The 1990s was pretty much a lost decade for the Mets. The decade began with the fall of the 1980s dynasty that wasn’t. Then came the worst team that money could buy, followed by a long stretch of mediocrity. Bobby Valentine and Mike Piazza offered some hope at the end of the decade, but the 1990s was not a fun time to be a Mets fan.
Here are a trio of autographed cards of players from that forgotten era.
Pat Tabler had a long career in the American League, playing for the Chicago White Sox in 1981 & 1982, the Cleveland Indians from 1983 – 1988, the Kansas City Royals from 1988 – 1990 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1991 & 1992. But he spent a month in the National League at the end of the 1990 season.
The Mets were in the pennant race on Aug. 30, 1990 — they trailed the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates by 1.5 games. Making a move to strengthen their bench, New York sent minor league pitcher Archie Corbin to Kansas City for Tabler, a feared clutch hitter.
He didn’t get many opportunities with the Mets, but he drove in 10 runs in 43 at-bats.
The Mets finished the 1990 season 4 games behind the Pirates, and Tabler signed with the Blue Jays as a free agent during the off-season.
The honor of being this year’s first belongs to 1970s infielder Leo Foster. The “highlight” of Foster’s career may have been his first game when he was playing for the Braves.
On July 9, 1971, Leo Foster made his Major League debut. In his first at-bat against Nelson Briles, Foster flied out to center. When he came up again, there were runners on first and second with one out. Foster grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
In his third big league at-bat, Foster came up with runners on first and second and no one out. Care to guess what happened next? Triple play, 5-4-3.
(I wonder if anyone else ever pulled off this particular “cycle” in their debut game?)
Al Pedrique was a light-hitting shortstop who spent three seasons in the Major Leagues. His best year came in 1987, when he hit .301 for the Pittsburgh Pirates. According to his Wikipedia page, that was good enough to get Pedrique on the National League All-Star team… in Nintendo RBI Baseball. 🙂
Pedrique got his start with the Mets, signing as an amateur free agent in 1978. He made his big league debut with the Mets in 1987, but was traded over to Pittsburgh for Bill Almon at the end of May.
After his playing career ended, Pedrique went into coaching. In 2004, he served as interim manager of a dreadful Arizona Diamondbacks team. Pedrique now works in the Houston Astros organization.
I promise I’ll get back to major league cards tomorrow 🙂