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Minutiae Break: The Agbayani List

So I started to write a blog about Game 3 of the 2000 NLDS, but I got bored rather quickly. My thinking was that rehashing this game wasn't going to be anything special, because it is such a well-known contest in Mets history. I don't have a particularly good story about watching the game, other than that I was at work, and when the Mets won, a Phillies fan termed their post-game celebration excessive.

Then I discovered something. In the beginning of my writing, I had misspelled the last name of the man who hit the walk-off home run that won that particular game. My initial spelling of his name was "Agbyani," which thus was missing an "a"

As someone who works in sports media (and was 5th grade class spelling champ at PS 190), I know the value of spelling . I have had a number of spelling encounters (though none with Aaron or Tori) over the years. When I was 12, I pointed out a flea-market forgery to my dad when I noticed someone selling a photo signed "Mickey Mantel." I'm fascinated by the number of people who think of the former Orioles shortstop as Cal Ripkin Jr. (Paul White of Sports Weekly wrote a great piece on that subject a few years ago).

So it occurred to me that there are a good number of Mets, who over the years have been the victims of bad spellings. I sought to find a few. Baseball-Reference.com was one resource because it actually has a section for misspellings on its player pages. Google was another source, as I found 131 hits for "Benny Agbyani."

So without further ado, I present "The Agbayani List," a tribute to Mets with tricky-to-spell names from A to Z. Now you too can conduct your own Mets spelling bee.

Tommie Agee: Often forgotten fact, lost in the two great catches he made in Game 3 of the 1969 World Series is that Agee homered to lead off the Mets first inning, giving them all the scoring they would need. ("Tommy Agee" -- 1,879 Google hits)

Joe Grzenda: Only two players in MLB history have had their last name start with the letters "Grz." Raise your hand if you knew Joe Grzenda (11 games pitched with the 1967 Mets) and Mike Grzanich (1 IP with the 1998 Astros). And on that note, former Met Rick Trlicek is the only MLB player to start his last name with "TRL." ("Joe Grezenda" -- 1 Google hit)

Gregg Jefferies: I once misspelled Gregg's last name on one job assignment. I left out a letter in his last name (in between "f" and "r"). My boss told me afterwards: You get an "E" for that error. Very clever on his part. ("Gregg Jeffries" -- 947 Google hits)

Ryan McGuire: Next to "Ripkin," the most commonly misspelled name I've seen in the non-sports sector is "Mark McGuire." Chances are they weren't looking for the ex-Met (1 game in 2000). ("Ryan McGwire" -- 516 Google hits).

Doug Mientkiewicz: If we can coax the NL into starting the "Designated Fielder" position, maybe Doug would come back next year. (many variations, most notably "Doug Mintkayvich" -- 3 Google hits)

Jeff Musselman: I can still remember clear as a bell how I found out that the Mets traded Mookie Wilson. The WFAN update anchor that day teased the deal going into the break stating that "The Mets get some muscle, man." What a disappointment. ("Jeff Mussleman" -- a whopping 1,520 Google hits)

Ron Swoboda: This would have been a good newspaper headline/tongue twister after his catch in Game 4 of the 1969 World Series: "Swoboda's Swagger: Swift Swipe."("Ron Swaboda" -- 249 Google hits)

Marv Throneberry: When I was a little kid, I used to think his name was "Thornberry." Sad but true: I also used to think that "Babe Ruth" was the name of a city in Lebanon from hearing about it on the news so much. ("Marv Thornberry"-- 153 Google hits)

Pat Zachry: The neat thing about Pat Zachry was that, during his Mets career, he bore a slight resemblance to my uncle, Zachary. My Google search turned up someone selling a "Pat Zachary" 1981 Topps card (the resemblance to my uncle is more clear on the 1980) for $26.10. I think the decimal point is in the wrong place. ("Pat Zachary"-- 366 Google hits)

That's my initial list at this point. Feel free to comment with any others.

True Metbayanis know...The 5 Mets who were native Hawaiians are Benny Agbayani, Ron Darling, Carlos Diaz, Sid Fernandez, and Tyler Yates, but obviously Agbayani is the only one with a walk-off hit...The other cool tidbit is that in all three Mets win in that NLDS, the final Giants out was registered by Barry Bonds.

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