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What Number Should They Issue to 'Fartinez'?
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Mets by the Numbers

The Mets Website That Counts

The Thole Grail?

With many of the likely candidates already forced up to the big league level (and the playoff roster set!)  the Mets are expected to make few recalls now that the calendar turns to September and active rosters expand to 40.

One exception is Class AA catcher Josh Thole, who has been recalled from Binghamton and is expected to be in uniform No. 30 for the Mets' game Tuesday in Denver. A lefthanded hitter with a nice swing but minimal power, Thole might already be an upgrade over Brian Schneider, whose Met career is grinding to a dreadful finish. Thole will be the first Met No. 30 since another catcher, Raul Casanova, early last season.

Thole will become the 52nd Met of the year, as 2009 approaches the team record of 54 players set in 1967.


The Garment District

Or, 35 and Broadway: That's the uni Lance Broadway turned up in yesterday, in his first appearance with the Mets since being acquired from the White Sox earlier this year for Ramon Castro. Broadway arrived when the Mets noticed something was wrong with Oliver Perez. Broadway is the first Met to suit up in 35 since Bazooka Joe Smith last season.


Great. Who'd We Get?

That's my question upon learning the Mets sucessufully vomited Billy Wagner onto the Red Sox like he was a lead in a 2006 NLCS game. Bye bye Billy.

Wagner's spot on the roster will be filled by Pat Misch, up for the second time in the last few days. Misch was initially brought up when the Mets designated Andy Green for assignment, then demoted the next day when Ken Takahashi returned.

Meantime, you may have heard that Johan Santana joined the DL and will return in the spring. Presumably. He's been replaced by Nick Evans. Just as earlier this year, in case you forgot: Misch is wearing 48; Takahashi is in 36 and Evans in the immortal No. 6.

 I'd say more but I'm taking the week off!

Hello Goodbye

Billy Wagner is back again with the Mets but hopefully only long enough to make a deal to get him out of my sight for good. I'm especially hoping that Omar manages to swap him to the Yankees or Phillies, both of which need a lefty in the pen and deserve the kind of rotten fate a jerk like Wagner seems to bring along with his fiery fastball.

Activating Wagner meant the Mets today released Livan Hernandez, who certainly seemed to have lost a grip on things lately but still seems a curious choice for unemployment with Tim Redding getting another astonishing stay of execution.

Has any Met free agent pitcher in their history performed as badly as Redding this year and gotten so little credit for it? It's taken season-ending injuries to three different starting pitchers to save him thus far, and he's still not been reinserted to the rotation. (Turns out, he has: He's going to take Livan's start on Saturday).

Anyway, so long No. 61. I thought you were OK. Hello, Billy. Don't unpack too much.


Head Injuries

After a remarkably plodding six years under Trax, 29 has again run wild.Should have known as soon as I complained about the glut of lousy middle infielders on the Mets we'd be doomed to encounter still more.

David Wright's beaning and subsequent disabled-listing prompted the Mets to recall veteran mediocre minor-league warrior Andy Green -- and on the same night reach back into this year's troubling history to summon Wilson Valdez when it finally became clear, after months of applauding the effort, that Alex Cora's look-ma-no-thumbs act had caused way more trouble than it could ever solve.

Imagine if you would that Cora resisted the hero urge and submitted to surgery when he initially injured that thumb. Assuming Jose Reyes is forthcoming and the Mets are honest, it may have prompted them to make a better effort to get a capable shortstop in there than the parade of Valdezes and Argenies and Berroas they spent all season embarrassed about, and maybe the Mets in turn don't suffer the relentless offensive and defensive consequences of playing more than half a year with a one-handed shortstop. It would have mattered.

OK, then. They dressed Green in No. 29, quickly on its way to becoming the new No. 6. He's the seventh wearer of that uni since Steve Trachsel left town, and the third this year. Interestingly, it could force Robinson Cancel into a fourth jersey in the event he is recalled (and with Brian Schneider around, being a AAA catcher ain't so bad). Valdez is back in the No. 4 he'd briefly lost to Angel Berroa.

There will be a quiz at the end, and we'll all fail.

* * *

Quick note to let you know that Amazin' Tuesday is on its way back to Two Boots Tavern, this Tuesday, the 25th, and again on Sept. 15. I will be out of town and will miss this month's event but organizers have more than made up for my presense and will welcome you there. Go! 


Throwback, Throw Up, Throw Strikes

The past ... and a vision of the future?Many of you are probably aware the Mets will take the field against the Giants this weekend wearing "throwback" jersey that pay tribute to the Mets' National League predecessors. The cream-colored jerseys with the oversized NY logo recall the New York Giants unis of 1904-1907 and invite fans to imagine Bobby Parnell and Jerry Manuel as if they were Christy Matthewson and John McGraw.

I have no problem with the Mets playing a game or two each year with a commemorative jersey, it's the kind of thing the team doesn't do nearly enough of which is surprising given the opportunity for merchandising that fuels the Wilpon powerplant. The Mets have also made a point to inform fans they finally got around to Metting up the new place, hanging up a few new photos and banners. I wonder how the Great Wall of Famous Former Met Signatures is coming along? I will see on Monday.

Anyhow, while you peruse the throwbacks this weekend, keep in mind the near certainty that a new look is en route next season, and that this outfit, though seemingly a throwback, is also a likely barometer of the future. Remember that the Mets asked fans about a cream-colored home jersey, removing trim on the placket, and an oversized NY logo on the breast (check, check and check). I would not be surprised to see all three elements incorporated in some fashion next season -- at least one influential Met insider I know of is strongly in favor of it.

This is also a good time to point out a running tabulation of Met results by Uni Style as tracked from across the Atlantic by Checked Swing. Home whites/blue caps are killing the competition, trim or -- bet on it next year -- no trim.



I am certain that on some level, my tardiness in reporting that Anderson Hernandez is once again a member of the Mets is a realization that acknowleding it publically will prevent me from walking around pretending it never happened, which is what I really want to do.

Once upon a time, I held a reasonable hope that the Mets might once and for all cure themselves of their penchant for carrying worthless middle infield reserves who play too often, only to see Wilson Valdez, Angel Berroa, Argenis Reyes and now Hernandez come back from the dead, almost all of them polluting the No. 4 and/or 11 jerseys.

Hernandez was actually reacquired by trade late last week from the Washington Nationals, for whom he flamed out this season already -- and to whom I was only too happy to see him go a year ago (and that was for Luis Ayala). I know, with the way things have gone this year this is about what we're going to get but it doesn't remind me any less of Wilson Delgado and Ricky Gutierrez stinking up the joint out there in 2004.

Hernandez' addition to the roster resulted in a DFA for Berroa and for Anderson's third different number with the Mets -- he'd worn 1 and 4 in previous visits. The Mets also replaced the injured Jon Neise on the roster by recalling Elmer Dessens from AAA. Dessens was back in No. 64.


Full Nelson (plus Bonus Trivia)

Sure, Nelson Figueroa may have completely screwed up the one and only thing he was asked to do tonight, but let's not be too quick to brand his latest recall a complete failure. After all, this cry for help marked Figueroa's fifth addition to the Mets' 40-man roster, tying him for the all-time lead in this category with the illustrious Mike DiFelice, whose late career yo-yoing was so magnificent the Mets finally gave him a permanent job -- in the minor leagues. He's managing the Mets' Appalacian League club in Kingsport, Tenn.

Yes, it's a special kind of ballplayer that can be cut loose four times and rehired five times, and Figueroa deserves extra credit for having done so in a single big-league uni number, 27 (DiFelice collected three unis over his five appearances). In fact, notes MBTN Roster Scientist Jason E., only nine men in Met history (including the aformentioned two) have been added to the 40-man roster as many as four times.

For fun, I will provide six of the remaining players. You tell me the seventh!

Pedro Feliciano, Clint Hurdle, Mark Johnson, Terry Leach, Josias Manzanillo and Jorge Velandia have all been added to the Mets 40-man roster on four occasions. Who is the remaining 4-time addition? Winner gets a beer on me.

Figueroa's addition by the way resulted in Pat Misch being optioned to AAA Buffalo. On Sunday, Gary Sheffield returned and Robinson Cancel was returned to Buffalo.

It's the Magic Number

In an attempt to add more offense the Mets on Thursday recalled Robinson Cancel, the chubby hero of a few of 2008's most inspiring victories, and designated Elmer Dessens for assignment.

Strangely, the Mets issued Cancel No. 29, even though the No. 40 he'd worn most recently was available (he'd worn 40 after first receiving 4, then seeing the Mets re-issue that number to Argenis Reyes. Cancel however wore 4 again this spring only to see the Mets issue that number twice this year (to Wilson Valdez and now Angel Berroa).

At any rate, No. 29 grants Cancel entry into the exclusive Three-Number Club whose membership is listed below. As for Dessens, he didn't pitch so badly while not buried in the pen, and so barely had an impact other than having become the team's first ever No. 64.

I had a short panic attack the other day worried that Omar Minaya would attempt to rehabilitate his mangled image by making a large and unnecessary trade at the deadline for Roy Halladay (32 is available, you know) but that's mostly subsided. How about an actual hitter though?

The Three Number Club (updated!)

Jeff McKnight 5, 7, 15, 17, 18

Kevin Collins 1, 10, 16, 19

Ed Lynch 34, 35, 36, 59

Darrel Sutherland 43, 45, 47

Cleon Jones 34, 12, 21

John Stephenson 12, 19, 49

Jim Hickman 6, 9, 27

Mike Jorgensen 10, 16, 22

Hank Webb 22, 29, 30

Hubie Brooks 62, 39, 7

Clint Hurdle 7, 13, 33

Chuck Carr 1, 7, 21

Kevin Elster 2, 15, 21

Charlie O’Brien 5, 22, 33

Ron Darling 12, 15, 44

Jason Phillips 7, 23, 26

David Cone 16, 17, 44

Jae Seo 40, 38, 26

Roger Craig 13, 36, 38

Lee Mazzilli 12, 16, 13

Pedro Feliciano 55, 39, 25

Mike DiFelice 6, 33, 9

Marlon Anderson 18, 23, 9

Ramon Martinez 22, 26, 6 

Robinson Cancel 4, 40, 29

Anderson Hernandez 1, 4, 11

Behold: Numbers That Don't Count

Johnson would reject Bamberger's hand-me-downs. Click to embiggen.

MBTN reader Matt today sent along a scan of a 1983 Daily News article showing the accompanying photograph of Davey Johnson posing with jersey No. 31. As we all know, by the time Johnson managed his first game with the Mets in April of 1984, the 31 jersey was long gone and Johnson would wear No. 5. Although the article this story accompanied (click the photo to see it) appeared in a December of 1983 and concerned Johnson's eligibility for the Hall of Fame,  the photo itself was taken that October, on the day the Mets introduced Johnson as their next manager.


This was an interesting find though. I've got copies of Newsday, the Times and the Post from that day, all of which used the same closeup of Johnson's face to illustrate their stories. But it's not unprecendented. Back in 2004, on the November day the Mets introduced another new manager, Willie Randolph, they presented him with jersey No. 1 and not the 12 he'd show up inonce it was time to play. Similar photo-op phollies struck Mets-in-waiting like Roger Cedeno (11 in the press conference, 19 on the field); Xavier Nady (10; 22), Duaner Sanchez (40; 50); and Chad Bradford (35; 53).


Which brings me to an interesting discovery I made while fleeing a rain delay earlier this season at the new park. Ducking into a Promenade-level memorabilia shop to avoid the downpour I came across (not literally) a selection of "game-used" jerseys from scrubs of the not-so-distant past, selling at the relative bargain price of $100 each. Among the KNIGHT 28s (Brandon, not Ray) and SOSA 29s I spied this curiousity: An alleged "game-worn" No. 17 belonging to Willie Collazo, whose short Met career already included one interesting moment in uni history.


Collazo, who was up briefly in 2007 and 2008 (but did not play in the latter appearance) was issued No. 36 in both stays, so the 17 was out of place. I didn't think to check whether there were any clues as to what year the jersey was from, but my records show that during Collazo's entire tenure with the Mets, the 17 jersey would have been available only in the month of April 2008, after David Newhan was gone but before Fernando Tatis had arrived (and even then, Tatis had 17 assigned to him).


Any theories as to how this happened? And what other cases can you recall where a Met was issued a number but never appeared in it?


P.S. The SHaMs are finally off to that run I warned you about... All it took was another embarrassing front-office explosion and a good smackdown by the Nationals, but it's happening...

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