Happy birthday, Marco Scutaro! As if the son of a gun needs a pick-me-up. Marco, of course, was MVP of last week's NLCS, connecting on 14 hits in 28 tries. Sunday, he batted home the winning run to complete a World Series sweep of the Tigers. I know what you're thinking but no, you didn't miss the big day. Scutaro left the Mets a long time ago!
Marco was born 37 years ago in Venezuela to an Italian father and a Spanish mother. He and his wife Marines are featured in the documentary A Player to be Named Later (available on instant Netflix), and their star turn still warms my heart. There's a scene in which Marines shows off her cost-cutting tips at the local market and becomes teary-eyed with worry discussing her and Marco's future. Last Monday, she celebrated with her husband, waving a Venezuelan flag.
The Mets claimed Scutaro off waivers on April 5, 2002, and gave him his major league debut that July. He hit six singles, a triple, and a home run appearing in 27 games his rookie season. In 2003, the middle infielder was given more than double the opportunities but hit only .213/.333/.347. At season's end, he went to Oakland on a waiver claim.
- Anderson Hernandez, 30 today, made his major league debut with the Mets in 2005 and got his first hit on the last day of the season. They would not keep coming. The opening day second baseman (due to Kaz's injury -- what options!), he hit .152 in '06. Pinch-running, he represented the winning run when Adam Wainwright thew Carlos Beltran a curveball.
- Mike Jacobs, 32 today, completes the trifecta of brithday boys making their debuts as Mets and moving on -- but this time with a hitch. A catching prospect turned power-hitting first baseman, Jacobs mashed down the stretch of the 2005 season, thumping out a 1.085 OPS in 30 games. The Mets sold high, placing him at the center of a trade for Carlos Delgado. But after four consecutive sub-replacement years, Jacobs returned in 2010 and made an Anderson-Hernandez-like appearance on the Mets opening-day roster. Going 5-24, he was DFA'd on April 18th.
On this date through the years, hundreds of ballplayers and a dozen Mets have been granted free agency. Last year: Miguel Batista and Chris Capuano -- thank God we never saw them again! -- as well as Jose Reyes, Willie Harris, Jason Isringhausen, Scott Hairston, and Chris Young. in 2008, Ollie Perez's release cleared the air. In 1992, the Mets parted ways with (and ended the career of) a Brooklyn-born second baseman named Willie Randolph.