From Left Field: Players With Mets Ties In World Series
Though once again we will be watching two teams other than the Mets in the Fall Classic, this year’s series features several players with Met ties.
I wouldn’t mind seeing the Texas Rangers win their first ever World Series, but I would more so like to see the former Mets play well.
Texas has five players/personnel with Mets ties.
ALCS MVP Nelson Cruz was actually a Met farmhand. Our old buddy Steve Phillips traded Cruz to the Oakland A’s in 2000 for back up shortstop Jorge Velandia.
As I’m sure most of you remember, Rey Ordonez went down with an injury that season, so the Mets traded for Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick. However, Phillips thought it best to bring in another shortstop in exchange for Cruz.
Granted with prospects, it’s always difficult to determine if they will pan out. But just imagine if the Mets had NELSON CRUZ batting in the middle of their order. The guy has raw power that he will hopefully keep displaying this week.
The Rangers have another outfielder with Met ties. Maybe you remember him: Endy Chavez.
Chavez was an unsung hero for the Mets during the 2006 season. How could we ever forget the incredible catch he made in Game 6 against the Cardinals that propelled the Mets into the World Series…or at least it should have.
Chavez has the difficult task of backing up Josh Hamilton in Texas, but he can be a valuable defensive replacement or pinch runner.
It’s been great to see Endy back on the field after a few injury plagued seasons.
Another key Met from the 2006 team, Darren Oliver, is firmly entrenched in the Rangers bullpen. Oliver was thought to be washed up when the Mets brought him in for 2006, but he had one of his best seasons. He was ‘Mr. Consistent’ all year.
Oliver signed with the Angels in 2007, but found himself in Texas for the past two seasons. Despite his age, he posted a 2.29 ERA this year.
While the Rangers are known for their potent offense, it’s been their bullpen, including Oliver, which has been their strength. He’s been buried being Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando and Neftali Feliz, but he may be called on in a big spot, especially to get a lefty out.
Technically, Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba was connected with Mets for a time. However, the Mets called off the deal in 2007 after getting the results of his physical. He’s Mike Napoli’s backup, so don’t expect to see much of Torrealba in the World Series, since Napoli is on fire right now.
There’s one other person involved with the Rangers who has Met ties, and that’s Nolan Ryan, the team’s owner.
I won’t spend too much time on this one, because I know it’s an issue that still pains Mets fans. The hard-throwing Ryan couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn while in a Met uniform, but his career took off after the Mets traded him.
At least Jim Fregosi worked out for the Mets…NOT!
While Texas has a few people connected to the Mets, the St. Louis Cardinals only have one.
Back in 1999, a young righty named Octavio Dotel burst onto the scene for the Mets. He was a bit inconsistent but had a ton of potential as a starting pitcher.
He even made the postseason roster and played a role in the two-game comeback against the Braves in the NLCS.
However, Dotel was included in the Mike Hampton trade. Hampton was a nice find for one year, and he helped pitch the Mets to the World Series in 2000. But he immediately signed with the Colorado Rockies the year after. I hope his kids have top-notch educations, since Hampton cited the school system in Denver as one of the reasons for the switch.
As for Dotel, he went on to pitch for 11 different teams. He was dealt from the Blue Jays to the Cardinals at this summer’s trade deadline and has pitched lights out. He is in search of his first career World Series title.
The Cardinals bullpen has rivaled that of the Rangers, so we’re in for a tight battle.
Does good pitching truly beat good hitting? We’ll find out soon.
About the Author: Jim Mancari
Jim Mancari hails from Massapequa, N.Y. He recently earned a Master's degree in Journalism at Hofstra University. He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets fans, Jim has plenty of hope. He also writes as the sports reporter for the Brooklyn Tablet newspaper and the senior editor of metroBASEBALL Magazine. Click my name to view my personal website.
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