Mets with one memorable game – Omir Santos
Since Mike Piazza caught his last game for the Mets in 2005, this team has had very few offensive highlights from its catchers. In 2009, this was generally no exception, with Brian Schneider as the Opening Day catcher and intended everyday starter.
Omir Santos had signed a minor league deal with the Mets after the 2008 season after spending several years in the Yankees and Orioles minor league systems. He got a brief cup of coffee in the major leagues with the Orioles in 2008, but never had a chance to make a real impact with the big club.
When Schneider got injured in April, Santos was called up to replace him. He wasted little time making his mark in a Mets uniform with one “Green Monstrous” swing of the bat.
On May 23, 2009, the Mets were on the cusp of losing to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. They entered the top of the 9th inning down 2-1, with Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon looming on the mound. He promptly walked the Mets’ first man up, left fielder Gary Sheffield. After strikeouts by David Wright and Jeremy Reed, Santos stepped up to the plate. He was barely a month into his Mets career. Perhaps coincidentally, home run replay was, too, in its infancy.
Papelbon started off Santos with a first-pitch fastball at 97 MPH. Santos responded with a drive to deep left field. It bounced off the top of the Green Monster and back into play. Sheffield, who stopped at third base, immediately signaled that it was a home run, and the umpires went to go review the play. This was a somewhat historic baseball moment, as Santos’s shot called for the first home run video review in Fenway Park history.
After a few minutes of review, the umpires confirmed that it was a home run. With the Mets just one out away from losing the game, Santos became an improbable hero with his go-ahead home run. He also handed Papelbon his first blown save of the season. The Mets held the Red Sox scoreless in the bottom of the 9th and won the game 3-2.
“I know he’s one of the best closers in the game, and I know he doesn’t know me very well,” Santos told the Daily News after the game. “I knew he was going to come with a fastball outside to get strike one. I just jumped on it.”
2009 would be Santos’s only year in a Mets uniform. Once the Mets signed catcher Rod Barajas before the 2010 season, Santos fell down the depth chart and spent the entire year in the minor leagues. He then signed with the Detroit Tigers and re-ignited his major league career there in 2011, though he would have only 31 more major league at-bats.
Santos was only in New York for a short time, but he provided one of the biggest highlights in an otherwise forgettable, injury-plagued season.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
All three of these players had relatively under-the-radar major league careers, marked by one historic moment in a Mets uniform. For a team that is often an underdog, the Mets have a knack for moments that turn ordinary players into extraordinary heroes, even if just for one game.