Darren Bragg – His New York Mets Career 2001

Darren BraggThe Mets signed Darren Bragg, a journeyman outfielder, as a free agent prior to the 2001 season.  He made his Met debut on May 16, 2001; as the leadoff hitter he doubled in his first at bat.  He would appear in 18 games for the Mets, playing all three outfield positions.  But in the middle of June the Mets placed him on waivers and he was picked up by the Mets cross town rivals the New York Yankees.  At the time he was hitting a respectable .263 with five RBIs.  Four of his five RBIs came in one game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 18.

The Mets resigned Bragg following the season but released him before the season started.  He played another three seasons in the majors.

While with the Mets Bragg wore number 56.

Darren Bragg also played for the following teams:
Seattle Mariners – 1994-1996
Boston Red Sox – 1996-1998
St. Louis Cardinals – 1999
Colorado Rockies – 2000
New York Yankees – 2001
Atlanta Braves – 2002,2003
San Diego Padres – 2004
Cincinnati Reds – 2004

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Gary Bennett – His New York Mets Career 2001

Gary Bennett was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies on July 23, 2001 in exchange for fellow catcher Todd Pratt. However, he did not have time to unpack his bags before being shipped out of town once again.   He made his Mets debut the next day when he pinch hit for Kevin Appier and singled to right field.  It would be his only appearance in a Met uniform as he was demoted to the minors following the game.  After spending a month playing for the Norfolk Tides, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies.

While with the Mets Bennett wore number 7.

Gary Bennett also played for the following teams:
Philadelphia Phillies – 1995,1996,1998-2001
Colorado Rockies – 2001,2002
San Diego Padres – 2003
Milwaukee Brewers – 2004
Washington Nationals – 2005
St. Louis Cardinals – 2006,2007
Los Angeles Dodgers – 2008

Desi Relaford – His New York Mets Career 2001

Desi RekadiedDesi Relaford was claimed by the Mets off waivers from the San Diego Padres following the 2000 season.  Relaford joined the Mets as a backup utility infielder in 2001.  After a slow start, Relaford busted out in a game on April 26th against the Brewers going 4 for 4 with a homer and a double.  From that point on he became a fan favorite due in large part to his hustle and hardnosed play.  He finished the season with a .302 average, 8 home runs and 36 RBIs and even led the Mets in stolen bases with 13.   But perhaps he is best remembered for his appearance on the mound.  On May 17, 2001, the Mets were being blown out by the San Diego Padres by a score of 15-3.  Having already used five pitchers in the game Met manager Bobby Valentine gave the ball to Relaford to pitch the top of the 9th.  Relaford excited what was left of the sparse crowd pitching a 1-2-3 inning.  He even struck out a batter with a fast ball that was clocked in the low 90‘s

Despite his success with the Mets, 2001 would be his only season in New York.  Looking to solidify their starting pitching the Mets traded Relaford along with Tsuyoshi Shinjo to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for pitcher Shawn Estes following the season.  He would play another five seasons in the majors before retiring after the 2007 season.

While with the Mets Relaford wore number 8.

Desi Relaford also played for the following teams:
Philadelphia Phillies – 1996-2000
San Diego Padres – 2000
Seattle Mariners – 2002
Kansas City Royals – 2003,2004
Colorado Rockies – 2005
Texas Rangers – 2007

Vance Wilson – His New York Mets Career 1999-2004

Vance WilsonAfter two brief cups of coffee with the Mets in 1999 and 2000 catcher Vance Wilson was promoted to the Mets in July of 2001 and would stay with the big club for the next four seasons serving as backup to All-star Mike Piazza.   His greatest strength to the Mets was his ability to throw out base runners and he was used primarily as a late inning defensive replacement.  From 2001 to 2003 Wilson. was one of the top catchers in the league in throwing out base runners, averaging 45%.

Offensively he was no match for Mike Piazza, arguably the best hitting catcher in the history of the game, but Wilson did manage to put up some respectable numbers.  In 2003, he posted career bests with 8 home runs and 39 RBI’s. and hit a career best .274 in 2004.   

Following the 2004 season the Mets traded Vance Wilson to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for infielder Anderson Hernandez.  In 286 games with the Mets from 1999-2004 Wilson hit .254 with 17 home runs and 92 RBIs.  He also threw out 44% of would be base stealers.

While with the Mets Wilson wore number 3.

Vance Wilson also played for the Detroit Tigers in 2005 and 2006.

 

 

 

 

Todd Zeile – His New York Mets Career 2000,2001,2004

Todd ZeileOver the course of his 16-year career Todd Zeile played for 11 different teams including two stints with the Mets.   When the Mets initially signed Todd Zeile prior to the 2000 season it came as a surprise to many not because he wasn’t a solid major league player but because he was signed to play first base to replace the departed John Olerud.  The problem was that Todd Zeile was not a first baseman.  He had played sporadically at the position during his career but played mainly third base after starting his career at catcher.    Nevertheless, Zeile proved to be a steady defensive first baseman, not flashy but got the job done, while putting up solid offensive numbers.  In his first year in New York Zeile hit .268 with 22 home runs and 79 RBIs, including a 13-game hitting streak in June, and helped the Mets reach the World Series for the first time since 1986.

In the postseason Zeile had a horrendous NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, he hit just .071.  However, in the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals he caught fire.  He hit .368 with a home run while driving in a team best eight runs as the Mets defeated the Cardinals in five games.  His eight RBIs were the most by a Met player in postseason series in franchise history.

He continued his hot hitting in the World Series against the Yankees.  Zeile hit .400 but only drove in 1 run as the Mets lost the series in five games. In game one Todd Zeile hit what appeared to be a two-run home run that would have given the Mets an early lead, but the ball bounced off the top of the wall, though replays showed it might have been interfered with by a fan.  Zeile was only credited with a double and base runner Timo Perez was thrown out at the plate.  Instead of being up 2-0, the game remained scoreless and the rest as they say is history.

Zeile returned for the 2001 season, but his power numbers dipped dramatically. He hit only 10 home runs while driving in 62 and led the team in strikeouts with 102 as the Mets struggled for most of the season.  Based in large part to his power deficiency the Mets decided to trade Zeile to the Colorado Rockies in the off-season along with Benny Agbayani in exchange for Alex Ochoa, Ross Glad and Craig House.

Zeile would play one season in Colorado before moving on to play for the Yankees and Expos in 2003.  The Mets than decided to give Zeile another chance and signed him as a free agent prior to the 2004 season, in what proved to be his last season as a player.  Zeile played in 137 games in 2004 but hit just .233 with 9 home runs and 33 RBIs as the Mets suffered through a terrible season.  However, Zeile did manage to reach a significant milestone in his final season by recording his 2000th career hit.  In his last game as a professional on October 3rd, the last game of the season, the Mets allowed Zeile to play one final game as a catcher.  In his last at bat of his career, he hit a three-run home run.

In three seasons with the Mets Zeile appeared in 441 games and hit .259 with 41 home runs and 176 RBIs.

While with the Mets Zeile wore number 9 in 2000 and 2001 and number 27 in 2004.

Todd Zeile also played for the following teams:
St. Louis Cardinals – 1989-1995
Chicago Cubs – 1995
Baltimore Orioles – 1996
Philadelphia Phillies – 1996
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1997,1998
Texas Rangers – 1998,1999
Florida Marlins – 1998
Colorado Rockies – 2002
New York Yankees – 2003
Montreal Expos – 2003

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Edgardo Alfonzo – His New York Mets Career 1995-2002

Edgardo AlfonzoEdgardo Alfonzo made his Major League debut with the Mets on April 26, 1995 and would go on to play eight seasons with the team becoming one of the most popular players in team history as evidenced by his being voted the greatest 2nd baseman in Mets history by the fans as part of their 40th Anniversary Celebration.

After two good yet unspectacular seasons in 1995 and 1996 Alfonzo broke out in 1997 hitting a team best .315.  But his best season with the Mets came in 1999 when he established himself as one of the top hitters in the game.  He hit 27 home runs and drove in 108 while helping the Mets reach the postseason for the first time since 1988.  He also set the Mets single season record for runs scored with 123.   On August 30th against the Houston Astros Alfonzo had a career day by becoming the first player and to date the only player in franchise history to go 6 for 6 in a game.  He hit three home runs and drove in five and became the first player since the legendary Ty Cobb to go 6 for 6 with three home runs in a game.

In 1999 Edgardo Alfonzo also established himself as one of the games best defensive players. After playing most of his career at 3rd base Alfonzo moved to 2nd base and committed just five errors for a .993 fielding percentage. Many believe he should have won the gold glove but he was beaten out by Pokey Reese of the Reds.

In order for the Mets to make the postseason in 1999 the Mets were forced to play a one game playoff against the Cincinnati Reds.  Alfonzo hit a two run home run in the first inning of the game which proved to be all the runs the Mets needed as they went on to win 5-0.

Alfonzo continued his hot hitting in his first postseason game against the Arizona Diamondback hitting two home runs including a grand slam while driving in five runs.  In all he hit three home runs and drove in six in helping the Mets defeat the Diamondbacks in the NLDS.  He continued his great hitting in the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves with another home run and five RBI’s but the Mets lost to the Braves in six games.

In 2000 he continued his stellar play and earned his first All-Star selection by hitting a career best .324 with 25 home runs and 94 RBI’s in helping the Mets reach the World Series for the first time since 1986.

Alfonzo’s production started to suffer in 2001 and 2002, due in large part to back problems and the Mets let him walk as a free agent following the 2002 season much to the chagrin of many Mets fans including this one.  But it turned out to be the right move as his production continued to decline. 

Edgardo Alfonzo did try to make a comeback with the Mets in 2006 signing with their Triple A affiliate the Norfolk Tides but the bid fell short and Alfonzo never made it back to the big leagues. 

In his eight seasons with the Mets Alfonzo hit .292 with 120 home runs and 538 RBI’s in 1086 games.

In 24 postseason games Alfonzo hit .240 with 4 home runs and 17 RBI’s.

While with the Mets Edgardo Alfonzo wore number 13 in tribute to his fellow countryman Dave Concepcion from Valenzuela.

Edgardo Alfonzo also played for the following teams:
San Francisco Giants – 2003-2005
Los Angeles Angels – 2006
Toronto Blue Jays – 2006

 

Brett Hinchliffe – His New York Mets Career 2001

When the Mets needed an emergency starter in 2001 they reached down to the minors and tapped Brett Hinchliffe, a career minor leaguer who had two brief stints in the majors with the Seattle Mariners and Anaheim Angels.  Hinchliffe started against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 26 but lasted just 2 innings yielding 9 hits and 8 runs and suffered the loss in a game the Mets would lose 12-8.   Following the game he was shipped back down to the minors.  It would be his only appearance as a Met and his last appearance in a Major League uniform.   

While with the Mets Hinchliffe wore number 32.

Brett Hinchliffe also played for the following teams:

Seattle Mariners – 1999
Anaheim Angels – 2000

Steve Trachsel – His New York Mets Career 2001-2006

steve-trachselSteve Trachsel was a bit of an enigma during his Mets career, at times looking untouchable and at times looking like he never picked up a ball in his life.  But overall it can be said that Trachsel’s six seasons with the Mets were fairly successful as he posted a 66 and 59 record including a 16-win season in 2003.

His Met career began in 2001 when the Mets were looking to replace 2 members of their pitching staff, Mike Hampton and Bobby Jones, who left via free agency.   One of the pitchers they chose to take a chance on was Steve Trachsel, a sub .500 pitcher known as an innings eater who had mainly played on bad teams, the Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.  Prior to joining the Mets his claim to fame was being the pitcher who gave up Mark McGwire’s 62nd home run in 1998. 

Trachsel’s Met career could not have gotten off to a worst start, after giving up 10 earned runs over 5 innings in his Met debut he would go on to lose 6 of his first 8 decisions.  The lowlight coming on May 17th when he surrendered 7 runs over 2 1/3 innings including giving up 4 home runs in the third inning. 

With a 1-6 record and an ERA of 8.24 the Met fans were beyond restless and the boo birds were out in force at Shea Stadium.  Scratching their heads to determine what could be done the Met brass asked Trachsel to go down to the minors to try and work things out.  As a 7 year major league veteran Trachsel had the right to refuse the assignment but to his credit he accepted the demotion and made his way to the Norfolk Tides.  Despite losing his first start back, his three-week stint in the minors did the trick.  He went 10-7 for the remainder of the season with a 3.35 ERA in 20 starts. 

In 2002 Trachsel posted an 11 and 11 record but with a very respectable 3.37 ERA (the lowest of his Met career) for a very bad Mets team.  2003 would be his best season with the Mets; he led the team with 16 wins, the most in his career, while losing 10.  Included in his 16 wins were 2 complete game 1 hit shutouts, on June 15th and August 18th, becoming the first pitcher in franchise history to pitch 2 one-hitters in a season.  Overall his statistics were pretty much the same in 2004, though his win total dipped to 12. 

Suffering from a herniated disk in his back, Trachsel missed most the 2005 season. He did not appear in a game until August 26th.  He finished out the seasons with just 1-4 record and 4.14 ERA.

Trachsel returned to form in 2006 winning 15 games, tied for most on the team with Tom Glavine despite posting a 4.97 ERA as the Mets ran away with the National League East.  His 15th win of the season came on September 18th as the Mets clinched the division title.  But his regular season success did not carry over to the postseason.  In game 3 of the NLCS against the St Louis Cardinals, Trachsel pitched just 1 inning and allowed 5 runs.  The Mets would lose the game 5-0 and would eventually lose the series in 7 games.

The Mets chose not to resign Trachsel following the season and he signed with the Baltimore Orioles. In his 6 seasons with the Mets, Trachsel won 66 and lost 59 with a 4.09 ERA.

While with the Mets Trachsel wore number 29. 

Steve Trachsel also played for the following teams:
Chicago Cubs – 1993-1999,2007
Tampa Bay Devil Rays – 2000
Toronto Blue Jays – 2000
Baltimore Orioles – 2007,2008

C.J. Nitkowski – His New York Mets Career 2001

cj nitkowski.pngThe Mets acquired veteran left-handed pitcher C.J. Nitkowski from the Detroit Tigers on September 1, 2001.  He made his Met debut two days later on September 3 and pitched one inning of scoreless relief against the Philadelphia Phillies to earn the victory.  He would appear in a total of five games for the Mets in the final month of the season pitching 5 2/3 innings without allowing a run.  His final record with the Mets was 1-0 with 0.00 ERA.

Following the season C.J. Nitkowski signed as a free agent with the Houston Astros. 

While with the Mets Nitkowski wore number 40.

C.J. Nitkowski also played for the following teams:
Detroit Tigers – 1995,1996, 1999-2001
Cincinnati Reds – 1995
Houston Astros – 1998
Texas Rangers – 2002,2003
New York Yankees – 2004
Atlanta Braves – 2004
Washington Nationals – 2005

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Jorge Velandia – His New York Mets Career 2000,2001,2003

The New York Mets acquired infielder Jorge Velandia from the Oakland A’s on August 30, 2000 from the Oakland A’s in exchange for Nelson Cruz.  He made his Met debut a week later on September 6th against the Cincinnati Reds as late game defensive replacement at second base.  He would go on to appear in 16 games for the Mets down the stretch, serving mainly as a defensive replacement and pinch runner.  He stepped to the plate 7 times but failed to get a hit.

Velandia spent the 2001 season with the Mets Triple A affiliate the Norfolk Tides before returning to the big club as a September call up.  Like his 2000 stint he served mainly as a defensive replacement and pinch runner.  He went 0-9 at the plate.

Velandia would spend the entire 2002 season in the minors and most the 2003 season before being called up as a September call up.  As the Mets starting shortstop on September 3 ,2003 he recorded his first hit as a Met, a triple off Russ Ortiz of the Atlanta Braves.  He would go on to appear in 23 games for the Mets, all at shortstop.  He hit .274 (11 for 58) with 8 RBI’s.

Following the season Velandia signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Braves.  In 47 games for the Mets Velandia hit .149 with 8 RBI’s.

While with the Mets Velandia wore # 11 in 2000 and 2001 and #13 in 2003

Jorge Velandia also played for the following teams:
San Diego Padres – 1997
Oakland A’s – 1998-2000
Tampa Bay Rays –
  2007
Cleveland Indians – 2008
Toronto Blue Jays – 2008