Glendon Rusch – His New York Mets Career 1999-2001

Glendon RuschThe Mets acquired left-handed pitcher Glendon Rusch from the Kansas City Royals on September 14, 1999 in exchange for pitcher Dan Murray.  He made his Met debut on September 17 pitching one inning of scoreless relief in the Mets 8-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.  It would be his only appearance on the season.

In 2000 Rusch became a member of the Mets starting rotation.  He appeared in 31 games, 30 as a starter and posted an 11-11 record with a 4.01 ERA and helped the Mets reach the postseason for the second straight season.    He earned his first win as a Met on April 22 when he pitched 7 innings and allowed 2 runs in the Mets 8-3 win over the Chicago Cubs.  On July 8 against the New York Yankees he struck out 10 batters and actually pitched a compete game but suffered the loss as the Mets lost 4-2.  On September 24 he pitched 8 innings and allowed just 1 run to earn the win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

In the postseason Rusch was used exclusively out of the bullpen.  He was the winning pitcher in game 4 of the League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals when he pitched three scoreless innings in the Mets 10-6 win. He made 3 appearances in the World Series against the Yankees and posted 2.25 ERA in 4 innings.

Rusch returned in 2001 and made 33 starts for the Mets and finished 8-12 with a 4.63 ERA.  The highlight of his season came on July 14 against the Boston Red Sox.  He allowed 1 hit over 8 innings and struck out 10 batters in the Mets 2-0 victory. 

Following the season, the Mets traded Rusch to the Milwaukee Brewers along with Lenny Harris and Alex Ochoa in exchange for Jeromy Burnitz, Jeff D’Amico, Lou Collier and Mark Sweeney.

In 65 appearances for the Mets over three seasons Rusch posted a 19-23 record with a 4.30 ERA.

While with the Mets Rusch wore number 48.

Glendon Rusch also played for the following teams:
Kansas City Royals – 1997-1999
Milwaukee Brewers – 2002,2003
Chicago Cubs – 2004-2006
Colorado Rockies – 2008,2009
San Diego Padres – 2008

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Pat Mahomes – His New York Mets Career 1999-2000

Pat MahomeThe Mets signed right-handed pitcher Pat Mahomes, who had been pitching in Japan, as a free agent on December 21, 1998.  He started the 1999 season in the minors where he went 4-1 in six appearances before joining the Mets in May.  He made his Met debut on May 15 against the Philadelphia Phillies.  He entered the game in the 4th inning with the Mets trailing 5-0 and pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief allowing the team to mount a comeback.  The Mets went on to win 9-7 and Mahomes was credited with the victory. 

Mahomes made 39 relief appearances in 1999 and posted an 8-0 record with a 3.68 ERA and helped the Mets win the National League Wild Card.  On August 1 against the Chicago Cubs he not only was the winning pitcher he also drove in the winning run with a 13th inning single.

He made one appearance in the National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  He appeared in game 2, the only game the Mets would lose in the series and pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed 1 run. 

Mahomes made three appearances in the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves.  During game 6 he entered the game in the 1st inning after Al Leiter gave up 5 runs.  He stopped the bleeding and went on to pitch 4 innings of scoreless relief to keep the Mets in the game.  The Mets fought back but lost the game and the series 10-9 in 11 innings.   

He returned in 2000 and appeared in 53 games.  He finished with a 5-3 record with a 5.46 ERA.   He started 5 games and went 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA.  The Mets won the National League Wild Card and made it all the way to the World Series but Mahomes did not see any action in the postseason.

Following the season Mahomes was granted free agency and signed with the Texas Rangers.  In 92 games for the Mets he posted a 13-3 record with a 4.74 ERA.

While with the Mets Mahomes wore number 23.

Pat Mahomes also played for the following teams:
Minnesota Twins – 1992-1996
Boston Red Sox – 1996,1997
Texas Rangers – 2001
Chicago Cubs – 2002
Pittsburgh Pirates – 2003 

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Dennis Cook – His New York Mets Career 1998-2001

Dennis CookAfter helping the Florida Marlins win the 1997 World Series Dennis Cook was traded to the New York Mets and for the next 3 ½ seasons he served as a left-handed specialist out of their bullpen.

In his Mets debut on Opening Day 1998 Cook pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. He would pitch in 73 games, the most on the team, and posted an 8-4 record with 1 save and a 2.38 ERA. He followed that up with a 10-5 season in 1999 while also saving another 3 games as the Mets reached the postseason for the first time since 1988. During the postseason Cook appeared in 4 games and did not allow a run in 3 innings of work.

In 2000 Cook appeared in 68 games and won 6 while losing 3 but his ERA ballooned to 5.34. The Mets once again reached the postseason this time reaching the World Series. In six appearances during the 2001 postseason Cook did not give up a run over three innings.

Cook returned to the Mets bullpen in 2001 but was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies along with Turk Wendell in exchange for Bruce Chen and Adam Walker midway through the season. At the time of the trade his record was 1-1 with 4.25 ERA.

In 4 years with the Mets Dennis Cook appeared in 255 games and posted a 25-13 record with 6 saves and a 3.86 ERA.

While with the Mets Cook wore number 27.

Dennis Cook also played for the following teams:
San Francisco Giants – 1988,1989
Philadelphia Phillies – 1989,1990,2001
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1990,1991
Cleveland Indians – 1992,1993, 1995
Chicago White Sox – 1994
Texas Rangers – 1995,1996
Florida Marlins – 1997
Anaheim Angels – 2002

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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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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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Billy Taylor – His New York Mets Career 1999

ABilly Taylort the 1999 trading deadline the Mets were looking to bolster their bullpen for the stretch run and traded Jason Isringhausen and Greg McMichael to the Oakland A’s in exchange for right-handed reliever Billy Taylor. Taylor made his Mets debut on August 1 pitching 1/3 inning in the Mets 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs. But Taylor would struggle with the Mets down the stretch so much so that even though the Mets won the National League Wild Card he was left off the postseason roster. In 18 appearances Taylor posted an 0-1 record with a 8.10 ERA in 13 1/3 innings.

Following the season Billy Taylor signed as a free agent with the Colorado Rockies.

While with the Mets Taylor wore number 26

Billy Taylor also played for the following teams:
Oakland A’s = 1994,1996-1999
Tampa Bay Devil Rays – 2000
Pittsburgh Pirates – 2001

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Rickey Henderson – His New York Mets Career 1999-2000

Rickey HendersonRickey Henderson was approaching 40 years of age when the Mets signed him as a free agent on December 16, 1998. With his combination of speed and power he was considered by many to be the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history, but he also had a reputation of being a “hot dog” with a penchant for wearing out his welcome for each team he played for, evidenced by the fact that he switched teams eight times in twenty seasons. Needless to say, Met fans had some trepidation about Rickey Henderson.

But their fears were quickly assuaged after Henderson got off to a fast start. He hit .313 over the first ten games of the season, including a 4 for 4 performance in which he hit two home runs on April 7th. With Henderson as their leadoff hitter the Mets jumped out to 7-3 record. Henderson would go on to play in 121 games for the Mets in 1999, 114 as their leadoff hitter and leftfielder. He led the team in hitting with a .315 average while hitting 12 home runs with 42 RBIs and 37 stolen bases. His .423 on base percentage was also the second highest on the team to John Olerud’s .427, not bad for a 40-year-old player.

The Mets finished the 1999 season tied with the Cincinnati Reds for the National League Wild Card, meaning the two teams would have to play a one game playoff for the final National League postseason spot. Henderson led off the game with a single and scored on Edgardo Alfonzo’s two run homer. After two batters the Mets had a lead they would not relinquish. Henderson would hit a home run in the top of the 5th inning to extend the lead, as the Mets went on to win 5-0 to reach the postseason for the first time since 1988. Henderson continued his strong season in the National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He hit .400, including a 3 for 5 performance in game three, with six stolen bases and a .500 on base percentage, as the Mets won the series in four games to advance to the National League Championship Series. His six stolen bases set a record for most in a NLDS series.

But in the NLCS Henderson struggled, as did most of the Mets hitters. He hit just .174 (4 for 23) in six games, as the Mets lost the series. But it was his alleged actions in game six which left a bitter taste in the mouths of Met fans. Trailing the series 3 games to 2 and needing to win game six to extend their season, the Mets fell behind 5-0 in the first inning and eventually fell behind 7-3. But they battled back to eventually tie the game in the 7th inning with help from Henderson who doubled home a run and scored on a single by John Olerud. Henderson was taken out of the game in the 8th inning as part of a double switch. After the Mets lost the game in eleven innings on a bases loaded walk, it was reported in all the tabloids the next day that Henderson and Bobby Bonilla were playing cards in the locker room instead of supporting their team by staying on the bench. It was a bitter pill for most Met fans to swallow and when he got off to a slow start in 2000, hitting just .219 after 31 games, they let him know it. With the boos getting louder at Shea Stadium it was obvious that Henderson had once again worn out his welcome and the Mets decided to part ways by releasing him on May 13th. Henderson’s final numbers with the Mets were a .298 average, 12 home runs, 44 RBIs and 42 stolen bases.

Henderson would play out the 2000 season with the Seattle Mariners, and would play three more years before retiring after the 2003 season. Though according to Henderson, he didn’t actually retire he just was not given another chance to play. In 2009, his first year of eligibility, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame becoming the tenth former Met player to be so honored.

Rickey Henderson did serve as the Mets first base coach in 2007, joining the staff when Jerry Manual took over as manager in June. He finished out the season but was not asked to return in 2008.

While with the Mets Henderson wore number 24.

Rickey Henderson also played for the following teams:
Oakland A’s – 1979-1984, 1989-1995, 1998
New York Yankees – 1985-1989
Toronto Blue Jays – 1993
San Diego Padres – 1996,1997,2001
Anaheim Angels – 1997
Seattle Mariners – 2000
Boston Red Sox – 2002
Los Angeles Dodgers – 2003

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Benny Agbayani – His New York Mets Career 1998-2001

Benny AgbayaniAfter being drafted by the Mets in the 30th round of the 1993 amateur draft outfielder Benny Agbayani, a native of Hawaii, worked his way through the Mets minor league system before making his debut with the Mets on June 17,1998 against the Montreal Expos. Agbayani entered the game as part of a double switch and struck out in his first at bat. Two days later he started against the Florida Marlins and singled to lead off the game for his first Major League hit. He appeared in just 11 games for the Mets in 1998 and did not leave much of an impression hitting just .133 and was quickly sent back to the minors.

It appeared that his Major League career was over before it started, but Mets manager Bobby Valentine, who was always a fan of Agbayani, gave him a second chance in 1999. He was called back up from the minors on May 11, 1999 and this time made the most of the situation by hitting a home run in his first game back against the Colorado Rockies. He would go on to hit 6 home runs over the next 16 games and quickly became a fan favorite. Agbayani gave the Mets no reason to send him back to the minors and he finished the season helping them reach the postseason for the first time since 1988 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs.

After a mediocre spring training in 2000 Agbayani was in danger of being shipped back to the minors. But with the Mets slated to play their first two games of the season in Japan against the Chicago Cubs and not in need of a fifth starter for a few weeks, Benny Agbayani made the opening day roster. Agbayani once again took advantage of the situation. In the second game of the season with the Mets in danger of starting the season 0-2 Agbayani hit a grand slam in the 11h inning to give the Mets the victory. The Mets brass decided to keep Agbayani on the Major League roster and he would go on to hit 15 home runs with 60 RBI’s and once again helped the Mets reach the postseason for the second straight season.

In the 2000 postseason Agbayani cemented his place in Mets history by hitting the game winning home run in the bottom of the 13th inning against the San Francisco Giants in game three of the National League Divisional Series, a series the Mets would win in four games. He then helped the Mets reach the World Series by hitting .353 with 3 RBIs in the NLCS against the St Louis Cardinals. The Mets postseason run came to an end in the World Series against their cross-town rivals, the New York Yankees. The Mets lost the series in five games, but in their only victory Agbayani drove in the winning run with a double in the bottom of the 8th inning of game three.

Benny Agbayani returned to the Mets in 2001 but injuries limited his effectiveness as hit only 6 home runs while driving in 27 runs. The Mets traded Benny Agbayani on January 21, 2002 as part of a three-team trade which landed him in Colorado. Agbayani struggled with the Rockies and was placed on waivers. He was picked up by the Red Sox and finished the season in Boston, but 2002 would be his last season in the majors. After spending the 2003 season in the Kansas City Royals organization, he finished his career in Japan playing for his old Met manager Bobby Valentine with the Chiba Lotte Marines.

While with the Mets Agbayani wore number 39 in 1998 and number 50 from 1999-2001

Benny Agbayani also played for the following teams:
Colorado Rockies – 2002
Boston Red Sox – 2002

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Al Leiter – His New York Mets Career 1998-2004

 

Al Leiter
Al Leiter

After winning the 1997 World Series the Florida Marlins conducted a fire sale and traded off all their high-priced stars. One of the beneficiaries of sale was the New York Mets who acquired left-handed pitcher Al Leiter. For the next seven seasons Al Leiter was a workhorse who served as the ace of the Mets pitching staff.

 

In his first season with the Mets in 1998 Leiter posted a 17-6 record with a 2.47 ERA, the third best in the National League. He also led the Mets with 174 strikeouts.

During the 1999 season he won just 13 games but won the most important game of the season. In a one game playoff against the Cincinnati Reds to determine the National League Wild Card Leiter pitched a complete game two hit shutout to send the Mets to the postseason for the first time since 1988.

In 2000 Leiter started the season 10-1 and was named to the National League All-Star team. Along the way he was also named the National League pitcher of the month for June. He finished the season with a 16-8 record and once again led the team with 200 strikeouts as the Mets returned to the postseason. The Mets made it all the way to the World Series where they faced the New York Yankees. Leiter started games 1 and 5 and pitched effectively but the Mets lost both games and the series. In 15 2/3 innings he struck out 16 and posted a 2.87 ERA. In game five, with the Mets one loss away from losing the series, Leiter gave it everything he had and left it all on the field. He pitched into the 9th inning yielding just two runs, but finally ran out of gas and lost the game.

After back to back .500 seasons Leiter posted a 15-9 record in 2003 and then won another 10 games in 2004.

2004 would be his last season with the Mets. The Mets sensing that he was nearing the end of line allowed him to leave as a free agent. The Mets were proven right as Leiter struggled in 2005 pitching for the Florida Marlins and New York Yankees.

In his seven seasons with the Mets Leiter posted a 95-67 record with a 3.42 ERA and 1,106 strikeouts. He currently ranks 6th in franchise history with his 95 victories.

While with the Mets Leiter wore number 22.

Al Leiter also played for the following team:
New York Yankees – 1987-1989, 2005
Toronto Blue Jays – 1989-1995
Florida Marlins – 1996,1997,2005

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Mike Kinkade – His New York Mets Career 1998-2000

mike kinkadeThe Mets acquired utilityman Mike Kinkade from the Milwaukee Brewers on July 31, 1998 in exchange for pitcher Bill Pulsipher.  He initially reported to the minors before getting called up to Mets as a September callup.  He made his Major League debut on September 8th as a late inning replacement in the Mets 16-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.  He went 0 for 2 at the plate.  He made two more appearances both as a pinch runner.

Kinkade made the Mets Opening Day Roster in 1999.  He served primarily as a pinch hitter and fourth outfielder.  He recorded his first Major League hit on April 12th, a pinch-hit double that drove in two runs in the Mets 8-1 win over the Florida Marlins.  He hit his first career home run on April 29th against the San Diego Padres, a solo shot in the Mets 8-5 win.  However, with his average at just .196 Kinkade was demoted to the minors in May. He spent the remainder of the season with the Triple A Norfolk Tides where he hit .308.  He did appear in one game for the Mets in September.

In 2000 Kinkade appeared in two games for the Mets in July, he went 0 for 2. On July 28th, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles along with Melvin Mora in exchange for Mike Bordick.

Over three seasons with the Mets Kinkade appeared in 33 games and hit .180 with 2 home runs with 6 RBIs.

While with the Mets Kinkade wore number 33.

Mike Kinkade also played for the following teams:
Baltimore Orioles – 2000,2001
Los Angeles Dodgers – 2002,2003

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