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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Jerrod Riggan – His New York Mets Career 2000,2001

Jerrod RigganThe Mets signed right-handed pitcher Jerrod Riggan as minor league free agent on July 9, 1998.  He made his Major League debut with the Mets on August 29, 2000 when he pitched 2 innings of relief against the Houston Astros.  He allowed 3 hits and 2 unearned runs as the Mets lost 11-1.  It would be his only appearance on the season as he was shipped back to the minors.

 

Riggan appeared in 35 games for the Mets in 2001, all out of the bullpen.  He posted a 3-3 record with a 3.40 ERA in 47 2/3 innings,  He earned his first career win on August 18 when he pitched a scoreless inning of relief in the Mets 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Following the season Riggan was traded to the Cleveland Indians along with Alex Escobar, Matt Lawton, Billy Traber and Earl Snyder in exchange for Roberto Alomar and Mike Bacsik.

While with the Mets Riggan wore number 34 in 2000 and 38 in 2001.

Jerrod Riggan also played for Cleveland Indians in 2002 and 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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Kevin Appier – His New York Mets Career 2001

 

Kevin AppierWhen Met pitcher Mike Hampton, who had helped the Mets reach the World Series, signed as a free agent with the Colorado Rockies following the 2000 season the Mets needed to replace his 15 wins. They did so by signing free agent Kevin Appier, a right-handed pitcher who won 15 games for the Oakland A’s in 2000.

Appier had a decent if unspectacular season with the Mets in 2001 winning 11 games while losing 10 with a 3.57 ERA. After starting 5-10 Appier really turned it up down the stretch as the Mets made a late season push to reach the playoffs. In his final six starts Appier went 4-0 with a 1.87 ERA. But despite his heroics the Mets fell short in their attempt to return to the postseason for the third consecutive season.

Following the season, the Mets had a chance to acquire Mo Vaughn, a power hitting first baseman and former American League MVP. Vaughn had missed the entire 2001 season due to injuries, but the Mets still liked what they saw and traded Kevin Appier to the Angels to acquire him.

While with the Mets Appier wore number 17.

Kevin Appier also played for the following teams:
Kansas City Royals – 1989-1999, 2003,2004
Oakland A’s – 1999,2000
Anaheim Angels – 2002,2003

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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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Bruce Chen – His New York Mets Career 2001,2002

Bruce ChenThe Mets acquired left-handed pitcher Bruce Chen from the Philadelphia Phillies on July 27, 2001 along with Adam Walker in exchange for Turk Wendell and Dennis Cook. He made his Mets debut on August 1; he allowed 2 runs and 2 hits over 6 innings but earned a no decision in the Mets 8-2 win over the Houston Astros. Chen started a total of 11 games for the Mets over the remainder of the season and posted a 3-2 record with a 4.68 ERA.

Chen returned in 2002 but appeared in just one game, throwing 2/3 innings of relief against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 4 before the Mets traded him to the Montreal Expos on April 5. He was traded along with Dicky Gonzalez and Luis Figueroa in exchange for Scott Strickland, Matt Watson and Phillip Seibel.

While with the Mets Chen wore number 32.

Bruce Chen also played for the following teams:
Atlanta Braves – 1998-2000
Philadelphia Phillies – 2000,2001
Montreal Expos – 2002
Cincinnati Reds – 2002
Boston Red Sox – 2003
Houston Astros – 2003
Baltimore Orioles – 2004-2006
Texas Rangers – 2007
Kanas City Royals – 2009-2014
Cleveland Indians – 2015

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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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Matt Lawton – His New York Mets Career 2001

Matt LawtonThe Mets acquired outfielder Matt Lawton from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for pitcher Rick Reed on July 30, 2001.  He made his Met debut the next day as the starting right-fielder against the Houston Astros.  He singled in his first at-bat and went 1 for 4 in the game as the Mets lost 3-2.    The next day he went 2 for 4 and drove in his first run as a Met in their 8-2 victory over the Astros.  Lawton would go on to appear in 43 games for the Mets and batted .246 with 3 home runs and 13 RBIs.  His best game occurred on September 27 against the Montreal Expos, he went 3 for 5 with two doubles and one RBI in helping the Mets win 12-6.

Following the season Lawton was traded along with Alex Escobar, Jerrod Riggan, Billy Traber and Earl Snyder in exchange for Mike Bacsik and future Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar.

While with the Mets Lawton wore number 23.

Matt Lawton also played for the following teams:
Minnesota Twins – 1995-2001
Cleveland Indians – 2002-2004
New York Yankees -2005
Pittsburgh Pirates – 2005
Chicago Cubs – 2005
Seattle Mariners – 2006

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Pete Walker – His New York Mets Career 1995,2001,2002

Pete WalkerAfter spending 5 seasons in the Mets minor league system right-handed pitcher Pete Walker made his Major League debut with the Mets on June 7, 1995 against the San Francisco Giants.  Walker pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief and allowed 1 earned run 2 hits as the Mets lost 9-8.  He would go on to pitch in 13 games for New York, all out of the bullpen, and posted a 1-0 record with 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings.  His won win came on the last day of the season when he pitched a scoreless 11th inning in the Mets 1-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves. 

Following the season Walker was traded to the San Diego Padres. He returned to the Mets as a free agent on December 28, 2000.  He spent the 2001 season in the minors before getting called up to New York in September.  He appeared 2 games and posted a 2.70 ERA in 6 2/3 innings.  Walker appeared in 1 game for the Mets in 2002 before being picked up off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays.  In his one appearance, he allowed 1 run in 1 inning of relief in the Mets 7-5 loss to the Montreal Expos on April 20.

In 16 total appearances for the Mets in part of 3 seasons Walker posted a 1-0 record with a 4.26 ERA.

While with the Mets Walker wore number 49 in 1995 and number 43 in 2001 and 2002.

Pete Walker also played for the following teams:
San Diego Padres – 1996
Colorado Rockies – 2000
Toronto Blue Jays – 2002,2003,2005,2006

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Dicky Gonzalez – His New York Mets Career 2001

Dicky GonzalezAfter spending 5 years in the minors right-handed pitcher Dicky Gonzalez finally made his Major League debut with the Mets on May 1, 2001.  As the starting pitcher against the Houston Astros he allowed 3 runs in 4 1/3 innings to earn a no decision in the Mets 7-5 victory.  He earned his first victory in his next start, allowing 5 runs in 5 1/3 innings as the Mets beat the Colorado Rockies 10-9.  He appeared in 10 more games, splitting time between the starting rotation and bullpen, before being sent back to the minors at the end of June. At the time, his record was 2-2 with a 5.59 ERA. 

Gonzalez returned to New York in September appearing in 4 games.  Overall, he would appear in 16 games for the Mets, 7 as a starter and 9 out of the bullpen, and finished with a 3-2 record with a 4.88 ERA.

Gonzalez was traded to the Montreal Expos in a multi-player deal on April 5, 2002.

While with the Mets Gonzalez wore number 39.

Dicky Gonzalez also played for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2004.

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