Mets’ Santa suit curse rivals the Madden cover
It’s been mostly negative results for those who wear the Santa suit at the Mets’ annual holiday party.
You’ve heard of the Madden cover curse and how players on it suffer from injury or lack of production the next season. Well, the New York Mets have a pretty similar track record in their “Santa Suit Curse.” Whoever dons the suit usually gets a following season equivalent to a lump of coal.
Also, in case you missed it: this year, Santa was played by ace pitcher and should be perennial Cy Young contender, Noah Syndergaard.
Now before we delve into the bad history of the Santa suit, it’s not all doom and gloom. David Wright beat the curse the first time he played Santa in 2006. The following season, Wright finished fourth in MVP voting and won his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award. There is precedent for avoiding the curse for all worried Mets and Thor fans. Phew!
The bad side of playing Santa
Playing Santa at the Mets’ annual holiday party usually means bad things for the next year though. From the injury side, it started with Mike Cameron in 2004 who only played 78 games after a violent outfield collision with Carlos Beltran. It was Cameron’s last season in a Mets uniform.
Other injury victims the Santa suit claimed include Wright in his second go as jolly ol’ Saint Nick in 2010 and Steven Matz in 2015. Wright suffered a stress fracture in his back in 2011 while Matz dealt with bone spurs throughout half of 2016. He did not pitch in a game in September.
In other instances, the Santa suit has meant a sure ticket out of New York. Just ask Kris Benson (2005) or Jeff Francoeur (2009). Benson played Santa with his wife, Anna alongside. He was traded to the Orioles the next season for among others, a future Santa in John Maine. In 2010, Francoeur was traded that August to Texas the year following his Santa appearance.
Others have suffered lack of production the next season. The aforementioned Maine qualifies as does Mike Pelfrey. In 2008, Pelfrey donned the suit. In 2009, he scuffled to a 5.03 ERA and he christened Citi Field by giving up a leadoff home run to Jody Gerut.
At one point, the curse was so bad that a retired Met in John Franco played Santa in 2012.
The curse has hit in different ways: see Jenrry Mejia (2014) who was banned from baseball after a third positive performance-enhancing drug test before the 2016 season. Though as editor, Michelle Ioannou astutely pointed out, that “curse” is more the case of Mejia being a moron.
Next: Mets may not give Familia and Cabrera permission to play winter ball.
I wouldn’t say this trip down memory lane was rather enjoyable. However, there is hope for those who believe in curses that Syndergaard, like Wright a decade ago, is talented enough to put at least a one-year stop to it.