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Poll

What Number Should They Issue to 'Fartinez'?
6
12%
8
18%
12
6%
16
6%
18
6%
22
12%
24
6%
26
0%
27
0%
28
0%
29
0%
30
0%
38
0%
39
0%
43
0%
44
12%
47
0%
49
0%
58
12%
Other?
12%
Total votes: 17

 

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Mets by the Numbers

The Mets Website That Counts

12

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Hall Monitor

As much as I hated his two years with the Mets (and vice versa I'm sure) I take no pleasure in knowing that baseball writers denied Smilin' Robbie Alomar election to the Hall of Fame. Alomar's shortfall was one of a half-dozen disappointments the voters delivered today and another blow to the dignity of the Hall of Fame -- an institution that's become harder and harder to take seriously every year.

Andre Dawson -- a borderline guy but a feared hitter with counting-stat bonafides -- got in while Tim Raines, Bert Blyleven, Alan Trammell, Barry Larkin and Edgar Martinez ought to have but didn't. As for Alomar, he was a no-brainer even before he arrived with the Mets and his skills summarily went down the toilet. It's easy to forget his attitiude never won raves even when he was playing well and that his skills never returned even after the Mets cut him loose.

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I got citation from the Police the other day -- The Mets Police.

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A MLB.com story mentioned that Jason Bay chose 44 as a tribute to a boyhood idol, Eric Davis. Now there's a guy whose route to the Hall of Fame took a sudden wrong turn.

 

By the Dozen

So as we saw last night in his Mets debut, Jeff Francoeur wore No. 12, becoming the first Met to wear that jersey since Willie Randolph left town.

I didn't think to reseach it beforehand but as you can see in the jocky images below, 12 was Francoeur's number in both baseball and football at Parkview High in Atlanta (the school actually retired the jersey). Go Panthers! When he debuted with the Braves in 2005, 12 belonged to catcher Eduardo Perez.

 

 

 

 

Mets Whack Willie

Pitching coach Rick Peterson too and because they can, first-base coach Tom Nieto.

And just when I'd begun to tune out all the rumors.

Stay tuned for the press conference today to see whether Ken Oberkfell, promoted from Norfolk to the big league staff along with pitching coach Dan Warthen and infield coordinator Luis Aguayo, alights again in No. 0, and whether Jerry Manuel's first move as interim manager is to shed No. 53

 

Alo-More

Veteran catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. was in the dugout during last night’s debacle in Denver and wearing No. 19. Alomar had been recalled from AAA after Jason Vargas 43 was whacked following his revolting outing on Tuesday. Alomar is expected to last at least until Sunday when it is anticipated the Mets will recall Dave Williams to take the turn in Houston initially scheduled for Vargas. Williams threw, fairly effectively, for the Mets last season wearing No. 32.

As for Alomar, he becomes the second No. 19 this season (disgraced reliever Lino Urdaneta was the first) and the third member of the Alomar Clan to play for the Mets. Brother Roberto began the decline phase of his career here wearing No. 12 and their father, Sandy Sr., was a reserve infielder for the Mets in the first few weeks of 1967 (wearing No. 5); and has served as a coach since 2005 (wearing No. 2).

Willie to Wear 42

Manager Willie Randolph said he would wear No. 42 on April 15 when baseball honors Jackie Robinson.

“Any time I can be involved with the name Jackie Robinson, it’s an honor for me,” Randolph said Wednesday, according to MLB.com. “I want to be the one. He was such a special man who did so much for so many people. I’m looking forward to the ceremony and to seeing Rachel [Robinson, Jackie’s wife].”

Willie would be the 10th man to wear 42 for the Mets, Others include Larry Elliot (1964); Ron Taylor (1967-71); Chuck Taylor (1972); Hank Webb (1972); Ron Hodges (1973-1984); Tom Hall (1975); Roger McDowell (1985-89); Butch Huskey (1995-98) and Mo Vaughn (2002-03). Huskey and Vaughn were grandfathered into baseball’s leaguewide retirement of the jersey in 1997; and both wore the number in Robinson’s honor.

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Catching Up

With Cliff Floyd's departure to Chicago, it may be interesting to see whether Willie Randolph alights in the now-vacant No. 30 or stays with the 12 he's worn as a Met player and manager (in his playing days, 30 belonged to Mel Stottlemeyer; Willie was 30 with the MF Yankees most of his career).

Alert MBTN reader Richard informs us that Mets.com is offering the Jose Valentin jersey in No. 22 -- the switch from 18 we expected following the Moises Alou signing earlier this off-season.

Hello to new arrivals and/or spring auditionees Scott Schoeneweis, Aaron Sele, Jorge Sosa and David Newhan.

While Schoeneweis falls one letter short of the all-time Met record for characters on a name plate (ISRINGHAUSEN, with 12 still leads the pack), if his form holds true the veteran loogy would become the first player in Met history to wear No. 60. We're kind of shocked to see him get a three-year contract.

The well traveled Sele, who signed a minor-league deal, has worn 30, 34, and last year with Los Angeles, 41. Sosa, who was pretty good for the Braves in '05 and horrendous with them last year, is yet another former No. 34. We last saw the 34 jersey on Mike Pelfrey, who just might make the starting rotation.

Newhan, often described as a Joe McEwing type,  wore No. 11 with the Orioles, as McEwing had in his last years as a Met. Eleven currently belongs to reserve catcher Ramon Castro, who was re-signed recently along with Endy Chavez 10; Duaner Sanchez 50; and, to another minor-league deal, the immortal Mike DiFelice.

Cleon Jones in 12

Thanks to MBTN reader Pete for finding and identifying this rare photo of Cleon Jones. As he notes: It shows Cleon Jones looking to be wearing the #12 Jersey with the World's Fair patch which would be from 1965. The picture is taken at Wrigley Field. The Mets were there In late July and Mid-September of '65 after Jesse Gonder who had been wearing #12 was traded on July 21st of that year. It is probably from the September trip because Ron Hunt (#33) is in the picture and he was on the disabled list from May 11th until August 5th of '65. That confirms our suspicions that Jones did indeed wear No. 12 that year (after his recall Sept. 1, precisely) and officially qualifies him among three-numbered Mets (he wore 34 prior to '65 and 21 after). Thanks, Pete!

February 2005

Willie and the Boz (Feb. 26): Willie Randolph, as quoted by Bill Madden in the Daily News: "I'm gonna wear No. 12. Why? You remember Ken Boswell? Second baseman on the '69 team? He was my favorite player growing up. No. 12. It's a nice number."

We remember Ken Boswell too, and even if his sideburns might not fly in Willie's clubhouse, it speaks well of the new Met manager that he has a sense of his place in history. This is probably a natural result of the era we grew up, but 12 has always seemed more Boswellian to us than Kent-like or Alomarish. And as glorified ticket salesman Darryl Strawberry makes a grand reappearance at Shea this weekend, may it serve as a reminder of this team's horribly miscast former manager, who wore No. 18 but was no George Theodore either.

We found Madden's piece, by the way, from a link at the extraordinary new blog co-authored by veteran MBTN reader Greg -- highly recommended for fans of good writing and historical Metdom.

January 2005

Mets Trade for Mientkiewicz (Jan. 26): Only hours after Carlos Delgado and his scheming agent left the Mets high and dry came word that Omar had traded promising ex-Cyclone Ian Bladergroen for spare Red Sock first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz. Minky brings an excellent glove but an average bat to his new job, but was probably the best among the consolation prizes. Mientkiewicz wore No. 16 for most of his career in Minnesota and No. 13 in Boston, but what might be most interesting is seeing whether the Mets manage to fit that unweildly last name onto the back of a jersey without dropping the leading: His 12-lettered name matches Isringhausen for the longest in Met history. Omar contends the offseason acquisition spree is all but done, but we'll believe it when 25 men depart from St. Lucie.

November 2004

Shea Hey Willie (Nov. 5): Omar Minaya's first move with Full Autonomy (Full autonomy?! Full autonomy!) was to name X-Yankee/X-Met and New Yorker Willie Randolph as the team's 18th manager. Willie posed for blasphemous photos at Shea yesterday wearing Mookie Wilson's No. 1, but it's likely he'll be wearing another number the next time he suits up. Willie was No. 30 for most of his Yankee career, but wore 12 while with the Mets in 1992. Taking his customary number would require Cliff Floyd to change jerseys but there's speculation that Minaya will do what he can to change what it says on the front of Cliff's shirt this winter anyhow. Danny Garcia is the current No. 12.

Though we think Bobby Valentine might have been a better choice, we're willing to give Willie a shot. Thankfully, he didn't arrive with the ridiculous contract his predecessor did.

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