August 11, 2005: Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron Collide in San Diego
It was a Thursday afternoon in San Diego and the Mets were firmly in the hunt for the NL East title. But in the bottom of the 7th in what turned into a 2-1 loss to the Padres, center fielder Carlos Beltran and right fielder Mike Cameron dove for the same ball, resulting in one of the more horrifying collisions I’ve seen.
Cameron broke his nose, fractured his cheekbones and sustained a concussion, while Beltran had a small fracture on the left side of his face and banged up his shoulder. Both spent the night at San Diego area hotels but thankfully their injuries were not career ending.
“I just feel happy that I’m alive and that I’m going to be back on the field,” Beltran told the Associated Press when he rejoined the team in Los Angeles a few days later.
After the collision the Mets went 25-23 and finished 7 games back in the division (they were 7.5 back on August 11). There’s no telling what could’ve happened if the collision didn’t occur, but a 3-14 stretch from August 31 to September 17 effectively ended the season.
July 30, 2006: Duaner Sanchez’s Season-Ending Injury
The 2006 season was much more enjoyable for Mets fans. I have “The Team. The Time. The 2006 Mets” DVD on my shelf as I write this. We’ll get to the end of the season in the next moment, but one that sticks out for many is the activity around the Trade Deadline.
On the night before the deadline, the Mets arrived in Miami after finishing off a sweep of the Braves. Setup man Duaner Sanchez, who had a 2.60 ERA in 49 appearances to that point, did the responsible thing by taking a taxi to a restaurant.
With the deadline looming, the Mets were thought to be looking at adding a starting pitcher, such as Roy Oswalt or Barry Zito. However, Sanchez’s taxi crashed, he suffered a season-ending injury and the Mets shifted course by adding starter Oliver Perez and reliever Roberto Hernandez.
The team ran away with the division title and came a game short of the World Series, but I’ll always wonder what would’ve happened if Sanchez had faced the Cardinals in the 9th instead of Aaron Heilman.
You can read more about Sanchez’s injury in SNY’s look back in 2016.