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This Date in Mets History: June 2 — Mets draft a can't-miss prospect who winds up missing

The Mets used the first overall pick in the 1994 draft to take Paul Wilson, who everyone assumed would develop into a number one pitcher. TINSTAAP.

Otto Greule, Jr. / Getty Images

From a scouting report filed by Russell Bove of the Milwaukee Brewers on February 12, 1994:

Outstanding velocity and movement. Potential #1 starter-All-Star ability.

From a report by Bill Meyer, scout for the Chicago White Sox, also filed in 1994:

Has everything you look for in a major league front-line starting pitcher. Early first rounder.

George Bradley, also of the White Sox scouting staff, seconded his colleague's opinion:

True power pitcher and will have 3 plus pitches. No. 1 type starter—20-game winner.

On this date in 1994, the Mets made the first overall selection in the June amateur draft for the fifth time in franchise history. Fourteen years earlier, the team used the chance to call first dibs to good effect, drafting a young outfielder out of Crenshaw by the name of Darryl Strawberry. Having slid in to irrelevancy after Darryl's departure via free agency in 1990-and having bottomed out in 1993 by losing 100-plus games for the first time since the mid-'60s-the Mets' strategy heading into the '94 draft was to rebuild by once again focusing on the franchise's tradition of strong starting pitching. As such, the Mets used the pick to take the consensus number one collegiate hurler in the country, a right-hander from Florida State University named Paul Wilson. Said Wilson at a post-draft press conference, "I'm happy to maybe follow in some great footsteps."

From a 2000 scouting report filed by Leo Labossiere of the Houston Astros:

A lot of injuries, had a good FB, but now tops out at 89...Had a bright future, but now looks very dim.


Kurt Abbott, 44, seems like the type who respects rules and order. In the backup infielder's nine-year career, he was only thrown out of one game. On June 9, Abbott, then a Met, was tossed by umpire Marty Foster for arguing a play at first base. Upon retirement, Abbott decided he, too,, wanted to be an enforcer of rules and codes of ethics and became a sheriff's deputy in Martin County, Florida.

Kelvin Chapman is 57. Wally Backman's right-handed platoon partner during the 1984 season, Chapman got on base at a .356 clip and showed some gap power by hitting 13 doubles in 223 plate appearances. However, he slumped badly in 1985, got sent back to Triple-A Tidewater, and played just 17 games there before calling it a career.

The Mets picked up Reid Cornelius, 44, in the June 1995 trade that sent expendable first baseman David Segui to the Montreal Expos. The right-hander got off to a fast start in Triple-A Norfolk, making ten starts, winning seven, and losing none. Called up to the big club in August, Cornelius took ten turns in the rotation and saw his luck pull a 180, as he lost seven, won just three, and finished the year with a grisly 5.15 ERA.

Mike Stanton turns 46 today. His Mets career is summed up in two comments left by user "Mr. Sparkle" on the "Memories of Mike Stanton" page at the Ultimate Mets Database. The first one, posted ten days after the Mets signed the lefty away from the Yankees in 2002, reads:

This was a great pick up and I hope it comes back to haunt Steinbrenner. He will be extremely valuable for us this year.

Almost exactly three years, later, Mr. Sparkle returned to say:

He had his moments but was never close to the setup man he was for his previous employer. I'm glad to send him back to the Bronx, even if it is for that loser Felix Heredia.

While the Paul Wilson pick didn't pan out, the Mets have added some solid talent to the organization via the draft on this date. Back in 1987, the team used a second round selection to take Todd Hundley out of Fremd High School in Illinois. Seventeen picks later, the team also took teenaged lefty Pete Schourek. Also drafted on this date was Angel Pagan, who, having amassed 15.7 career bWAR to date, easily outpaces Cody Ross as the most valuable player taken in the fourth round of the 1999 draft.

Game of Note
Two years ago, the Mets pulled off their largest comeback in over a decade, fighting back from a 7-0 hole to beat the Pirates by a 9-8 score. Mike Pelfrey spotted Pittsburgh a touchdown and an extra point through the game's first three innings, but Carlos Beltran shaved a field goal's worth of runs off the deficit with a three-run homer in the bottom half of the inning. Timely two-out singles from Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy in the sixth brought the Mets within a run, while the former scampered home one batter later on a passed ball. New York tacked on two more in the eighth and the insurance run proved handy, as Francisco Rodriguez gave one back in the ninth. After the game, Josh Thole told reporters, "To fight back like we did makes a little bit of a statement. We're not going to lie down." Of course, the team finished the year with a 77-85 record.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Today marks the diamond anniversary of Elizabeth II's coronation, as she was crowned Queen of England before hundreds of well-wishers in Westminster Abbey on this date in 1953. The Mets have never had a Queen play for the team. In fact, there have been three players total with that surname in MLB history. However, the royally named Dave Kingman was a Met for six seasons and, appropriately enough, he reigned as the team's single-season and career home run leader until Darryl Strawberry dethroned him from both spots in 1987 and 1988 respectively.