Monday, February 25, 2013

This Week in Mets History 1-7: Straw, Mex, Hot Rod and King Kong

Frank Gray
MM Editor

February 24, 2010 - After Benjie Molina moved on to other pastures for the green, the Mets signed veteran Rod Barajas to be his replacement behind the plate. It didn't take long for Barajas to be embraced by fans. May 7th, he hit the first walk-off home run in Citi Field history.

It was against the San Francisco Giants and gave the Mets a dramatic 6-4 win. As the Mets began to fall out of the standings as the summer went on, Barajas would be placed on waivers and claimed by the Dodgers.

Currently, he is with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but Mets fans will always have a soft spot in their hearts for the man nicknamed "Hot Rod".

February 28, 1975 and 1981 - The Mets signed Dave "King Kong" Kingman for $150K. The man that the Mets would eventually trade for six years, to the day, later would amass great numbers in a Mets uniform. Both stints began on this date. One in 1975 and the other in 1981.

Kingman would hit 154 home runs and 389 RBI, both personal highs among any other team in his career. These days he is retired and spending his days golfing in Lake Tahoe.

March 2, 1989 - Two of the greatest hitting legends in Mets history took to hitting each other. During a photo shoot, Darryl Strawberry and Keith Hernandez exchanged blows stemming from an argument over contracts. Strawberry walked out of camp. He would return and the two would patch things up.

That 1989 season would prove to be the final one for Hernandez as a player in Queens. He would retire the following year after a brief and unsuccessful stint in Cleveland. He is currently broadcasting for the Mets on their TV network, SNY.

Strawberry would be an All-Star that season and remain with the team for one more year before parting ways with the franchise. Today, he is a successful restaurant owner and still can be seen at Mets functions.

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