3 Mets fan favorites who were ruined after a position change

Lee Mazzilli
Lee Mazzilli / Rich Pilling/GettyImages
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3) Todd Hundley

Todd Hundley came up with a name that had some significance in Mets lore. His dad, Randy Hundley, was the catcher for the 1969 Chicago Cubs that lost out to those Miracle Mets. Randy was a good player. But Todd…he was believed to be a lot better.

It took Todd a while to get going, but once he did, and became a full-time player, he displayed the kind of power that the Mets hadn’t had since….since…a productive Howard Johnson.

In 1996, Hundley broke out and hit 41 home runs with 112 RBI, while hitting .259 and making his first All Star appearance. He followed that up with another All Star campaign in 1997, hitting .273 with 30 dingers and 86 RBI.

The two-time All Star catcher was still only 28 years old when the Mets surprised the baseball world by acquiring another All Star catcher, Mike Piazza, from the Florida Marlins a month into the 1998 season. While it would have made sense for the Mets to include Hundley in such a trade – All Star catcher for All Star catcher – apparently either the Marlins preferred the others they received in the trade or the Mets were not exactly confident that they could re-sign Piazza after the season was over and he became a free agent.

Piazza was a first baseman in college who converted to catcher to get to the Major Leagues quicker. But the Mets had John Olerud at first base and Piazza wasn’t exactly good or comfortable there anyway. (We would discover that in depth later on.)

So in their infinite wisdom to switch players to other positions…and their absolute success rate with such moves…they decided to move Hundley out to left field. Now they didn’t attempt such a move during the off-season, during spring training. They did it smack in the middle of the season.

The results were just embarrassing. It was really unfair to Hundley…to stick him out there and make him look helpless.

The move to left field destroyed him. Hundley would end up hitting just .161 with 3 HR and 12 RBI, playing just 53 games. He would go on to play two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and even two seasons with his dad’s Cubs. But like Mazzilli and Johnson before him, he was never the same.