We wish Carlos Delgado all the best on this, his 41st birthday. In 2005, free agent Delgado opted to sign with the Florida Marlins, believing they had a better shot at the postseason than the Mets. The two teams finished tied for third that year. Logic dictates that Delgado's presence in the Mets' lineup would certainly have given them the edge over the Fish and might even have helped them make up the six-game difference between the Amazins and the eventual Wild Card winners, the Houston Astros.
It's a moot point, but with Delgado onboard in 2006—acquired in a trade for Mike Jacobs, Yusmeiro Petit, and Grant Psomas—the Mets won the NL East title handily. He belted 38 home runs, drove in 114, and posted a slash line of .265/.361/.548. Along the way he notched his 400th career home run in grand style with a bases-loaded round-tripper off the Cardinals' Jeff Weaver.
Having Delgado in the batting order behind Carlos Beltran likely helped the latter Carlos have a monster bounce-back season. It certainly didn't hurt. Delagdo excelled in the postseason, especially in the seven-game NLCS versus St. Louis, hitting three home runs, driving in nine, and posting a 1.274 OPS.
Delgado's power slipped a bit in 2007, but in 2008 he pretty much duplicated his 2006 campaign. And in both of those seasons he was strong down the stretch even as the team was collapsing. After a hot start in 2009 he was sidelined with a right hip impingement that would prove to be a career-ending injury.
For his Mets career, Delgado is third all time in slugging (or fourth, depending on what kind of week David Wright is having), sixth in OPS, and fourth in home run frequency.
Wild, fire-balling right-hander Kane Davis, turning 38 today, made 16 relief appearances with the 2002 Mets before lower back issues sidelined him for the rest of the season. He was devastating against right-handed batters (17 strikeouts in 40 plate appearances, .623 OPS), but devastated by lefty swingers (1.206 OPS). He finished his pro career as a closer for Bud Harrelson's Long Island Ducks in 2010.
Veteran outfielder Michael Tucker, 42 today, was promoted from Norfolk in August 2006 to be one of the fill-ins for the injured Cliff Floyd. In 17 plate appearances leading off an inning he reached base eight times, but otherwise did little on offense. However, in Game 6 of the 2006 NLCS, he pinch-singled and scored the deciding run in the Mets' 4-2 win over St. Louis.
Aaron Sele turns 43 today. A two-time All-Star who won 69 games as a starter from 1998-2001, Sele brought nothing to the table as a reliever for the 2007 Mets. The two tack-on runs he surrendered on September 25 proved to be the difference in a 10-9 loss to the Nationals amid the Mets' 1-6 season-ending skid.
Happy 54th birthday to Alejandro Pena, who compiled a 2.9 ERA, 3.0 K/BB, and 2.3 WAR as the Mets' set-up man in 1990 and 1991. On August 28, 1991, New York traded Pena to Atlanta, where he was a perfect 11-for-11 in save opportunities to help Atlanta nose out Darryl Strawberry's Los Angeles Dodgers by one game for the NL West title
Game of Note
On this date in 1989, the Mets became the first National League team to play a full game without recording a single assist. Sid Fernandez and Rick Aguilera combined to retire the Phillies on 13 strikeouts, 12 fly outs and two grounders that first baseman Dave Magadan fielded and made unassisted putouts on.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Actor/second baseman Kurt Russell made his professional baseball debut for the Angels' low-A Bend Rainbows on this date in 1971. Two years later in the Double-A Texas League, he was tearing it up until he tore a rotator cuff in a collision with a baserunner, an injury which effectively ended his baseball career. He eventually made a successful return to acting and, in 1995, while preparing to start filming "Escape From L.A.," Russell saw his nephew Matt Franco make it to the big leagues. Franco's best year as a Met was 1999, when he set a major league record with 20 pinch walks and hit a memorable walk-off, two-run pinch single to beat Mariano Rivera and the Yankees.