Trades in March aren’t too common. Weeks before the 2000 MLB season began, the New York Mets pulled one off for super-utility man “Super” Joe McEwing.
On March 18, 2000, the Mets traded Jesse Orosco to the St. Louis Cardinals for McEwing. McEwing was coming off an impressive rookie year with the Cardinals where he hit .275 in 575 trips to the plate. Orosco had just been traded to the Mets a few months prior and never got to pitch for the 2000 squad.
The most memorable element of McEwing was how he did it all while playing around the field. The only two spots he didn’t play in his rookie season were pitcher and catcher.
This is what made McEwing a unique talent. Throughout his MLB career, he never dug his heels in too deep at any one spot. He was always playing somewhere different on a regular basis, finishing his career with 500+ innings at four different spots.
For the 2000 Mets, McEwing was a minor role-player. He spent a lot of time in Triple-A this season and the numbers he posted in the big leagues show us why. In a down year, McEwing hit .222/.248/.366 for the World Series-bound 2000 Mets. Although weakened with the stick, he was useful as ever with the glove.
Fortunately for Super Joe, things got better in 2001. With more plate appearances, we saw him slash .283/.342/.449. It was a banner year for McEwing and the best of his career in New York.
Sadly, this was the peak of his career. Like many members of the 2002 Mets, it was a struggle for McEwing at the plate two years removed from their trip to the World Series. This season included a batting line of only .199/.242/.296. His OBP literally dropped 100 points from the career-best he posted one season prior.
McEwing’s final two seasons in New York were closer to the average for his career. His niche as a super-utility man was carved out further with two more years playing wherever the team needed.
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Far from the best player on the team, McEwing was one of those role-players I think all Mets fans remember. To use a pair of clichés, he brought his lunch pail to work and left it all on the field.