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 at 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 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

Frank Viola – His New York Mets Career 1989-1991

Frank ViolaLong Island native Frank Viola was acquired by the Mets at the trading deadline in 1989 from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for David West, Kevin Tapani, Rick Aguilera, Jack Savage, and Tim Drummond.  The left-handed pitcher known as “Sweet Music’ was the defending American League Cy Young Award winner and former World Series MVP, having won the award with the Twins in 1987. 

Viola was set to join Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, David Cone, Sid Fernandez and Bobby Ojeda as the Mets made a push to win back to back division titles.  Viola won his first start as a Met on August 2nd against the St Louis Cardinals, pitching 8 innings allowing 2 runs and just 4 hits.  But unfortunately, it took Viola awhile to get accustomed to his new surroundings as he finished the season with a 5-5 record as the Mets fell short of their quest to return to the postseason.  On August 28th against the Dodgers Viola pitched his best game of the year.  He faced Orel Hershiser and out pitched the defending National League Cy Young Award winner.  It was the first game in baseball history featuring two defending Cy Young Award winners.  Viola pitched a complete game shutout allowing just three hits as the Mets won 1-0.

1990 would be Viola’s best season with the Mets.  He started out the season 6-2 and finished with a 20-12 record, becoming just the fifth pitcher in franchise history to win 20 games.   He led the National League in innings pitched with 249 2/3 innings and finished fourth in the league with 2.67 ERA.  For his efforts, he was named to the National League All-Star squad and finished third in the National League Cy Young voting.

Viola continued his strong pitching over the first half of 1991 starting the season with an 11-5 record and making a second All -Star appearance.  But as the Mets collapsed during the second half of the season so did Viola.  He lost 10 of his final 12 decisions to finish the season with a 13-15 record and 3.97 ERA. 

Frank Viola became a free agent following the 1991 season and signed with the Boston Red Sox.  In his two plus seasons with the Mets he finished with a 38-32 record and 3.31 ERA.

While with the Mets Viola wore number 26 in 1989 and 29 from 1990-1991.

Frank Viola also played for the following teams:
Minnesota Twins – 1982-1989
Boston Red Sox – 1992-1994
Cincinnati Reds – 1995
Toronto Blue Jays – 1996

Blaine Beatty – His New York Mets Career 1989,1991

blaine-beattyLeft-handed pitcher Blaine Beatty was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles on December 8, 1987 in exchange for reliever Doug Sisk.  He spent the next two seasons pitching in the minors before finally making his Major League debut on September 16, 1989; he pitched an inning of scoreless relief.  Beatty made 1 more appearance with the Mets as their starting pitcher on September 30; he lasted 5 innings and gave up 1 run and 4 hits.  The Mets won the game 7-2 over the Pirates but Beatty was credited with a no-decision.

Beatty missed the entire 1990 season with an elbow injury.  He returned in 1991 and once again pitched in the minors before getting the call to join the Mets in September.   He appeared in 5 games all out of the bullpen and posted a 2.79 ERA in 9 2/3 innings.

Following the season the Mets traded Beatty to the Montréal Expos in exchange for Jeff Barry.  In 7 games for the Mets over 2 seasons Beatty posted a 0-0 record with a 2.30 ERA. 

While with the Mets Beatty wore number 38.

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David Cone – His New York Mets Career 1987-1992, 2003

david-coneOn March 27, 1987, the Mets completed one of the greatest trades in franchise history when they traded Ed Hearn, Rick Anderson and Mauro Gozzo to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Chris Jelic and right handed pitcher David Cone.  While Hearn, Anderson and Gozzo didn’t amount to anything Cone went on to become one of the best pitchers in Met history winning 80 games over the next six seasons.

But Cone’s Met career did not get off to a great start as he lost his Met debut on April 11, 1987 when he pitched three innings of relief and allowed the winning run to score in the ninth inning.   After his first four appearances, all out of the bullpen, his record was 0-1 and his ERA was 4.66 but he was averaging a strikeout an inning.  Despite his bad start the Mets decided to move him to the starting rotation.  Cone proved to be an effective starter over his next six starts, he posted a 2-1 record.  His first victory as a Met came on May 12th against the Cincinnati Reds when he pitched a complete game allowing four hits and two earned runs.  However just as Cone was beginning to hit his stride he was sidelined for two months after breaking a finger on his left hand while trying to bunt.   He returned in the middle of August and finished the season with a 5-6 record and a 3.71 ERA.

1988 would turn out to be Cone’s best season with the Mets. After starting the season in the bullpen, where he won two games in seven appearances he was moved to the starting rotation in May.  He made his first start on May 3rd and pitched a complete game shutout.  Cone would go on to finish the month of May winning all five of his starts while allowing just three earned runs.  For his efforts, he was named the National League Pitcher of the Month.  From that point on Cone was the Mets top starting pitcher as the Mets dominated the National League and coasted to their second National League Eastern Division title in three seasons.  He won his final eight starts of the year to finish with a 20-3 record and a 2.22 ERA with 213 strikeouts.   In any other year Cone would have been a shoe in for the National League Cy Young Award but he finished third in the voting behind Danny Jackson of the Reds who finished with a 23-8 record and Orel Hershiser who also finished with a 23-8 record but managed to set a MLB record with 59 consecutive scoreless innings.

In the postseason against the Los Angeles Dodgers Cone was tabbed to pitch game two, but he got roughed up and allowed five runs in two innings.  He bounced back to pitch a complete game five hitter in game six to send the series to a decisive seventh game.  Unfortunately, the Mets lost game seven and the series.

Cone got off to rough start in 1989, his record was just 4-5 in the first half of the season, but he turned things around in the second half.  From July 3rd to the end of the season his record was 10-3.  He finished the season with a 14-8 record and 3.52 ERA.

Cone would go on to win 14 games over each of the next two seasons while also managing to lead the National League in strikeouts both years.   On the final day of the 1991 season against the Philadelphia Phillies, Cone put his name in the record books by striking out 19 batters to tie the National League mark held by former Met Tom Seaver and Hall of Famer Steve Carlton.

In 1992 Cone started the season 9-4 and was named to his second all-star team.   But with Cone enjoying his best season since 1989 and the Mets out of the pennant race they traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays on August 27th in exchange for Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson.  Cone was going to be a free agent after the season and the Mets were fearful they would not be able to resign him.  General Manager Al Harazin figured it would be better to get something for Cone than nothing at all in the off-season.  It would be a trade the Mets would come to regret as he would go on to help the Blue Jays win the 1992 World Series, then he would win a Cy Young with the Royals in 1994 before moving on to the New York Yankees where he won three World Series titles and even pitched a perfect game.  In his final appearance for the Yankees in game four of the 2000 World Series against the Mets Cone pitched just 1/3 of an inning but managed to get Mike Piazza out at a crucial spot in the game. The Mets would lose 3-2 and eventually the series.

David Cone spent the 2001 season with the Boston Red Sox.  After sitting out the 2002 season the Mets invited David Cone to spring training in 2003. Not much was expected of Cone but he surprisingly made the team.  In his first start for the Mets on April 4th he looked like his old self pitching five innings of shutout ball to earn the win.  But that would be the only highlight for Cone in 2003.  He lost his next three decisions and with his record at 1-3 with 6.50 ERA Cone decided to retire.

In 187 games for the Mets David Cone won 81 while losing 51 with a 3.13 ERA.

While with the Mets David Cone wore number 44 from 1987-1991 before switching to number 17.  When he returned to the Mets in 2003 he wore number 16.

David Cone also played for the following teams:
Kansas City Royals – 1986,1993,1994
Toronto Blue Jays – 1992,1995
New York Yankees – 1995-2000
Boston Red Sox – 2001

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