Thanks to commenter Shorty for the tip in the below thread recognizing that Blaine Boyer on Saturday earned the first save in Mets history by a player wearing No. 23. That’s just the kind of useless fact we’ll need plenty of to get us though the 2011 season. Here’s another: Willie Harris, who might be the Mets MVP if the season ended today, appears to be the first player in Mets history who had his uni number pre-tattooed.
As you can see in these photos, Willie has the No. 22 prominently (and permanently) displayed on his right forearm. If I had to guess, I’d say he got this ink while a member of the Braves in 2007: Harris moved onto Washington in 2008 as a free agent: The Nats initially issued Harris No. 1, but he changed back to 22 in 2009 (Brian Sanches wore 22 for the Nats then). I found some photos of Harris in a Nats uni with the same mark. Willie was fortunate to have come upon No. 22 with the Mets while it was available: It belonged last season to released mercurial lefty reliever Raul Valdes, whom I’ll always remember for contributions during that ridiculous 20-inning affair with the Cardinals a year ago.
If Harris had uni numbers tattooed onto his body prior to 2007, they might be hard to find. It’s conceivable that 22 was once just plain 2 (his number with Boston in 2006) but prior to that Harris wore 12, 13 and 1 with the White Sox and 40 with the Orioles during his rookie year of 2001. Sports Illustrated noted Harris’ many tattoos back in 2005:
HE HAS an eclectic mix of tattoos, highlighting his dedication to his family and his faith in God. “Everything is something that I either love or that inspires me,” says Harris, 27. He has, among other things, the names of his daughter, Arianna, and mother, Lene, and a tiger on his left arm. “That’s kind of the way I am, the way I go about the game,” he says. “Like with the eye of the tiger, always go hard.”
Don’t forget: If you’re looking for a place to watch the Mets-Phils game Tuesday, come over to the Holiday Inn LaGuardia for an Amazin’ Tuesday Met Together sponsored by Maple Street Press and its 2011 Mets Annual. There will be food, drinks, giveaways, Mets discussion, Mets fans and the Mets game on the big screens. Details here, see you there.