Well to state the obvious – baseball season is over and the hot stove has yet to really heat up for our beloved Mets. So I figured to help pass these long boring days that lie ahead of us (before pitchers and catchers finally report)that I would highlight a Mets player from yesteryear. He might be a star or a scrub, but the player was one who was dear to our heart. Todayâ€™s Do You Remember player is no other thanÂ the eccentric Turk Wendell.
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Steven “Turk” Wendell was born on bornÂ May 19th 1967 Â in Pittsville Massachusetts.When he was 21, after graduating from Quinnipiac College he wasÂ selected by the Atlanta Braves in the fifth round of the 1988 amateur draft. He was automatically sent to start hisÂ professional debut with theÂ Pulaski Braves of theÂ AppalachianÂ League. He made his first major league appearance on June 17, 1993.Turk wasÂ Â seen by many as a rubber armed reliever who’s arsenal included aÂ four seam fastball, aÂ two seam fast ball, as well as a myriad of off speed pitches. WendellÂ had Â above-average control, average movement, below-average power.
In 1991 Wendell was traded by the Braves to theÂ Chicago Â Cubs, and pitched in theirÂ minor league system untilÂ making his major league debut in 1993.Â Turk got off to a poor start to say the least, pitching in only 13 games between 1993 andÂ 1994 seasons combined, heÂ had Â a 1-3 record and a 7.30 ERA.
Â Wendell steadily improved to a 3.88 ERA in 187 game appearances for the Cubs.Â During the 1997 trade deadline he was sent to theÂ New York Mets.Â HeÂ spent three and a half seasons and was a fan favoriteÂ . We loved his outlandish sense of humor ,Â his friendly personality,Â and his Â outspoken nature ( which ended up getting him traded).
In his Met career, spanning over five seasons, Wendell posted a solid 3.34 ERA and a 22-14 record in 285 appearances. inÂ the ’99 & ’00 seasons Â He led the team inÂ Â games pitched .
He Â appeared in the playoffs twice with usÂ Â , in 1999 and 2000, including an appearance in theÂ 2000 World Series against the Yankees.
In 2001Turk was sent to the Philadelphia Phillies at the trade deadline , where he spent the remainder of the season. He was traded because he questioned the front offices passion for winning if memory serve me right. He missed the entire ’02 season with an elbow injury, He returned in ’03 to pitch in 56 games for the PhilliesÂ and wentÂ a 3-3Â with a E.R.A ofÂ 3.38 .
After the 2003 season, Wendell filed for free agency, and signed aÂ Â minor league Â contract with the Colorado Rockies. He spent an injury-plagued season moving back and forth between the major league squad and various minor league rehab assignments. Wendell was released by the Rockies toward the end of the 2004 season.
In ’05 TurkÂ signed a minor league contract with theÂ Houston AstrosÂ , but wasn’t ableÂ to earn a spot on the team’s major league roster coming out of spring training. HeÂ announced his retirement in March, 2005.
As weÂ all know Turk was a one in a million personality. His love of the number 99 stands out (for example – when he wanted to sign a contract for $ 999,999.99).From his brushing his teeth between innings, jumping over the foul line, his penchant for black licorice and who could forget his necklace made from the teeth of the animals he had killed ( He was a avid games man) Turk will always be highly regarded as one of the most loved Mets to ever play the game.