As a kid, many of us dreamed of getting to the big leagues. Chances are, if you’re reading this – you didn’t make it, either. Most of the players who ever were drafted never make it through the ranks of the minors. Of the fortunate few who make to the Majors, even fewer go onto long, successful careers. Many only have cups of coffee with a few brief moments in the sun of a Big League Diamond.
In 52 seasons, the Mets have had 26 different non-pitchers who have been One-Hit Wonders in a Mets uniform. Four of these men had MLB careers with over 200 base hits:
Emil Brown – 581 hits over 10 years with 5 teams with his final hit with the Mets
Brook Fordyce – 467 hits over 10 years with 5 teams – his first with the Mets
Gary Bennett – 408 hits over 13 years with 8 teams – #72 with the Mets
Craig Shipley – 364 hits over 11 years with 5 teams, #13 with the Mets
But there were eight different men that were truly One-Hit Wonders. There were eight Mets non-pitchers that recorded only one base hit in their major league careers. While their careers were but brief, they will always be Mets – and they should be remembered.
- Chris Jelic – Chris played in four major league games in 1990 and recorded his lone MLB hit on October 3rd in the final game of the season at Three Rivers Stadium agains the Pittsburgh Pirates. Frank Viola would win his 20th game that day and Chris was starting in left field, batting 6th in the lineup. In the top of the 8th, Chris was leading off the inning facing Doug Bair with the Mets leading 4-3. On a 3-1 count, he hit a home run to left-center to put the Mets up 5-3 before being replaced for defense for the ninth. After crossing home plate, Chris would never play on a Major League field again.
- Frank Estrada – Frank collected his lone hit in his single game in the Majors on September 14, 1971 – the first game of a doubleheader against the Montreal Expos at Shea Stadium. The Mets were getting blown out 12-0 when he entered the game in the top of the 6th, replacing Jerry Grote behind the plate, catching Charlie Williams. Frank came to the plate for his first MLB at bat in the bottom of the 7th with the Mets still trailing 12-0. With two out and nobody on, he hit a single to left field off Bill Stoneman, where he was stranded after the next batter, Ted Martinez, fouled out to third. Frank had only one other major league plate appearance when he grounded out back to Bill Stoneman for the final out in the Mets 12-1 loss.
- Greg Harts – Greg appeared in three MLB games in 1973, recording his only career hit in first big league at bat on September 15th in the second game of a doubleheader at Shea Stadium against the Chicago Cubs. He entered the game in the bottom of the 5th as a pinch hitter for pitcher Buzz Capra with the Mets trailing 5-0 in a game they would eventually lose 7-0. He stepped in against Rick Reuschel with two out and the bases empty and stroked a single to center.
- Jay Kleven – Jay played in two major league games in 1976, but collected his lone major league hit at Wrigley Field against the Cubs on June 27, 1976. Jay entered the game in the top of the 6th inning with the Mets up 11-0 as a pinch hitter for Jerry Grote. He stepped into the batters box against rookie pitcher and future Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter (who at the time was pitching in his 19th big league game with just 2 saves under his belt). With one out and two on, Jay singled to left field driving in Del Under and Wayne Garrett to put the Mets up 13-0. He took his place behind the plate in the bottom of the inning where he finished the game, catching Craig Swan followed by Skip Lockwood.
- Mike Bishop – Mike appeared in three MLB games in 1983, and achieved his one base hit on April 20, 1983 in the second game of a doubleheader at Shea Stadium against the Pittsburgh Pirates in front of 4,041 fans. Mike started that game behind the plate, batting 6th in a lineup that featured Mookie Wilson, Ron Gardenhire, Dave Kingman, Rusty Staub, and Wally Backman. The Mets won that game 7-5 and Mike caught starting pitcher Mike Torrez, winning pitcher Carlos Diaz, and Neil Allen earned the save. Mike came to bat in the bottom of the 2nd off the Pirates Lee Tunnell with one on and one out and the Mets trailing 0-2. He stroked a double to left, sending Danny Heep to third base and scored when Wally Backman drove him in as the next batter.
- Dave Liddell – David appeared in one Major League game. The Mets lost on June 3, 1990, a Sunday afternoon at Veterans Stadium to the Phillies 8-3 and while Sid Fernandez got beat up, lasting only 3 1/3 innings, it was Dave’s day to shine. He entered the game to lead off the top of the 8th with the Mets down 8-1, pinch hitting for Mackey Sasser. He stepped into the batters box against Pat Combs and on the first and only big league pitch he would ever see, he hit a ground ball single up the middle and into center field and found himself standing on first base. He reached second on a Kevin Elster walk. He advanced to third on a fly ball by Mark Carreon. He completed his ride around the bases on a 1-0 wild pitch and scored his only major league run. He remained in the game to catch the bottom of the 8th to catch Julio Machado. He is in the record books with a career 1.000 batting average.
- Tito Navarro – Tito played in 12 games with the Mets in 1993, but only collected 1 hit and has a career batting average of .059. His lone hit came on September 18th at Fulton County Stadium against the Atlanta Braves when he entered the game in the top of the 10th inning as a pinch hitter for pitcher Jeff Innis. The game was tied 2-2 and Tito was facing Steve Bedrosian with two on and two out. He lined a single to right field to drive in Darrin Jackson from second base for the eventual game winning run.
- Mike Glavine – the most recent member of our One-Hit Wonder club has a very famous brother. Mike is the younger brother of 305 game winner Tom Glavine and Mike achieved his only MLB hit in 2003, which was also Tom’s first year with the team. Mike played in 6 MLB games and in his final MLB at bat on September 28th, he got his lone hit. The Mets were playing the Florida Marlins on the next to last day of the season at Pro Player stadium and were trailing 4-0 when Mike entered the game in the top of the 6th inning as a pinch hitter for First Baseman (and current Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association) Tony Clark. He struck out swinging in his first at bat against Rick Helling, but when he stepped to the plate in the top of the 9th with two out and nobody on to face Braden Looper, he singled to center field.