One day in the far away year of 2050, some kid is going to look at the 2019 Mets roster and give the name Jacob Rhame no more than two seconds of undivided attention before moving on to the more flashy names that filled the pitching staff. After all, Rhame only made his way into five games this season and had a thoroughly unimpressive six innings of work to go along with it, so why would anyone care about his season next week let alone thirty years from now?
Well, for those of us lucky enough to live through the roller coaster that was the 2019 Mets, Jacob Rhame will always be remembered as the man who poked the bear known as Rhys Hoskins and started the first of many questionable rivalries between the Mets and some of the most mediocre teams that the National League had to offer.
The story of Jacob Rhame’s season can be told using only the second and third of the five games he took the field for. On April 23, the Mets held a 9-0 lead over the Phillies and Rhame was given the honor of completing the ninth inning and putting the final stamp on the Mets’ victory. The first two batters came and went without issue, but the third batter, Rhys Hoskins, is where things got interesting.
The first pitch that Hoskins saw sailed behind him and slammed into the backstop resulting in Hoskins taking a few steps towards the mound and the rest of both dugouts awkwardly shuffling their way towards the field. Fortunately, that disagreement came and went, but six pitches later, Rhame sailed another pitch up and in on the perturbed Phillie. After the game, Rhame insisted that there were no ill intentions and he was only trying his best to work inside. Considering that Rhame looks more like a guy that spends his days headhunting for the best head of lettuce in his local Whole Foods rather than trying to hurl baseballs at guy’s noggins, some may be inclined to believe his excuse. When spoken with after the game, Gabe Kapler, Rhys Hoskins, and Bryce Harper were not fooled by Rhame’s innocent appearance and denials of wrongdoing.
One day later, Rhame was called upon to pitch the ninth inning again, this time with the Mets in a 4-0 hole and Rhys Hoskins due up second in the inning. After walking Bryce Harper to lead off the inning, it was time for Hoskins to get his revenge in the only way he knows how. Of course, Hoskins lined a ball just over the wall in left field to extend the Phillies lead to six, but the real revenge came in his 34-second promenade around the bases. For context, Bartolo Colon rounded the bases almost four full seconds faster than Hoskins did.
Already thoroughly embarrassed, things only got worse for Rhame the night of April 25. Just after the conclusion of the game, it was announced that the league had suspended Rhame two games for throwing up and in twice on Hoskins. After that day, Rhame found himself in a weird sort of limbo where he needed to be on the major league roster to serve his suspension, but the team had no reason to keep him around as dead weight for the two days he would sit. As a result, he wouldn’t suit up with the big league club for almost three full months. For the rest of the season, Rhame would only pitch twice more for the Mets, once on July 19 and again on August 3 before elbow surgery ended his season a little over a week later.
With everything put together, Jacob Rhame pitched 6.1 innings for the Mets to the tune of a 4.26 ERA with nine walks and five strikeouts to his name. By all accounts, Rhame’s season is no more historic or noteworthy than Tim Stauffer’s stint with the Mets in 2015, but for those two days in April, Rhame was the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons. The curious kid in 2050 may not have a use for Rhame, but today he’s one of the dozens of little stories that makes the six month, 162 game season as entertaining as it is.