Mets Trade History: The return of pinch-hitter extraordinaire Lenny Harris

One of the first transactions made by the 2000 New York Mets to bolster their roster midseason was the trade that brought Lenny Harris back to Shea.

If you need to know anything about the career of Lenny Harris, it’s his career as a pinch-hitter. Harris’ career was built on this. His 212 pinch-hits are 37 more than the next best player in the history of the game. When the New York Mets acquired him for the second time, his role was quite clear.

Less than two full years after trading Harris to the Cincinnati Reds for John Hudek, the Amazins re-acquired Harris for their stretch-run in 2000. It was on June 2nd when they shipped Bill Pulsipher off to the Arizona Diamondbacks to land Harris.

At the time of the trade, Harris was hitting a measly .188/.209/.259 for Arizona. Already in his mid-30s, it looked like it might be time to call it quits.

Perhaps motivated by the excitement of a potential playoff run in New York, Harris delivered. In 157 trips to the plate for the Mets this year, the veteran professional pinch-hitter slashed .304/.381/.457. He did plenty of damage from the starting lineup, too.

As he typically did throughout his career, Harris found himself at a variety of positions defensively. Although, as the case usually was, he didn’t perform too well on that side of the ball.

Harris was beyond bad for the Mets when there was a glove on his hand. While opportunities were limited, his best fielding percentage was at first base where he made two errors in only 44 chances. This gave him a fielding percentage of .955. Even for a shortstop, this is kind of ugly.

Despite the poor glove, Harris still had chances to play the field if only to get his productive bat in the lineup every so often. It was a nice weapon for the Mets to have in reserve.

In his first month with the Mets, Harris struggled. He was only pinch-hitting and a lack of at-bats may have contributed to a weak June.

Things turned around immensely in July. In 60 plate appearances, Harris slashed .354/.466/.625 for the Mets. He managed to find his way into the starting lineup 12 times. Harris continued to mash for the rest of the season, batting .318 in August and .300 in September.

For what it’s worth, Pulsipher never pitched a major league game for the Diamondbacks. He eventually did return to the orange and blue organization in 2002 where he made six relief appearances in Triple-A.

Next: 2000 Mets rotation was made of winners

Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!

Write for us!

As for Harris, he stayed in New York through 2001. He was eventually traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in the big three-team trade that also included the Colorado Rockies. While the Mets may have benefited from the 2000 trade deadline deal, this one didn’t seem to work out so well.