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From Gamesaver to Lifesaver

Let's be honest here and acknowledge that Kurt Abbott's Mets career was unrewarding. He was a member of the 2000 squad that went to the World Series but did little to advance their cause.

Abbott was a fill in at shortstop for Rey Ordonez and a rather mediocre one at that. He wasn't good enough to play everyday once Ordonez went down for the season, forcing Steve Phillips to trade Melvin Mora for Mike Bordick. The expectations were high, or at least modest, for a guy that showed in past years that he could hit a little bit and Abbott had a solid April, hitting .308, but he was a sub-.200 batsman after that.

Abbott's most redeeming Mets moment came on June 8, 2000, when he hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning, giving the Flushing 9 an 8-7 win over the Orioles. The Mets rallied from a four-run deficit and blew a ninth inning lead before Abbott's long ball ended things off Orioles reliever Jose Mercedes.

You're much more likely to remember Abbott as the shortstop who was the last out of Game 2 of the World Series that season, and was unable to reach Luis Sojo's game-winning single up the middle in Game 5, whose baseball career ended after a couple games the following season with the Braves.

When I was compiling my database of Mets walk-off wins, I realized there were some for which I would struggle to find a compelling story. For the June 8 game, I figured I'd probably end up having a little fun with the last name, maybe do some sort of a "Who's on First?" parody or find a humorous manner to reference that contest. That won't be necessary.

Last Thursday Kurt Abbott was working in his new career, as a Florida-based sherriff's deputy. It was the middle of the night and Abbott and another deputy were responding to a 911 call. There was a fire, a rather serious one at a home for a family of three in Palm City and the two of them were urgently needed. Abbott fought through the smoke and flames, got to Becca Baker and her mom, Barbara Taylor, and carried them outside to safety. His partner rescued Becca's stepfather, Ted Taylor. Firefighters were able to eventually put out the blaze. The family members were greatly thankful for the assistance as all three were uninjured. Abbott was fairly modest in explaining his role in the matter.

"I've never done anything like that in my life," Abbott said. "It was like getting the game winning hit."

For a more detailed version of the story, you can read here

Thanks to Mark Tomasik of Palm City, Fla. whose post to the Society for American Baseball Research e-mail group brought this story to my attention.


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