Veteran catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. was in the dugout during last night’s debacle in Denver and wearing No. 19. Alomar had been recalled from AAA after Jason Vargas 43 was whacked following his revolting outing on Tuesday. Alomar is expected to last at least until Sunday when it is anticipated the Mets will recall Dave Williams to take the turn in Houston initially scheduled for Vargas. Williams threw, fairly effectively, for the Mets last season wearing No. 32.
As for Alomar, he becomes the second No. 19 this season (disgraced reliever Lino Urdaneta was the first) and the third member of the Alomar Clan to play for the Mets. Brother Roberto began the decline phase of his career here wearing No. 12 and their father, Sandy Sr., was a reserve infielder for the Mets in the first few weeks of 1967 (wearing No. 5); and has served as a coach since 2005 (wearing No. 2).
The Alomars now match the extended Alou clan (Moises Alou 18, his uncle Jesus Alou 25, and cousin Mel Rojas 51) as the Metliest families we know of.
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Newly named coach Howard Johnson was spied at Spring Training revealing jersey No. 52 and temporarily ending some wild speculation that he’d finagle his old No. 20 from Shawn Green. The rules of the jersey game clearly pointed to this outcome — coaches don’t take jerseys from players, except when the player happens to be someone like Jeff McKnight. Then, all bets are off.
Thanks to readers Gene and Matt for pointing it out.
Also worth noting: Coach Jerry Manuel is back in No. 53, with spring training invitee Aaron Sele in 35. Manuel, you may recall, was assigned 53 last spring but switched jerseys when Chad Bradford — who’d been assigned 35 — preferred the latter. This restores at least some orderliness on the coaching bench: Sandy Alomar Sr. is still waddling around in No. 2, but the rest of the staff are nice and Rube Walkerly in the 50s — Rick Peterson 51; Hojo 52; Manuel 53; Rick Down 54; Tom Nieto 55; and Guy Conti 56.
Other sightings at Spring Training, as reported by various witnesses: Carlos Gomez in 88 and Fernando Martinez in 67. There have been several photos of recently signed ancient catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. floating around the Met but none in a jersey we’ve seen yet. Let us know if find something.
Marty Noble on the Jose Valentin/Moises Alou “controversy” (I use quotes here because I strongly suspect Valentin has more affection for 22, his number for many years, than for 18,his number for just one. But good Nobling here nonetheless:
Sometime this year, Mets left fielder Moises Alou will receive a bill, the amount of which has yet to be established. It will come from his new teammate, Jose Valentin.“I haven’t decided yet,” Valentin said. “It depends on how well he plays.”
The bill will be compensation for the uniform No. 18, which Valentin surrendered to Alou. Valentin has changed to No. 22 — worn previously by Ray Knight, Donn Clendenon, Kevin McReynolds, Al Leiter and Xavier Nady, among others — to accommodate Alou. Except for his first two games with the Pirates in 1990, when he wore No. 52, Alou has worn No. 18 throughout his career.
Alou’s uncle, Jesus, wore No. 23 with the Mets in 1975.