Mets: Three former players known for something non-baseball-related
Pat Strange was a top pitching prospect for the Mets in the early 2000s, but arm injuries limited his major league career to just 11 games with the Mets in 2002 and 2003, in which he recorded a 6.35 ERA. He had an inauspicious career line, but Strange clearly had a good heart, evidenced by one memorable gesture that he made when naming his child.
Strange was minor league teammates with Brian Cole, a highly touted outfield prospect. Cole’s minor league numbers with the Mets from 1998-2000 were eye-catching; a .306 batting average with 42 home runs, 90 doubles, 193 RBIs and 135 stolen bases. He figured to be part of the young core the Mets were building in the early 2000s with David Wright and Jose Reyes.
Unfortunately, Cole’s legend was halted far too soon. On March 31, 2001, right at the conclusion of another promising spring training, Cole got into a horrific car accident near the Florida-Georgia border. He died several hours later, only 22 years old.
“It crushed my life,” said Strange about Cole’s passing.
The Mets organization was rightfully shaken up at this devastating news. Cole was beloved throughout the minor leagues by his teammates and coaches. The Mets’ Class-A St. Lucie team responded to his death by immediately retiring his number 6 and placing a permanent tribute to him in their front office.
Strange decided to pay tribute to the fallen Cole in another way. In February 2003, Strange’s son was born. The baby boy’s name? Brian Cole Strange.
Though Strange would never make a huge mark on the field as a New York Met, he will be remembered for his heartfelt tribute to a cherished former teammate.