Many Mets fans will forget that Jose Valentin once wore the team’s uniform. Although it was only for two seasons, Valentin had an impressive season for the Mets during their 2006 run.
Valentin is Manati, Puerto Rico. His career began with the Milwaukee Brewers when they were still in the American League. He didn’t really find his consistent power stroke until he was a member of the Chicago White Sox.
In 8 seasons with the Milwaukee, Valentin hit 90 home runs. However, in just 5 years with Chicago, he hit a total of 136.
Valentin joined the Mets at the age of 36 and many people believed he would just serve time as a backup. Eventually, Valentin would be inserted into the everyday lineup and he produced at a high level. He gave them no choice but to play him regularly.
Valentin hit 18 home runs for the Mets and drove in 62 runs for the 2006 squad. He was able to collect 104 hits in 137 games played. He struggled in the 2006 NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers as he went 0 for 9, but turned it around a bit in the NLCS. He was able to get 6 hits in 24 at-bats while also driving in 5 runs in the ill-fated series.
Valentin is definitely more of a folk hero pick here when it comes to the top Puerto Rican born players. Still, you really have to wonder what the Mets offensive output would have looked like from the second base position it was not for the savvy veteran.