Two decades ago there was plenty of hype for Cuban slugger Jorge Toca. The New York Mets prospect never made his mark in the big leagues as many believed he would.
Back in the year 2000, collecting baseball cards was a big part of my life. I especially enjoyed finding gems of rookies and minor leagues we all knew would become big stars one day. One of the best examples of a player who fits this description was New York Mets prospect of the past, Jorge Toca.
Every August I would go to the Poconos with my father and sister. My dad had an old co-worker who owned a house up there and we got run of the place for two weeks each summer. He also collected baseball memorabilia. Alongside his Stan Musial and Willie Mays autographed baseball he had one signed by Toca.
Obviously, Toca never became the same player as those MLB legends. He mustered just 27 big league at-bats in 25 games. He got 7 of them in 2000 and added 3 hits including a double plus 4 RBI to his short MLB resume.
More from Rising Apple
- NY Mets Monday Morning GM: The middle is no place you want to be
- NY Mets News: Marcus Stroman sees “potential fit” with the Angels
- NY Mets were too “seek” and not enough “destroy” last winter
- NY Mets: 1 trade target to consider from each 100-loss team
- NY Mets: Top 12 free agents the team should look to sign this winter
There’s not much information about Toca online other than his numbers. His career on Wikipedia is only two paragraphs long and doesn’t include much about what he accomplished.
Toca was apparently most remembered for losing the grip on his and letting it fly into the stands—although there’s no actual source for this. He was also suspended for 15 games in 2005 for violating the Minor League Drug Policy.
That suspension may have something to do with why Toca didn’t see much big league action. Down on the farm, he never played below Double-A.
Most of his time from 1999-2006 was spent as a journeyman Triple-A player with some pretty good numbers. So, why wasn’t he more than a forgotten player in baseball history?
In 1999, Toca got off to a fast start in North American baseball. He hit .319 and slugged 25 home runs. Before the year was through, he snuck into four MLB games.
We can assume a big reason why Toca never got his big break in baseball was due to a lack of defensive abilities. In his time with the Mets organization, he only started one game. On October 6, 2001, Toca played first base for the Mets in game 161 of the season.
Toca’s powerful ways declined in 2002 with only a pair of home runs in Triple-A in 205 plate appearances. On August 22, 2003, the Pittsburgh Pirates purchased him from the Mets. Thereafter, he spent the rest of his professional career bouncing between different organizations on the farm, never again reaching the show.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
Somewhere in my bedroom closet are plenty of Jorge Toca baseball cards. I also like to think somewhere in the Pocono Mountains, mounted between a Stan Musial and Willie Mays signed baseball, there’s one of these former Mets prospect who many thought would become a star.