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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

49

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How About a Knuckle Sandwich

Only a few knuckleballers come around per generation, so I was pleased to learn the Mets were on the verge of signing one Tuesday. R.A. (Remarkable Athlete) Dickey has kicked around several organizations since first surfacing with Texas in 2001 and like many knuckleballers, developed the pitch only after his other stuff (including elbow ligaments) abandoned him.

Dennis Springer in '00: Get a Grip!The Mets' have employed but two pure knuckleballers in their history. The first was righthanded reliever Bob Moorhead, who developed the delivery while on the road back to New York following a string of injuries (including, ironically, breaking two knuckles by punching a Sportsmans Park dugout door in frustration after a 1962 outing). Moorhead's other distiction was having been the first relief pitcher ever called on in a Mets game. Moorhead wore 22 as a knuckleball dabbler in 1962 and 21 as a specialist in '65. The Mets' last pure knuckler, Dennis Springer, was released shortly after taking a pounding from the Reds on a frigid, wet, windy April evening at Shea in 2000. He wore No. 34.

Other Mets have included a knuckler as part of their repetoire, including relievers Jeff Innis (who threw his sidearm); Dave Roberts; Tom Sturdivant; Frank Lary; Warren Spahn; Bob McClure and Todd Zeile, whose whole pitching career was something of a stunt. Dave Mlicki threw a knuckle curve.

The Mets for a time were developing potential knuckleball throwers in the minors. One, Zac Clements, was a converted catcher who appears to have topped out at AA Binghamton in 2006. Charlie Hough, a longtime knucleball hurler, was the Mets pitching coach in 2001 and 2002.

Dickey in the meantime only signed a minor league contract, and has had only sporadic success in the majors to recommend him, but I'l be rooting for him just the same. Knucklers of recent vintage including Tim Wakefield and Tom Candiotti wear No. 49 so as to honor Hoyt Wilhelm, one of the giants of the craft. The Mets' current tenant of 49 is lefty Jon Niese.

Keep Your Shirt On

Those awful Mets play in Houston tonight with lefty Jon Niese on the mound. Niese in a stint I'd already forgotten ever happened this year wore No. 49 and is still available for him. To make room on the roster the Mets got around to disabling Gary Sheffield who naturally isn't happy about it.

Like the next guy I'm interested in seeing how the whole Tony Bernanzard drama plays out, not because I think he's the devil, necessarily, but because how it unravels might reveal something of how this ridiculous organzation works. As I understand things, Bernazard at this time last year looked as if he might be the future king of the Mets, only to see Omar Minaya get the contract extension after the year. With some conflicting reports arriving as to Bernazard's behavior I'm wondering who the sources are and what their motivation is. I also wonder if it wouldn't have been even better had he taken his pants off.

Thanks to everyone who showed up Amazin' Tuesday this week at Two Boots. Newly linked blogger Section Five Twenty Eight has a terrific account of it. We're doing it again on August 25 (I'll miss that event but I'd urge you to attend anyway) and on Sept. 15.

On a Train to Nowhere

*-Bonus points for getting the title reference.

So as you probably already know, Billy Wagner is out for a spell with a sore forearm and that the Mets have recalled Ruddy Lugo from Class AAA to take his place. Lugo tonight was wearing the same No. 49 jersey he wore during spring training and would become the first 49er since Phillip Humber last season and the first Ruddy (or Rudy) in team history.

The Mets barely survived their first post-Wagner game but they survived it all the same. Jerry was either a genius for letting Aaron Heilman throw with a 4-run lead, or an idiot, depending I suppose on who's asked to close out the next one and how adventurous that assignment becomes.

Meantime we're still awaiting word on who gets the call to take John Maine's scheduled start. Jerry tonight said that start would be Saturday not Friday, which may favor a promotion for AA lefty Jon Niese. Niese (i before e) wore No. 62 in spring training, which I'd consider the absolute borderline carryover point. Other candidates would be a pair of 39s: Claudio Vargas (AAA) or Bobby Parnell (AA).

* * *

Longtime Mets beatwriter Marty Noble, provider of a terrific interview, is counting down Shea's remaining days by uni number. His first entry, 30 to 25, is here. Between Marty and Greg Prince, also a fine interview (both are even better writers), they've got a handle on Shea's history that's about a million times better than team officials whose idea of honoring the dying building is to trot out Lincoln-Mercury representatives night after night. Greg devoted lots of thought and effort into his own inspired countdown of Shea's final season and most recently destroys the Mets for carelessly providing their support for a hacky, flawed, inaccurate, advertiser-driven "Greatest Moments" ballot.

Must-reads as always.

 

New Roster Posted

So the Mets along with introducing Johan Santana to the press today updated their 40-man roster so as to provide uni numbers for several players for the first time. From the bottom, it's

9 Marlon Anderson (switching from 23 for Brian Schneider)

16 Angel Pagan

19 Ryan Church

38 Matt Wise (Carlos Muniz is now listed in 32)

39 Jason Vargas (Vargas was 43 last season, we may see a flip with Stokes, below)

43 Brian Stokes

49 Ruddy Lugo (Phillip Humber, we barely miss ye)

61 Steven Register(likely to be the lowest of the high-numbered invitees)

Also worth noting is pitcher Adam Bostick in 72, giving him the highest number among the 40 men invited to camp. Among non-roster invitees, the deck is clear for Jose Valentin to take 22 and Ricardo Rincon to assume his usual 73.

Our post below guessed a few of these correctly at least. Keep in mind as always these numbers don't "count" until the games do, so nothing is official yet.

Spelling Relief

The sudden and shattering unavailability of Billy Wagner 13 the other night, not to mention weeks of white-knuckle performance from the other guys in the bullpen, prompted the club to reach down and call up Carlos Muniz, who’d been most recently closing games for Class AA Binghamton. Muniz, likely to be tucked deeper in the drawer than even Phillip Humber 49, was issued No. 38, according to the roster at Mets.com. If he gets into a game he’ll be the 28th 38 in team history and the first since Victor Zambrano. Bullpen candidate Steve Schmoll wore 38 during spring training this season but he seems to have gone missing.

Muniz whiffed 66 guys in 64+ innings in AA and AAA this season, posting 23 saves and a 2.24 ERA. “If we need him, we’ll use him,” sez Willie. Just might.

Tags:

Pelfrey, Humber & Collazo

On the first day active rosters can be expanded the Mets as expected recalled AAA starters Mike Pelfrey and Phillip Humber, along with a lefty reliever, Willie Collazo. Pelfrey to wear No. 34 as usual, will try for his first victory of the year in a start this afternoon in Atlanta. Humber will wear the same No. 49 he wore last season in brief appearances.

Press notes say Collazo will debut in No. 36 — a jersey that earlier this year went to outfielder Chip Ambres. Ambres reportedly is among others who may still be recalled as the month rolls on.

The Mets in the meantime put together a solid game Friday in ending an ugly five-game losing streak. Among the casualties of the Philly sweep was Orlando Hernandez, who is expected to miss his next turn in the rotation resting a sore foot. The leading candidate to take his place is some guy called Martinez.

They Deserved It

While everyone’s harping on the bullpen and Willie’s alleged poor management of it, the fact that the Mets have scored only 2 runs in the last three games is the real guilty party. That, and the Luis Castillo-Paul LoDuca screwup. And Aaron Rowand’s good fortune. The bullpen is what it is: Enigmatic, unpredictable, prone to slumps. Teams that don’t score more than 2 runs on the road in 10 innings deserve whatever they get.

The new right fielder, Endy Chavez, did little to change that last night. Endy returned to the Mets and the No. 10 jersey last night for the first time since June, and made a fine catch, but otherwise resembled all the other right fielders recently. Brian Lawrence 54 was designated to make room, leaving Saturday’s starter role currently unfulfilled. The possibilities are many as the calendar will read Sept. 1 by then, though Phillip Humber looks at the moment to have a shot.

Humber you may recall appeared twice in relief last September, wearing No. 49. He’s had a quietly strong season in AAA.

Updates

By now everyone knows the Mets will be Pedro-less for the playoffs but let's be honest: That doesn't surprise us. He hasn't been healthy for a long while, and though it would be nice if the Real Pedro was with us, we've been more concerned about the lineup than the pitching all year long, even while they made it look easy and now, especially, as they make it look difficult.

Stuff we neglected to mention recently: Ramon Castro 11 returned from the disabled list Sept. 12; Kelly Stinnett 36 was designated for assigment Sept. 27 and Phillip Humber 49 made his big-league debut Sept. 24. Along with the return of Mike Pelfrey 34 to the (nominally) active roster, the '06 Mets have 36 active players on their roster at once, which ties them with three other Met clubs for the second-most ever, according to Met roster historian Jason:

The only time they've had more was in 1967 (38 active). Too bad they didn't recall Henry Owens & Alay Soler, they could have tied their franchise record! The only other players left on the 40-man are Matt Lindstrom & Ruben Gotay.

Active Players on September Rosters:

38..............1967
37
36..............1974, 1985, 2002, 2006
35..............1965, 1980, 1984, 1987, 1998, 1999
34..............1966, 1969, 1971, 1982, 1983, 2001
33..............1970, 1972, 1981, 1989, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003
32..............1963, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2004, 2005
31..............1962, 1991
30..............1968, 1979, 1986, 1988, 1995
29..............1976
28
27
26..............1964
25..............1994 (strike)

Humber's Number (plus Montañez)

As threatened, the Mets recalled the six men below in time for yesterday's rainout. New arrivals Kelly Stinnett and Phillip Humber were dressed in Nos 36 and 49, respectively. (Thanks to readers Lou and Michael for the updates). Both numbers have been issued previously this season: Henry Owens wore 36 during his brief callup and 49 belonged briefly to Roberto Hernandez before he could pry 39 from Pedro Feliciano. In addition to being the digits favored by knuckleballers, 49 tends to be a relief pitcher's number for the Mets -- you have to go back until 1984 and Walt Terrell to find a regular starter who wore it, though Humber for the short term looks destined for spot-starts and relief work anyway.

Stinnett, who wore 33 for the Mets in 1995, becomes the latest member of the two-time Met club.

 

The following is exerpted from a note from reader Rory:

Willie Montañez -- I know the ñ is definitely part of his family name, but I'm not entirely sure whether the team sewed the tilde on too. Somebody told me that the Mets only started sewing names on their uniforms in 1979, and so that left only part of that season where Willie could have sported a tilde as a Met. Are there any pictures to prove it one way or the other?

Though we doubt we'd find a tilde if we found a picture (the '79 Mets, like this site, were lazy with that kinda thing), we haven't found a picture. Can anyone help? Let us know.

Roberto's Challenge

Roberto Hernandez re-joined the Mets today and was wearing No. 49 for tonight's Wagner-befouled game in Miami, when he confidently told SNY's Gary Cohen he'd be wearing No. 39 "by the time we get back to New York [Friday]." As detailed below, that may take some bribery of Pedro Feliciano, the current occupant. We'll be sure to keep you updated...

As expected Lastings Milledge was recalled to take Nady's spot, still wearing 44.

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