New York Mets catcher James McCann has always defied the odds, even from birth.
The New York Mets media lit up with the breaking news of a 4-year deal finalized with James McCann pending a physical. Yes, the Mets got their catcher. There will be many reports detailing and lauding his offensive and defensive statistics including his .808 OPS the last two seasons. However, I am going to let other writers fill the readers in on that angle, and on how this signing is a smart move which will hopefully open up the gates for Springer and then more pitching help.
Instead, I want to focus on McCann the man. I happened to come across a 5-minute video on YouTube under the heading Play4Him which opened up my eyes to who the Mets really got as a player. “I wasn’t supposed to be here”, he was quoted as saying. He wasn’t talking about New York – he was talking about being alive altogether.
A year before he was born, his mother brought to full term his older brother, but he tragically was stillborn. His devastated parents didn’t think they would be prepared to get pregnant right away again, but as fate would bear out, it did happen. Thirteen weeks into the pregnancy, a hole developed in his mother’s amniotic sac and the doctors gave the baby a 1 in 4 chance of surviving. Furthermore, if the baby did make it to term, they guaranteed he would be physically and mentally disabled.
The due date was the same date as the stillbirth.
The parents were advised to abort, but they placed their faith in a higher authority. Mrs. McCann subsequently was bedridden for the next six months, and when James was born healthy, she said “not bad for a 1 in 4 chance”.
Our newest Met understood from his parents about the power of prayer and of praying boldly for the seemingly impossible to occur. The purpose of this article is not to go off on a religious sermon, but to capture the circumstances from McCann’s birth story to his current playing career. With a greater purpose in life and a platform on which to share his personal story, McCann developed certain qualities that have in the past, and will hopefully going forward, serve the Mets well on and off the playing field.
As reported by Richard Justice of MLB.com, McCann’s former pitching coach and White Sox teammates who have come to know him well were witness to those standout qualities which set him apart from others including a relentless work ethic, attention to detail, preparedness, conscientiousness, a willingness to improve his own game, and being an excellent guide to a pitching staff. If Mets owner Steve Cohen and team President Sandy Alderson were looking for a catcher who is also a quality person and will likely be a solid teammate, then they certainly have found him.
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For all of you out there who may have been praying for a catcher with these attributes above and beyond his playing skills and framing ability, then it looks like your prayers have been answered. Going from “I wasn’t supposed to be here” to becoming the newest member of the New York Mets is a heartwarming story indeed. Now let us all pray for the next big signing.