Not everyone who plays for the New York Mets is best-known for his baseball career.
Occasionally, players come to the New York Mets and make their mark in Queens off the field. The Amazins have had a lot of colorful characters and big personalities roll through Flushing over the years.
Baseball itself is a colorful game, filled with opportunities for nicknames, postgame quips, and player pets to make fans smile even when the team isn’t winning many games.
For every on-field star like Mike Piazza, Tom Seaver, and Jacob deGrom, there are plenty more former Mets players who were not perennial All-Stars but are still remembered by fans today. Let’s take a look at three of these past Mets whose main claim to fame in Flushing was not their on-field baseball prowess.
Clarence “Choo-Choo” Coleman was one of the original 1962 Mets, and like many of that original bunch he was mostly subpar on the baseball field. Coleman only played in four total MLB seasons, three of which were with the Mets. He spent most of his time in Queens behind the plate, starting 140 of his games with the Amazins as the catcher.
Coleman was about as slender as any catcher in big league history. At just 5’9″ and 165 pounds, he was not exactly a hulking force behind the plate. This may have contributed to some of his defensive struggles as a Met. In 1963, though Casey Stengel declared him the “sleeper of the roster” before the season began, Coleman had the unfortunate distinction of finishing the year with more errors (15) than RBI (nine). He also hit a measly .178 in 106 games for the Mets that season.
Despite these struggles, Coleman has become somewhat of a cult hero among Mets fans, mostly due to some memorable comments he made in an interview with Ralph Kiner. During a 1962 edition of Kiner’s Korner, Kiner strayed a bit from the usual baseball talk by asking Coleman, “What’s your wife’s name, and what’s she like?”
Coleman gave a biting reply of, “Her name’s Mrs. Coleman, and she likes me, bub.”
Coleman left the Mets after the 1966 season but returned to the organization’s Triple-A affiliate in Tidewater in 1969. He remained there the entire year while Jerry Grote handled the catching duties at the major league level, leaving Coleman bereft of any more major league experience.
Though Coleman only played a few years in Queens and was neither an offensive nor a defensive star, he cemented his place in Mets history with his stinging retort to Kiner in the Mets’ inaugural season.