If there has ever been a position that the Mets have never had a problem with filling ( except for the past four seasons) , it has to be the second baseman. Throughout the past 50 years this organization has had more than a few men who were able to make breathtaking acrobatic plays, going all out to turn the double play. There has been the likes of Hunt , Flynn, and not to forget Wally to name a few. But there has only been one who has been able to excel in the field while dominating with a power bat at the plate. That man is as voted by you number 15 on the list of the top 50 Mets of all time. Yes that man is none other than Edgardo ” Fonzie “ Alfonzo .
Edgardo Antonio Alfonzo was born in Miranda State.Venezuela on November 8, 1973 . When he was 19, Edgardo signed with the Mets as an undrafted free agent in 1991. He was immediately assigned to their Gulf Coast League affiliate, the Gulf Coast Mets. In 1992, Alfonzo was Alfonzo promoted twice. First to the short season “A” Pittsfield Mets of the New York-Penn League , and after that season ended he would be sent to their Class “A” Florida State League St. Lucie Mets. In 1993, Edgardo would play the entire season in Port St Lucie. In 1994, Edgardo was promoted to the Mets AA Eastern league affiliate in Binghamton, where Edgardo would lead the team in both homers as well as RBI’s.
In mid April of ’95, Edgardo made his Major League debut. He started out in more of a reserve role, splitting time at second base, shortstop, and third base. He finished the ’95 season batting .273 with four homers and forty-one RBI’s in just 101 games. In 1996. he was stll used in a reserve role and had almost the same numbers in 123 games. During the 1997 season, Edgardo won the Mets starting third base job. He would move to second base in 1999 after the Mets would sign veteran third baseman, Robin Ventura as a free agent. Edgardo adapted quickly to his new position, and soon there after he was considered one of the top second basemen in the league. In 1999 the Mets infield that consisted of him, Rey Ordonez, John Olerud and Robin Ventura was often referred to the best in baseball. In 2002 , after the Mets traded Ventura to the New York Yankees, the Mets moved Edgardo back to third base, to make room for Roberto Alomar.Edgardo continued to be a defensive threat but his skills as a third baseman were quite rusty.
After the ’02 season came to a close, Alfonzo would become a free agent. He wanted desperately to re-sign with the Mets , but they were uninterested. Edgardo would eventually sign a big contract with the San Francisco Giants, but as a act of thanks to the New York fans, Edgardo bought up ad space on New York Taxis to thank the fans for their support during his tenure with the Mets.
During his time with the Giants, Edgardo’s power numbers would decline and he began to suffer from back problems. He would return to his old form briefly in 2004. He hit for average, but his power numbers declined.
He was traded to the Angels in ’95 for pitcher Steve Finely, and he took on more of a role as a bench player. He would end up being released in the middle of the season by the Angels.
He has since bounced around through many organizations such as the Blue Jays as well as stints within the Texas Rangers organization as well a brief time back with the Mets AAA team. He has played in the independent Leagues as well as in Japan. Last season he played for the Newark Bears Independent team. H retired from baseball after last season.
He is now currently hitting coach in Houston Astro Minor league system with their Gulf Coast League team.
Edgardo was on hand for the closing ceremonies of Shea Stadium in September of 2008.
Tomorrow we will unravel the mystery of number 14 . All I will say in that he was one of the best offensive players of the ’90′s !
And with that said…. HERE COMES THE INFAMY !!!!
Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today include :
One of the most heralded acquisitions of the past ten years ( and also one of the biggest busts ) eighth inning set up man from the ’09 season, J. J. Putz is 34 (1977) .
New York Mets traded utility infielder, Bobby Klaus,third baseman, Wayne Graham and catcher, Jimmie Schaffer to the Philadelphia Phillies for first baseman, Dick Stuart on February 22, 1966.
New York Mets signed free agent pitcher, Juan Berenguer on February 22, 1975. He would play for three seasons for the Mets (’78–’80) before being traded to the Kansas City Royals for minor league outfielders, Marvell Wynne and John Skinner.
New York Mets released reserve outfielder, Mark Bradley on February 22, 1984.
New York Mets signed free agent reserve first baseman/outfielder, Mark Johnson on February 22, 2000.
The Montreal Expos claimed reserve outfielder Endy Chavez ( Yes that Endy !!)of the New York Mets on waivers on February 22, 2002.
And while you are waiting for the temperatures to change from subarctic to tropical, just remember that there are just 38 Skip Lockwood days until the Mets open the 2011 season against the Florida Marlins in Miami and only
45 more days to go until the Mets 2011 home opener against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.
Mo Vaughn is starting to suffer from cabin fever !!!