38 in 1985,1986 and 1989 and number 15 in 1987 and 1988.

Rick Aguilera also played for the following teams:
Minnesota Twins – 1989-1999
Boston Red Sox – 1995
Chicago Cubs – 1999,2000

 

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Juan Samuel – His New York Mets Career 1989

Juan SamuelJuan Samuel was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies on June 18, 1989 in one of the most unpopular trades in franchise history.  A trade that saw the Mets send fan favorites Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell to the Phillies. 

A one time All-Star with the Phillies Samuel began to struggle act the plate in 1988 as the Phillies moved him from second base to the outfield.  With the Mets Samuel became their everyday centerfielder but he could never get on track.  The more he struggled the louder the boo birds at Shea Stadium became as Met fans could not forgive the organization for trading the popular Lenny Dykstra, who played an integral part in the 1986 World Championship season.  Samuel hit just .228 with 3 home runs and 28 RBIs.

Following the season the Mets realizing they had made a mistake and traded Samuel to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for first baseman Mike Marshall and pitcher Alejandro Pena.    

While with the Mets Samuel wore number 7.

Juan Samuel also played for the following teams:
Philadelphia Phillies – 1983-1989
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1990-1992
Kansas City Royals – 1992,1995
Cincinnati Reds – 1993
Detroit Tigers – 1994,1995
Toronto Blue Jays – 1996-1998

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