Okay, as I’ve said before, this is easy. Moises Alou urinated on his own hands to make them tougher. I repeat: he urinated on his own hands! Moises didn’t use batting gloves. No, he pee’d on them instead — with his own actual URINE.
I want to high-five a guy like that.
So I guess that wraps up our all-time . . .
Again, stop right there. Like I keep saying, when we do our all-time disturbed team in 2017 Moises will get a very long look. For Oldfan’s sake that will also be a good chance to look at one of his nominees, Jimmy Piersall. For now though, let’s stay focused. In fact, today I don’t think we should waste any time debating it. Let’s just get to some Kevin Mitchell stories. There sure are many. I’ll begin with one that was mentioned by contributor Ken H. during our nomination process. In 2000 while playing in the Independent League Mitchell was arrested for punching an owner in the mouth. No wonder Jeff won’t bring back Old-Timers Day! This also explains the hardhat.
That reminds me, did you see the latest Jeff Wilpon photoshop classic? It’s pretty great and comes to us from everyone’s favorite madcap genius of the Metsblogosphere, Randy Medina, over at The Apple.
Back to Kevin Mitchell, sure, I realize he was a gang-banger and a roughneck. Pretty badass dude. I’ll never forget the sight of him at SS, or what he did in that Game Six at-bat when everything — the entire season, and it’s lasting legacy — was on the line. He came through.
When talking about Mitchell it is worth remembering that the Mets were in a hurry to get rid of him as they were terrified about having him near Gooden and Strawberry. The guy they brought back, Kevin McReynolds, couldn’t have been more of a polar opposite from Mitchell, he was the bizarro Kevin. Really nice player too, but something always seemed missing. That was probably unfair to McReynolds as the crazy Mitchell might have been hard to keep around for too long. He sure was entertaining, though, the short time that he was a Met.
Yeah, we could tell Mitchell stories all day. However, dude, he only played 40 games in LF for the Mets. And honestly, his is not the brand of toughness I most admire. (Yes, I speak for pussycats everywhere.) When I look at left fielders in Mets history, it’s closer to “F Troop” than “The Dirty Dozen.” Frank Thomas is 9th with 253 games. But he broke a sacred baseball rule — he hit teammate Richie Allen with a bat. A ballplayer doesn’t do that, ever. This was after Allen stood up to Thomas for making bullying, racist remarks to Johnny Briggs. So Frank’s not our tough guy, either.
But I’ve got a name for you: Steve Henderson.
Yeah, the Seaver trade, that was the yoke he carried through four seasons with the Mets — his first four years in major-league baseball. Henderson lists fourth in games behind Cleon Jones, Kevin McReynolds, and George Foster. He usually batted in the middle of the order, 3rd or cleanup. He wasn’t terrible on teams that were truly, desperately terrible.
- Tied for club lead in home runs with 12 in 1977.
- Led in runs scored with 83 in 1978.
- Tied or led team in triples in ’78 and ’80.
- Led Mets in RBIs with 65 in 1977.
- Lets Mets in BA with .290 in 1980.
And no one remembers the guy. It’s like he never existed, a phantom character in some lost “Twilight Zone” episode. Steve Henderson? No one remembers anything he did. Ever. There are no great Steve Henderson stories as far as I know. Except there he is on the cover the team’s 1980 Official Program.
Yeah, that guy. The one from the Seaver trade. Grrrr. No easy cross to bear, and he did it with dignity and quiet grace. A lot of us fans blacked out after the Seaver trade, our long Vegas weekend, the Henderson Years — when “The Magic Wasn’t Back” — it was all something of a blur, a blot.
You know, I like it. But the truth is, there is a story.
There have been so many big moments in Mets history. But there is a night that I have heard many Mets fans of a certain age (say, early 40’s) talk about in hushed tones. That was the night that “Hendu Can Do.”
On June 14, 1980, in the middle of the Mets first period of dark ages, (if you are wondering when the second period was, just open your blinds and look outside) the Mets hosted the Giants for Fireworks night.
Remember, at this time Shea almost never had anybody in it, but on this night the park was somewhat crowded because of the promotion. And although the Giants led 6-3 in the ninth, no one left the park because of the upcoming show.
Well, the show came early.
The Mets rallied for four in the ninth for an improbable 7-6 win capped by a Steve Henderson walk off three-run home run. And in a forgettable year, within a forgettable era, the Mets had one signature positive moment.
So for all you 40 somethings out there, we give you our “2 Guys” Team left fielder, Steve Henderson. So tough we all forgot about Tom Seaver (for one night).
Well, with Hendu named we have a full outfield now, in fact, a full team of position players. But Jimmy, if the saying is, “You never have enough pitching,” we still have work to do. We don’t have any yet.
I’ll get us started. Doug Sisk, perhaps?
Or should I keep thinking?
Pitchers, hey, you’ve got to have a mean streak to be an effective pitcher. We’ve got some tough choices ahead. There’s Mike Hampton, John Franco, Randy Myers, Al Leiter, Jerry Koosman, Billy Wagner — and those are just some of the lefties. Sisk belongs on the All-Gelding Team, but that’s for another time. But I have to tell you something up front: I’ve never liked John Franco.