Another injury to Brian Schneider this afternoon required the Mets to reach down to AAA and recall catcher Gustavo Molina, dressing him, appropriately enough, in No. 6. Brady Clark, who passed through undistinguishedly wearing No. 15 in 2004, may see his run in No. 44 this year similarly brief and forgettable: He was designated for assignment to make room for Molina (pictured at left thanks to MBTN reader Gordon).
As readers of this site know well, no number in Mets history has been issued as often as No. 6. Molina, if and when he makes his official Mets debut, would be the number’s 34th occupant and the first since Ruben Gotay, who was designated for assignment and claimed by the Braves shortly before the season began. No. 6’s colorful and scrubbily insignificant history includes three issues in the team’s maiden season of 1962 (Jim Marshall, Cliff Cook and Rick Herrscher); three issues in 1990 (Mike Marshall, Alex Trevino, Darren Reed) and a mind-boggling four giveaways in 2004 (Ricky Gutierrez, Gerald Williams, Tom Wilson and Jeff Keppinger).
Even the number’s longest-term occupants (Al Weis and Wally Backman) owned reputations as guys who overachieved their way to prominence: Weis was a light-hitting backup infielder for the 1969ers who masde a strong case to be MVP of the 1969 World Series; Backman, of course, overcame doubts early in his career and the need for a platoonmate throughout it, to carve out a nine-season run in No. 6 on pure grit.
Below is a list of the most popular issues in Met jersey history through April 25 2008, and including Molina:
No. No. of Players to wear it Notes
6 34 Issued a team-record four times in 2004.
34 30 Longest tenure: Danny Frisella (1970-72).
17 30 20 position players; 10 pitchers.
19 28 Current occupant: Ryan Church
35 28 Longest tenure: Rick Reed (5 years).
38 27 12 players in 9 years between Roger Craig (1963) and Buzz Capra (1971)
11 27 26 position players, 1 pitcher.
33 27 14 pitchers; 13 position players.
43 26 Issued twice in ’66, ’97, ’98 and ‘02
26 26 One All-Star starter: Dave Kingman (1976)
29 26 Best player to wear it gave it up too soon: Ken Singleton
1 25 Everyone wants to be No. 1; most should think twice