New York Mets fans of a certain age would call the double play duo of Edgardo Alfonzo and Rey Ordonez as one of their favorite in team history. From 1996-2002, they routinely played up the middle for the Mets.
Alfonzo would, of course, play a lot of third base as well. But when Robin Ventura joined the club, he became the starting second baseman alongside Ordonez’s Gold Glove defense at shortstop. When they weren’t paired up the middle, the two handled the left side of the infield quite well.
All good things do come to an end. Amazingly, this infield duo both left the Mets on one dreary day.
December 15, 2002, was the day the Mets split up Edgardo Alfonzo and Rey Ordonez forever
In 2002, with Ventura now gone, the Mets moved Alfonzo back to third base. His days a second baseman looked over and they were. The arrival of Roberto Alomar to the team altered the infield and not for the best. Mets fans could still enjoy Alfonzo and Ordonez, though.
The 2002 campaign was far from excellent for the Mets. At 75-86, they finished dead last in the National League East. Alfonzo did perform well and even Ordonez’s bat showed up for one of his better offensive years. It would be the last season they’d play together.
It was on December 15 when Alfonzo officially left the Mets in free agency. He signed a deal with the San Francisco Giants. The Mets replaced him at third base the following season with Ty Wigginton.
Ordonez’s departure from New York came via trade with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He would head to the American League in exchange for Russ Johnson and Josh Pressley. Rey Sanchez got the start on Opening Day the following season. However, Jose Reyes would make his MLB debut in 2003. The path was set for the changing of the guard.
This was a tough time period for the Mets. In 2003 and 2004, there was no Alfonzo or Ordonez starting on Opening Day on the infield. There wasn’t any Reyes or David Wright either. Those two wouldn’t begin the season together until 2005.
Shortstop was solved and so was third base. Second base, however, remained a mystery for many seasons. It wasn’t until Daniel Murphy became the team’s starter at the position when things settled down.
It’s rare for two important players to leave a team on the same day. In 2002, it happened.