The New York Mets signed Jae Seo, a native of South Korea, as an amateur free agent on December 17, 1997. But reconstructive arm surgery derailed his career and he did not make his Major League debut until July 21, 2002, a one-inning relief appearance in a blowout loss to the Cincinnati Reds, by appearing in the game Seo became the first Korean born player in franchise history. It would be his only appearance in a Mets uniform for the season as he was immediately demoted back to the minors where he finished out the season.
In 2003, Seo broke into the Mets starting rotation and record his first major league win on April 17 by pitching seven shutout innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would go onto pitch in 32 games, all but one as a starter, He finished the season with a 9-12 record and a 3.82 ERA. He returned in 2004, appearing in 24 games, posting a 5-10 record and a 4.90 ERA.
After starting the 2005 season in the minor leagues, Seo returned to the majors and pitched effectively despite missing some time on the disabled list, posting an 8-2 record and 2.59 ERA in 14 games. But despite his success the Mets traded Seo to the Los Angeles Dodgers for reliever Duaner Sanchez before the 2006 season. The deal surprised many at first, but it turned out the Mets traded him at just the right time. Seo struggled over the next two seasons with the Dodgers and Tampa Bay Devil Rays and eventually returned to his native South Korea to pitch for the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball League.
In three plus seasons with the Mets Jae Seo posted a 22-24 record with a 3.85 ERA.
While with the Mets Seo wore number 38 in 2002 number 40 in 2003 and number 26 from 2004-2005/
Jae Seo also played for the following teams:
Los Angeles Dodgers – 2006
Tampa Bay Devil Rays = 2006,2007
David Weathers was a ten-year journeyman reliever when the Mets signed him as a free agent prior to the 2002 season. Serving mainly as setup man for the Mets in 2002 Weathers appeared in 71 games, the most on the team and posted a 6-3 record with very respectable 2.91 ERA. He once again led the Mets in appearances in 2003, this time with 77 but was not as effective. He won only one game while losing six but did manage to save seven games. After starting the 2004 season with a 5-3 record but with 4.28 ERA he was traded to the Houston Astros in the middle of June along with Jeremy Griffiths in exchange for Richard Hidalgo.
In 180 games for the Mets over three seasons David Weathers posted a 12-12 record with 7 saves and a 3.22 ERA.
While with the Mets Weathers wore number 35.
David Weathers also played for the following teams:
Toronto Blue Jays = 1991,1992
Florida Marlins – 1993-1995, 2004
New York Yankees – 1996,1997
Cincinnati Reds – 1997, 1998, 2005-2009
Milwaukee Brewers = 1998-2001, 2009
Chicago Cubs = 2001
Houston Astros – 2004
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
The Mets signed left-handed reliever Mike Stanton as a free agent on December 16, 2002. Prior to joining the Mets Stanton spent the previous six seasons playing for the Yankees where he played an integral part in helping them win three World Series titles. The Mets planned to use Stanton in the same manor the Yankees did, as a left-handed setup man.
Stanton made his Met debut on April 3, 2003 pitching a scoreless 8th inning in the Mets 4-1 win over the Chicago Cubs. Stanton would go on to appear in 50 games and post a 2-7 record with 5 saves and a 4.57 ERA. His first win as a Met came on April 25 when he pitched 2 scoreless innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Stanton returned in 2004 and set the Mets single season record for appearances by a pitcher with 83. A record that was broken in 2008 by Pedro Feliciano. Stanton went 2-6 with a 3.16 ERA. On August 3 against the Milwaukee Brewers, he became the second pitcher in Mets history to strikeout 4 batters in one inning. The other being Derek Wallace.
Following the season, the Mets traded Stanton back to the Yankees for Felix Heredia. While with the Mets Stanton appeared in 133 games and posted a 4-13 record with 5 saves and a 3.68 ERA.
While with the Mets Stanton wore number 32.
Mike Stanton also played for the following teams:
Atlanta Braves – 1989-1995
Boston Red Sox – 1995,1996,2005
Texas Rangers – 1996
New York Yankees – 1997-2002,2005
Washington Nationals – 2005,2006
San Francisco Giants – 2006
Cincinnati Reds – 2007
Right-handed pitcher Jeremy Griffiths was selected by the Mets in the third round of the 1999 amateur draft. He made his Major League debut on June 5, 2003 against the Milwaukee Brewers pitching two innings of scoreless relief in a game the Mets would lose 8-7.He would go on to appear in 9 games for the Mets, 6 as a starter, and finished with 1-4 record with a 7.02 ERA.His best outing resulted in his only win as a Met.On August 3 against the St. Louis Cardinals he pitched 7 innings and allowed 6 hits and 1 earned run as the Mets won 13-5.
Griffiths pitched in the minors for the Mets in 2004 before being traded to the Houston Astros along with David Weathers for Richard Hidalgo on June 17,2004.
While with the Mets Griffiths wore number 46.
Jeremy Griffiths also played for the Houston Astros in 2004.
The Mets drafted outfielder Jeff Duncan in the 7th round of the 2000 amateur draft.He would make his Major League debut with the Mets on May 20, 2003 as a pinch hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies, he hit into a fielder’s choice.He played in three more games before returning to the minors. Duncan returned to New York in mid July and got off to a fast start, he hit .400 during his first 11 games back in the majors, 12 for 30.During that span, he also hit his first Major League home run, a solo shot against the Philadelphia Phillies on July 12.Unfortunately, he would struggle the remainder of the season.In 56 games, he hit just .194 with a home run and 10 RBIs.
Duncan started the 2004 season with the Mets, but after hitting just .067 in 13 games, mainly as a pinch hitter, he was sent down to the minors.He remained in the Mets organization before being released on August 10, 2005.
In 69 games for the Mets Duncan hit .182 with 1 home runs and 11 RBIs.
While with the Mets Duncan wore number 61 in 2003 and number 10 in 2004.
As a member of the Anaheim Angels Mo Vaughn missed the entire 2001 season with an injury and many thought that he was washed up and could no longer be a useful Major League ballplayer.But Mets General Manager Steve Phillips along with Manager Bobby Valentine liked what they saw when they witnessed Vaughn take batting practice during the off-season.Based on that the Mets thought Vaughn was ready to return to the form that won him an MVP with the Boston Red Sox in 1995 and traded Kevin Appier to the Angels to acquire his services.But it didn’t work out that way as Vaughn never returned to his old form. Instead he became the poster child for Met futility in the early 2000’s.
In his second game as a Met in 2002 he hit his first home run of the season; it was also the 300th of his career.By the end of the month he was hitting .311 but with very little power.As the season wore on he struggled at the plate and would end up leading the Mets in strikeouts with 145. He did manage to finish the season with 26 home runs, many of the moon-shot variety, but only drove in 72 runs for the season.A far cry from the 100 or so RBIs he used to accumulate while with the Angels and Red Sox.His lack of range as the team’s first baseman also didn’t help matters as the fans and the press began to regularly get on his case.The only time the fans really embraced him was when he hit a game winning three run home run against the hated Yankees on June 16th.
Mo Vaughn entered the 2003 season looking for a fresh start but a knee injury at the beginning of May not only sidelined him for the season it also ended his career.At the time, he was hitting just .190 with 3 home runs and 15 RBIs.
In 166 games for the Mets Vaughn hit .249 with 29 home runs and 87 RBIs.
While with the Mets Vaughn wore number 42.
Mo Vaughn also played for the Boston Red Sox from 1991-1998 and the Anaheim Angles in 1999 and 2000.
When Jason Phillips’ wife went into labor, it was not only a great day for the Phillips family it was a great day for Joe DePastino as well.With Phillips away from the team visiting his wife and newborn baby, the Mets called up Joe DePastino to take his place.After ten years in the minors DePastino had finally made it to the majors.
DePastino made his Major League debut on August 5 as a pinch hitter for pitcher Dan Wheeler and grounded out to third base.He made one more appearance the following day once again as a pinch hitter, this time he struck out.Following his pinch-hit appearance, he remained in the game and finished the game as the Mets catcher.
When Jason Phillips returned to Mets, DePastino was sent back down to the minors ending his Major League career.
Outfielder Raul Gonzalez was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds along with Pedro Feliciano Brady Clark and Elvin Andujar in exchange for Shawn Estes on August 15, 2002.He got off to a strong start going 2 for 3 against the San Francisco Giants in his Mets debut on August 21st.He followed that up with a 2 for 4 performance the next day.He finished out the 2002 season strong hitting .259 with three home runs and eleven RBI’s.Two of his home runs came in one game on August 25th against the Colorado Rockies.
Gonzalez started the 2003 season in the minors with the Norfolk Tides, the Mets triple A affiliate, and got off to a strong start.Based on his strong showing in the minors Gonzalez was brought back to the Mets on April 23rd.In his first at bat of the season against the Houston Astros Gonzalez hit a home run.Gonzalez would finish out the season with the Mets but could never gain any consistency hitting a disappointing .230 in 107 games with just two home runs and 21 runs batted in.
Gonzalez started the 2004 season with the Norfolk Tides but after hitting .262 in his first 18 games he was released by the Mets on May 17th and signed with the Cleveland Indians.
In 137 games with the Mets over two seasons Gonzalez hit .238 with five home runs and 32 RBI’s.
While with the Mets Gonzalez wore number 21.
Raul Gonzalez also played for the following teams:
Chicago Cubs – 2000
Cincinnati Reds – 2001,2002
Cleveland Indians – 2004
Despite marginal talent Tsuyoshi Shinjo was a very popular player in his native Japan due in large part to his bubbling personality, positive attitude and his flashy clothes.But after ten years playing for the Hanshin Tigers Shinjo decided it was time to take his talents to the U.S. and signed with the Mets.Much like in his native Japan Shinjo quickly became a fan favorite for many of the same reasons.Met fans especially loved the little hop he generated after catching a fly ball.
After hitting a home run in the Mets home opener, Shinjo went on the have a solid season at the plate while playing stellar defense in the outfield.He finished the season with 10 home runs and 56 RBIs and was named to the Topps All-Rookie team.But despite his popularity the Mets traded him to the San Francisco Giants along with Desi Relaford in exchange for pitcher Shawn Estes during the off-season.He spent one disappointing season with the Giants but did manage to become the first Japanese player to appear in a World Series game.After the season, the Giants released him and he once again signed with the Mets.
His second tour of duty with the Mets was not like the first.He struggled at the plate and with his average at just .193 the Mets sent him down to the minors at the end of June where he finished out the season playing for the Norfolk Tides.Following the season Shinjo returned to Japan where he finished out his playing career with the Nippon Ham Fighters before retiring after the 2006 season.
In 185 games for the Mets Shinjo batted .251 with 11 home runs and 63 RBIs.
While with the Mets Shinjo wore number 5.
Tsuyoshi Shinjo also played for the San Francisco Giants in 2002.