Many Being Manny

I’d like to call out this nugget from MBTN reader Ranjrz25 in a recent comment section:

Acosta is the Mets’ fourth Manny (not counting Acta)… all 4 have worn a number that’s a mutiple of 6 (Alexander, 6; Aybar, Acosta, Hernandez, 36).

That’s too, uh, Manny Mannies to remember. Let’s give ’em a look.

I have no memory whatsoever of Manny Hernandez, a right-handed pitcher who made only one appearance for the Mets — throwing a scoreless sixth inning in a 10-1 blowout loss at Montreal on Sept. 16, 1989. Hernandez was a product of the Houston Astros — he’d played with the ’86 NLCS opponent but not in the postseason — but the Mets purchased him from the Twins’ organization in the summer of ’89 and recalled him that September. Hernandez hung around the Mets’ minor leagues for another two years but never resurfaced, with the Mets or any other major-league club.

Photo from New York Mets Hall of RecordsManny Alexander was a hotshot shortstop prospect with the misfortune of having bashed into the glass ceiling beneath Cal Ripken in Baltimore: He would be acquired in a trade from the O’s during spring training of 1997 (the Mets gave up minor league pitcher Hector Ramirez) and installed as a middle-infield backup. Alexander wasn’t much of a hitter but I liked him in the backup role — he was versatile, had some speed, didn’t embarrass himself or the team with the glove and still had enough youthful fire to be a consideration to start. He’d be famously dealt away to the Cubs that August in the first move of Steve Phillips’ burgeoning general managership: Included along with Mark Clark and Lance Johnson for Mel RojasTurk Wendell and Brian McRae in a trade that would reverberate for years to come. Alexander had another several years as a reserve and part-time starter ahead of him. (The photo at left is shown at the Mets Hall of Records).

Manny Aybar was part of the 2005 bullpen that took rookie skipper Willie Randolph a little while to figure out. The opening-day relief corps was stuffed with veterans including Aybar, Mike DeJeanFelix Heredia (with whom I conflate Aybar), Mike Matthews and Roberto Hernandez. Of those, only Hernandez would last the entire year; all the others would be released one by one. Aybar’s climax was coughing up five runs in one inning (including issuing a bases loaded walk and three-run homer) in a shameful 12-2 blowout in Anaheim. That game and Aybar’s subsequent release — also the last of his big-league career — set the mood for the miraculous Marlon Anderson/Cliff Floyd Game the following night.

We’re already getting to know Manny Acosta and his dazzling terror: He possesses the kind of strikeout stuff that once prompted the Braves to make him their closer; also the propensity for meatballs and walks that got him released by the same club this spring.

Help fight Lou Gehrig’s Disease: Join me the in the Walk to Defeat ALS May 15 or sponsor my team. Thanks!

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