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Eddie Murray, the switch-hitting RBI machine (and Gary Carter's Cooperstown classmate), turns 57 today.
Birthday boy Steady Eddie Murray spent two years of his Cooperstown career as a Met, joining the team via free agency prior to the 1992 season. Signing Murray was the first move in GM Al Harazin's ambitious plan to remake a team that had just suffered through its first losing campaign since 1983, nearly a decade earlier. Later in the offseason, he opened the checkbook to add Bobby Bonilla and Willie Randolph, then paid a king's ransom in talent to pry Bret Saberhagen away from the Royals, but of all the additions, Murray was the only one who made it to the end of the 1992 season healthy. As such, the Mets limped to a 72-90 finish despite a career-high 37 doubles and 93 RBI from the everyday first baseman.
Never one who enjoyed talking to the press, Eddie Murray nevertheless expressed hope for 1993 in a longish interview with the New York Times just before spring training. "This is a different year," he told Claire Smith, "and I'm not giving up on these guys." Eddie's optimism was a bit misplaced. While his counting stats improved (27 HR, 100 RBI), Murray's declining OBP and fielding prowess dragged his overall value down to a career-low 0.9 WAR and the Mets lost more than 100 games for the first time since LBJ was president. By year's end, owner Nelson Doubleday was on the record saying Murray should to move to the AL so he could DH. Steady Eddie heeded the advice and signed with the Indians when his contract expired.
Catcher Gustavo Molina is 31. Despite the last name and position, this Molina is not related to the Bengie/Jose/Yadier backstop triumvirate. At least not by blood. It's certainly possible there's a very nice Molina sister that Gustavo is married to, but there's no evidence of that online. Anyway, the stout Venezuelan (6' 1", 250 lbs.) made two starts for the Mets in 2008, slapping a single and drawing a walk in the first, but going hitless in the second.
Spurned by Bengie Molina earlier in the offseason, the Mets signed Rod Barajas to a one year, $1 million contract on this date in 2010. According to Baseball Reference, Barajas was exactly replacement during his time in New York, accruing 0.0 WAR in 267 plate appearances. He did hit the first walk-off home run in Citi Field history, though. On May 7, he took Sergio Romo deep in the bottom of the ninth to give the Mets a 6-4 victory over the Giants. You can watch the blast and ensuing celebration here.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Andrew Johnson became the first U.S. president in history to face impeachment when the House of Representatives formally accused him of high crimes and misdemeanors on this date in 1868. The most severe of the eleven different articles of impeachment brought against President Johnson was that he violated the Tenure of Office Act by dismissing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. If Mets fans had to pick between Johnsons and Stantons, they'd likely side with the former, since the team has had several All-Stars with that surname (Howard, Davey, Lance), while the only Stantons of note were Nolan Ryan trade bait Leroy and secret Yankee mole Mike. Ultimately, the Senate sided with Johnson, too, and the president avoided being ousted by a single vote.