Skip to main content

Full Nelson

If the battle for the last spot on the Mets Opening Day pitching staff comes down to Nelson Figueroa vs Tony Armas Jr. I know who I'm pulling for.

Flash back to the 1986 postseason when both were young'uns with different interests. Figueroa, who grew up on Coney Island was my age, and though he was intrigued by Mike Scott's splitter, he was a Dwight Gooden disciple and an avid Mets fan. Armas was the son of the starting centerfielder for the Red Sox, whose injury opened the path for Dave Henderson to become a Red Sox legend.

I must admit that I'm a sucker for the non-roster invitee and although I won't wish for any circumstances to cause it, I'd love to see Figueroa make the Mets.

Besides his childhood rooting interests, there are a couple of other things that I really like about Figs.

For one, he's a Brandeis guy. For those unfamiliar, Brandeis is a Division III school in Boston, and as a fellow D-3 attendee, I always find myself rooting for that sort of underdog. Figueroa is the only player from Brandeis to have ever made the major leagues and though his stints have been unimpressive, I think that's a noteworthy accomplishment.

For another thing, Figueroa seems to be, by most accounts, a good person. When the September 11 attacks occurred, Figueroa spearheaded fundraising efforts by the MLB Players Association by designing a "United We Stand" baseball-themed t-shirt (I owned one, until it shrunk a bit too much to wear).

From the perspective of this blog, Figueroa is noteworthy, best known as the starting pitcher in one of my all-time favorite regular-season games attended, a Mets-Phillies contest from 2001, capped by a Mike Piazza walk-off home run.

You can read more about that here:

Figueroa has pitched in 74 major league games and has my sympathies, because of those 74, his team has only won 12. And yet I'll still tell you that he's a winner in my book. Figueroa has a career minor league record of 100-60, impressive more for the perseverance factor than anything else. I like my players to have a certain stick-to-itiveness and Figueroa has that.

If this is Figueroa's last crack at making the majors, I'm glad he's going down with some fight. He'll turn 34 in May but this is someone who was so eager to pitch, he spent last season in Mexico and Taiwan. Baseball-Reference tells us that he went 3-0 in Taiwan's version of the World Series, helping his team, the Uni-President Lions, win a championship (unlike Tom Glavine, he didn't melt under pressure, becoming the first foreigner to win series MVP honors). He followed that up with a stint for Aguilas in the Dominican League this past winter, where he went 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA and helped them win a championship. Oh, and guess who was just named MVP of the Carribean World Series, beating out Miguel Tejada, among others? Nelson Figueroa.

So while all eyes will be on Johan Santana as spring training begins, forgive me if I'm not pulling harder for someone just as deserving of some respect.

True Metgueroas know...Tony Armas' father had six career walk-off hits in his major-league career, including three walk-off home runs.


Popular posts from this blog

Walk-Offs in Movies, TV, and Other Places

Note: I'm leaving this post up through the end of the week, a) because I don't have time to pump out something new and b)because I was hoping to build a really good list of entertainment industry if you're looking for something new, check back on Monday or so... Of course, if there's a major trade or move, I'll adjust and try to post something... In the meantime, click on the "Table of Contents" link as well. It has been updated. SPOILER ALERT: Read at your own risk Caught the ending of "A League of Their Own" on one of the movie channels the other day and it got me to thinking that it would be fun to compile a list of walk-offs from movies, television, and other forms of entertainment. Here's the start, and only the start, as I spent about 30 minutes or so thinking it over Help me fill in the blanks by filling out the comments section. "A League of Their Own"-- Racine beats Rockford for the All-American Girls Profess

The best Mets ejections I know

When you think of the Mets and famous ejections, I'm guessing you first think of the famous Bobby Valentine mustache game, when after Valentine got tossed, he returned to the dugout in disguise. You know it. You love it. I remember being amused when I asked Bobby V about it while we were working on Baseball Tonight, how he simply said "It worked. We won the game." (true) But the Bobby V mustache game of June 9, 1999 is one of many, many memorable Mets ejection stories. And now thanks to Retrosheet and the magic of , we have a convenient means for being able to share them. Ever since Retrosheet's David Smith recently announced that the Retrosheet ejection database was posted online , I've been a kid in a candy store. I've organized the data and done some lookups of media coverage around the games that interested me post. Those newspaper accounts fill in a lot of blanks. Without further ado (and with more work to do), here are some of my findings

Best Games I Know: Phillies (Updated)

  The best wins against the Phillies in Mets history …   May 5, 2022 – Mets 8, Phillies 7 The Mets score 7 runs in the 9 th inning to overcome a 7-1 deficit and win in Philadelphia.   April 29, 2022 – Mets 3, Phillies 0 Tylor Megill and 4 Mets relievers combine on the second no-hitter in franchise history.   September 22, 2016 – Mets 9, Phillies 8 (11) The Mets tie it in the 9 th on a Jose Reyes home run and win it in the 11 th on a 3-run home run by Asdrubal Cabrera.   July 17, 2016 - Mets 5, Phillies 0 Jacob deGrom pitches a one-hitter. Only hit is a single by Zach Eflin in the 5 th inning.   August 24, 2015 – Mets 16, Phillies 7 David Wright homers in his first at-bat in more than 4 months. The Mets hit a team-record 8 home runs.   July 5, 2012 – Mets 6, Phillies 5 The Mets score 2 runs with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9 th to beat Jonathan Papelbon. The winning run scores on David Wright’s bloop down the right field line.   August 13