Like a bad penny, or annual deferred payments of $1,193,248.20, Bobby Bonilla keeps turning up.
Bobby Bonilla, the 49th best Met of All Time, returned to the team after three years in the baseball wilderness on this date in 1998. Acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a swap of unwanted parts–the Mets sent combustible reliever Mel Rojas westward–Bonilla still managed to disappoint in his second stint, even with expectations drastically lowered. Whereas the Bronx native backed up his brash words in the batter's box during his first go-round with the Mets, the sequel produced nothing but bluster.
Given the job of starting right fielder out of Spring Training, Bonilla's season arguably peaked on April 6, when after two games, his slash line stood at .200/.556.200. Phased out of the starting lineup by mid-May, Bonilla began to grumble about playing time, but a knee injury tabled him for most of the summer. He returned in September, employed strictly as a pinch hitter. After the season, the Mets opted to remove Bobby Bo from the roster (though not the payroll – INSERT MANDATORY SNARK).
- Mike Bacsik, a left-handed pitcher who came to the Mets from the Cleveland Indians in the Roberto Alomar trade, is 35. He made nine starts in 2002 and picked up three wins, all of them against the Florida Marlins. Two were pedestrian affairs, but the middle one was a gem: a seven strikeout complete game victory. As a member of the Nationals five years later, Bacsik had the distinction of allowing Barry Bonds to connect for his record-breaking 756th career home run.
- Perhaps the best of the seemingly endless parade of aging infielders signed by Omar Minaya, Damion Easley turns 43 . The former All-Star finished his career with the Mets, providing a nice bit of pop off the bench. In 2007, he socked 10 homers in just 193 at-bats. Given a slightly larger role the following year in his age-38 season, Easley wasn't nearly as productive. At the time of his retirement in 2008, Damion held the record for most games played during the Wild Card era without ever reaching the playoffs, suiting up for 1,706 regular season affairs and nary an October tilt.
- The Grover Cleveland of Mets relievers, Roberto Hernandez, 48 today, served two non-consecutive terms with the team in 2005 and 2006, separated only by a brief stint as a Pirate. Hernandez had a great year in '05, posting a 160 ERA+ and striking out just under eight batters per nine. Reacquired at the 2006 trade deadline to replace the injured Duaner Sanchez, the former All-Star closer again pitched admirably, making three appearances in the NLCS and keeping the St. Louis Cardinals off the board in each of them.
- Dave Telgheder, one of only three pitchers to win more often than he lost on the 1993 Mets, is 46. Of the trio, Telgheder, a rookie swingman, had the best record at 6-2. He picked up victories in five of his seven starts and swooped in for another by tossing three perfect innings of relief in an extra inning triumph over the expansion Marlins in late June. Telgheder's peripherals, a strikeout rate of 4.2 per nine and sub-two K/BB ratio, didn't bode well for prolonged success, though. After ERAs of 7.20 and 5.61 in 1994-95, the Mets severed ties with the righty.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, Germany agreed to sign an armistice treaty with the Allied forces, bringing World War I to a close. Speaking of stalemates and elevenses, in 2011, Ruben Tejada, whilst wearing jersey number 11, went 0-for-11 in bases loaded situations.