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One Good (or Bad) Turn Deserves Another

On Opening Day 2002, Gary Matthews Jr. pinch-hit for Al Leiter and flied to left field against Pirates reliever Mike Lincoln. That was the only at-bat of Matthews' Mets least probably until Opening Day 2010.

Matthews will soon depart from what is a prestigious Mets club- the one at-batters.

There are currently 43 players whose Mets vanity plate could read ONEAB.

* Most of them are pitchers. That position numbers 35, headed by current Met middle-man Sean Green.

* Green is one of 18 players whose only Mets at-bat was a strikeout. Class of '62 Met Dave Hillman is at the front of that line, alongside teammate Bob G. Miller. . For him, bat silence was Golden, as in Jim Golden, who struck Hillman out and also holds the distinction of having a multi-triple game against the Mets.

* Imperfection is the mark of many a one at-batter. Their collective account reads just five hits in 43 tries, which explains why most of them only got one turn at the plate.

There was no Met for whom there was more imperfection than pitcher Jerry Hinsley. In Hinsley's 11 major league games, the teams he played for and against combined to score 100 runs. Unfortunately, 79 were scored by Mets opponents. In Hinsley's 11 major league games, the Mets were a combined 0-11. In his lone at-bat, Hinsley was struck out, but at least he can say he faced a Hall of Famer- Giants pitcher Juan Marichal.

* There are some for whom one time at-bat marked the entirety of their major league career. Kevin Morgan parlayed his ONEAB status into a future gig in Mets minor league operations.

Speaking of which, another ONEAB member is Randy Milligan, who was fortunate enough to get some future play with the Orioles. He's also fortunate that the Mets listened to his suggestion and drafted a player from Virginia whom he scouted- David Wright.

* Milligan came one year too late. He was an '87 Met. Neither the 1969 nor 1986 Mets had a ONEAB. The closest we have to that is Dave Liddell, who was traded to the Mets by the Cubs in 1986, a move that saddened someone who wished he had been an '86 Met for a little longer- pitcher Ed Lynch.

* Liddell had a hit in his lone Met AB, a distinction that we mentioned is shared by only four others.

Who made the most of his moment in the sun (or shade, or shadows, depending on the time of day)? I suppose it depends on how you look at it. Rodney McCray's lone Mets at-bat resulted in a walk-off hit against the Dodgers.

Others might say that distinction should belong to pitcher Eric Cammack, whose only Mets at-bat was a triple in an 11-2 win against the Marlins in 2000. There's also pitcher Ray Searage, who was 1-for-1 as a Mets hitter, and a perfect 1-0 on the mound, and catcher Gary Bennett, who went on to valuable reserve status with the Cardinals.

* For the most part, the ONEAB members are an anonymous group. You're probably not too familiar with Joe Grzenda or Ralph Milliard. If you remember Billy Wynne, you win in my book, though forgive me if I find you a little Strange (as in Pat Strange).

I hope you've enjoyed this little trip through Metdom past. I've done my best here though to make sure that these guys while gone are not forgotten, or in the case of Gary Matthews, forgotten, but not gone.

True Metthews know...Gary Matthews Jr. has three walk-off hits in his major league career, with his lone walk-off home run coming in the season he played for the Mets- 2002, except it was for the Orioles.


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