Short-Term Mets: The Position Players

Nick over at Dime Boxes has had a series of posts on “Short Term Stops”, most recently he touched upon players who made a brief appearance with the (Devil) Rays.

This is the second part of my own attempt to create a similar list.  Yesterday I covered the pitchers, today I’m going to attack the position players… once again, they’re ordered from shortest cameo to longest.

Yogi Berra, 1965, 4 games

1965 Topps #470 - Yogi Berra - Courtesy of

1965 Topps #470 – Yogi Berra – Courtesy of

Where he’d been: Hall Of Famer and arguably the greatest catcher of all time. Three-time MVP, 15-time All-Star, won 10 World Championships. Played with the Yankees from 1946 to 1953

What he did for the Mets: I’ll admit, this is kind of a cheat because he was already with the Mets as a coach and became active for a handful of games. He was active from 4/27/65 to 5/17/65, caught two games, pinch hit twice.

Where he went: Remained as a Mets coach for 8 years, took over as manager after Gil Hodges suddenly passed away. Managed the Mets to the 1973 World Series, and would stay until 1975. Would later manage the Yankees and coach with the Astros.

Larry Bowa – 14 games, 1985
Disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge, cards of Larry Bowa with the Mets do not exist.  Because it’s the kind of thing I do, I made a custom based on 1985 Topps.  The photo is a “Mets-ified” version of Bowa’s 1985 Topps sticker.
1985 Topps Larry Bowa
Where he’d been: Five-time All-Star with the Phillies, Starting shortstop for the Cubs for three years, and was released in August of 1985.

What he did for the Mets: Went 2-for-19 over 14 games.

Where he went: Retirement, then was the manager of the Padres.

Don Zimmer – 14 games, 1962

1962 Topps #478 - Don Zimmer - Courtesy of

1962 Topps #478 – Don Zimmer – Courtesy of

Where he’d been: A versatile infielder with the Dodgers and Cubs. Was an All-Star in 1961 and the Mets selected him 5th in the expansion draft.

What he did for the Mets: Played in 14 games before being traded to the Reds on 5/7/1962.

Where he went: Where didn’t he go? Reds, Dodgers and Senators as a player, a year in Japan with the Toei Flyers, minor league manager, Major League coach and manager and was a Senior Advisor with the Rays when he passed away this past summer.

Shawon Dunston – 42 games, 1999
2000 MLB Showdown Shawon Dunston
Where he’d been: Manned short for years with the Cubs and may have won some Gold Gloves were it not for Ozzie Smith. Moved around between the Pirates, Indians, and Cardinals. He was sold to the Mets on 7/31/1999

What he did for the Mets: Batted .344 while playing all three outfield positions and third base. Six of his 32 hits were doubles.

Where he went: After the season ended, he went back to the Cardinals as a free agent, and then finished with the Giants in 2001 and 2002.

Mike Bordick – 56 games, 2000
2001 UD Vintage Mike Bordick
Where he’d been: A well-known defensive shortstop, he started with the A’s and was acquired by the Orioles to take over at short when Cal Ripken moved to third. On 7/28/2000 he was traded to the Mets in a deal that brought Melvin Mora to Baltimore.

What he did for the Mets: Took over at short from Melvin Mora, and managed to bat the same .260 with the Mets that Mora did. Played with the Mets through the World Series against the Yankees.

Where he went: Went back to the Orioles as a free agent, then closed out his career with the Blue Jays.

Jesus Alou – 62 games, 1975
1976 Topps Jesus Alou
Where he’d been: Was a very good outfielder with the Giants, Astros and A’s. Released by the A’s at the end of Spring Training in 1975.

What he did for the Mets: Batted .265 with 8 Runs and 11 RBI. Was cut the following spring.

Where he went: Was out of baseball for two years, and then made a comeback with the Astros.

Bobby Abreu – 76 games, 2014
2014 Topps Update Bobby Abreu
Where he’d been: Interesting… Abreu got MVP votes in 7 seasons, but was an All-Star just twice. Played for the Astros, Phillies, Yankees, Angels and Dodgers over 17 years. The Devil Rays selected him in the expansion draft and then, in what was not a promising move for the Rays organization, immediately traded him to the Phillies for Kevvin Stocker. Abreu didn’t play in 2013, played well in Winter Ball, the Phillies signed him but released him at the end of Spring Training, and the Mets picked him up.

What he did for the Mets: Got off to a good start, slumped, released, went to AAA, called up at the end of the season.

Where he went: Retirement.

Juan Samuel – 86 games, 1989
Since few of you will recognize this card, I’ll point out that it’s a 1989 Kahn’s Mets card, part of a set that was a giveaway that year.
1989 Kahn's Mets Juan Samuel
Where he’d been: A three-time All-Star with the Phillies, he was traded to the Mets for Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell. One of the Mets’ all-time worst trades. You’re welcome, Phillies fans.

What he did for the Mets: To put it in the vernacular of my New York roots, he was a BUM! Samuel batted .228 and earned my eternal disdain.

Where he went: Traded to the Dodgers after the season, he also played for the Reds, Tigers, Royals and Blue Jays.

Willie Randolph – 90 games, 1992
1992 UD Willlie Randolph
Where he’d been: Outstanding 2nd baseman and 6-time All-Star with the Yankees and Dodgers. Also played for the Brewers and A’s before signing with the Mets as a free agent.

What he did for the Mets: Batted .252 to close out his career.

Where he went: Retired, then was a coach with the Yankees for years before becoming the Mets manager and a coach for other teams.

Brett Butler – 90 games, 1995
1995 Topps Stadium Club Brett Butler
Where he’d been: Like Abreu, Brett Butler got MVP votes six times, and was only an All-Star once.  Played for the Braves, Indians, Dodgers, Giants before signing with the Mets as a free agent.

What he did for the Mets: Batted .311 with 54 runs and 25 RBI

Where he went: Traded back to the Dodgers on 8/18/1995 but missed most of 1996 while battling cancer.

Duke Snider – 129 games, 1963
1964 Topps Duke Snider
Where he’d been: Hall-of-famer with the Dodgers, he was sold to the Mets on 4/1/1963. I’m guessing that Duke hoped it was an April Fools joke.

What he did for the Mets: Batted .243 and was named an All-Star. Provided a household name for the Mets.

Where he went: Played 1964 with the Giants before retiring.

Last Minute Addendum:

Yesterday “Dimebox Nick” pointed out that one could make a case for including Octavio Dotel with the pitchers.  As I mentioned in yesterday’s comments, I tend to think of Dotel as being with the Mets longer than he was because he was in the Mets organization for 5 years, so I forget that he only spent one year actually with the Mets.

But for the sake of completeness (and because I’ve already got a readily available image of a Dotel image)…

Octavio Dotel, 19 games, 1999
1999 Upper Deck Victory Octavio Dotel
Where he’d been: Coming up through the Mets’ system.

What he did for the Mets: Are you ready to have your mind blown a tiny little bit? Dotel was a starter for most of his time with the Mets. He started 14 games and finished with an 8-3 record and a 5.83 ERA.

Where he went: He was traded to the Astros in December, 1999… After that he played for [takes a deep breath] the A’s, Yankees, Royals, Braves, White Sox, Dodgers, Pirates, Rockies, Blue Jays, Cardinals and Tigers.

There are a number of other players I could’ve featured, like Jeff Conine, but I figured that the post was already long enough.  I wouldn’t be completely surprised if I left out somebody obvious, so feel free to virtually whack me upside the head in the comments section!

I Do Not Know What A “Rheum” Is

I am so far behind in sharing my new acquisitions…


…I’m so far behind that I’ve almost caught up to myself. Every time I go to a show or order off COMC I scan all the vintage cards and some of the more interesting post-vintage things, but for the most part the scans just build up because I never get around to writing about them.

This post is the first attempt to catch up, and all three cards are of Don Zimmer in his post-Dodger playing days.

Don Zimmer got around a bit in the early 1960’s. Shortly before the start of the 1960 season, the Dodgers traded Zimmer to the Cubs for a package of players and cash. He stayed with the Cubs for two seasons before being drafted by the Mets in the October, 1961 expansion draft.

There techically aren’t any Mets in the 1962 Post set – I guess because they used photos from 1961 and didn’t do any airbrushing – but if you look at the last line of text on this card, you can see there are cards which reference the fact that the featured player was drafted by the Mets.

1962 Post Don Zimmer
The Gil Hodges card (which I don’t have) has a similar line on it.

One of the Mets’ objectives in putting together that first team was to obtain players who would be familiar to the New York baseball fan, and Zimmer certainly fell into that category. Despite that, he only played 14 games for the Mets before he was (mercifully?) traded to the Reds.

Zimmer finished 1962 in Cincinnati, but during the following winter was traded to the Dodgers for a minor leaguer.

Anyone care to guess whether these are Cubs pinstripes or Mets pinstripes on this Dodgers card?
1963 Topps Don Zimmer

His second stint in LA was short, because he was sold to the Senators that June. He’d finish out his major league career with 2.5 seasons in D.C., after which he played one very unspectacular season in Japan.

1964 Topps Don Zimmer

…and if you’re wondering what the subject line has to do with any of this…

…”Zimmer” is the German word for “room”… or “rheum”, if you prefer.