This Date in Mets History: March 17 - Mets Go Green, Sign Honorary Irishman Tim O'Perez

Eliot J. Schechter / Getty Images

For a brief moment, it looked like the Mets might have plucked a four-leaf clover out of a field of international signings by inking Timo Perez.

Irish eyes were likely looking elsewhere when the Mets signed Timo Perez as a free agent on St. Patrick's Day in 2000. Despite the prominent o-sound in his name, there was no touch of the Blarney in Timo, a Dominican-born outfielder who'd spent the past four years half a world away from the Emerald Isle playing for the Hiroshima Carp in Japan's Nippon League.

Still, the transaction seemed to be blessed with some sort of luck, be it of the Irish or some other extraction, as it turned out better than anyone would have imagined. Timo posted an OPS of .904 as a Norfolk Tide, which earned him a September cup of coffee during which he was one of the team's most productive outfielders. Added to the postseason roster, Timo found himself thrust into the lineup late in Game One of the NLDS after starting right fielder Derek Bell twisted his ankle. Bad luck for Bell, but a good turn for the Mets, as Timo went three-for-five with a pair of RBI the following day and helped New York even the series. He cooled off a bit during the NLCS against the Cardinals, though he was the man who recorded the final out Mike Hampton's clinching shutout, snatching a Rick Wilkins fly out of the air. Unfortunately, the luck would run out completely in Game One of the World Series.

Birthdays
Vance Wilson turns 40. Wilson worked his way up from third-string catcher, to primary backup, to nominal starter in his six years as a Met. He got the bulk of the starts behind the plate during the '03 and '04 seasons, filling in for Mike Piazza when he was hurt or playing first base. Omar Minaya's second trade as Mets GM involved sending Wilson to the Detroit Tigers in December 2005, where he got stuck backing up another future Hall of Famer in Ivan Rodriguez.

Game of Note
Bret Saberhagen, still new to the orange and blue, donned a kelly green Mets jersey on March 17, 1992 when facing his old Kansas City teammates for the first time since getting traded to New York two months earlier. The new uni didn't suit Sabes, who left trailing 3-0 after his tune up work. The Mets offense, however, looked good in green. They exploded for 14 runs in the sixth and pounded Royals pitching for another seven before the end of the game en route to a 21-7 victory.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Being St. Patrick's Day, let's salute the players with McNames that have worked their way into the Mets record books. That includes some well-known men like Kevin McReynolds, whose 122 homers for New York rank eighth in franchise history and Tug McGraw, who saved the fifth-most games in Mets lore with 86. It also includes some lesser lights like shortstop Roy McMillan, who was the second-hardest Met to strike out, fanning just once every 23.7 at-bats in 1964.

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