This Date in Mets History: December 31 - Rick Aguilera Born...and That's It

Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

The right-hander came THIS CLOSE to being Baby New Year 1962.

This is the way the year in Mets history ends: Not with a bang, but with the birth of pitcher Rick Aguilera. Seriously, that's just about the only notable thing Mets-related to have happened on this date in the team's 50-plus year history. Not that Aggie was any slouch. In the first three years of his big league career, the righty out of Brigham Young University compiled a 31-17 record in 56 starts. Unfortunately, an elbow injury cut his 1987 season short and forced him to miss the majority of 1988 as well. The emergence of David Cone pushed Aguilera to the bullpen upon his return, where he thrived despite a stated preference for taking the ball every fifth day. Aggie got his wish midway through 1989 when the Mets sent him to Minnesota in the Frank Viola deal. Plugged into the Twins rotation, Aguilera put up respectable numbers (a 3.21 ERA in 11 starts), but with peripherals that paled in comparison to what he did as a reliever (a tasty K rate of 10.4 per nine and just three homers allowed in 69 innings). The Twinkies made Rick their closer the following year and aside from a 19-start experiment in 1996, that's where he remained for the rest of his career. As of 2012, he's one of just 23 men to save more than 300 games and he ranks 16th all-time in that increasingly inane stat.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Over a million people will pack into Times Square this evening to watch the half-ton Waterford crystal New Year's time ball make its annual slide down the flagpole. The crowd will surely stretch to at least to 49th Street and Broadway, the site of the Brill Building. It was in this very edifice that a young Ruth Roberts, co-composer of Meet the Mets, sold her very first song all the way back in 1947. May the team continue to really sock the ball and knock those home runs over the wall in 2013 and beyond.

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