This Date in Mets History: February 8 - Todd Zeile, Take Two

Eliot J. Schechter / Getty Images

The Mets bolstered their bench on this date in 2004 by resigning the starting first baseman from the 2000 NL Championship team.

In the Mets' entire 50-plus history, the Mets have only taken one action of consequence on February 8. On this date in 2004, the team agreed to bring back Todd Zeile for a second tour of duty. Zeile left the Mets via trade prior to the 2002 season, then puddle jumped from Colorado to the Bronx to Montreal (the ninth, tenth. and eleventh stops on his career itinerary) before landing a roster spot as a reserve infielder on Art Howe's bench.

Though inked as a backup, the amiable Californian wound up playing 134 games in 2004, due mainly to an early season injury to 3B Ty Wigginton and the season-long struggles of 1B Jason Phillips. He even chucked an inning of relief, allowing four runs in 19-10 blowout loss to the Expos. Zeile later exacted a small measure of revenge by taking former teammate Claudio Vargas deep in the final at-bat of his career and helping the Mets topple the Expos in the last game that franchise would play before becoming the Washington Nationals.

Birthdays
The only person to have donned a Mets uniform and call this date his birthday is former coach Don Heffner. He would have been 102 today. Heffner manned the third base coaching box for managers Casey Stengel and Wes Westrum. He stepped down after the 1965 to manage the Cincinnati Reds, a job that almost certainly had to be more exciting. Especially since the Mets scored a league-worst (though rotator cuff preserving) 1,064 runs during Heffner's tenure as the man giving the windmill sign.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
On this date in 1693, King William III and Queen Mary II issued a royal charter for the founding of a "perpetual College of Divinity, Philosophy, Languages, and the good arts and sciences" in the Virginia Colony. That college became, rather unoriginally, the College of William and Mary. The second oldest institute of higher learning in the United States has seen ten alumni reach the ranks of Major League Baseball, but none have played for the Mets. The school does, however, count among its grads one of the more prominent celebrity Mets fans, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart.

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