In a brand new series here on FROM VA TO THE SHOW, I’m going to introduce my collection of baseball memorabilia of ball players from our state.
David Wright (Chesapeake) rose from Hampton Roads to put together a stellar career with the NY Mets. Before he hit the Big Apple, he played for about 3 weeks with the Norfolk Tides in the summer of 2004. Yes, the same Tides that he grew up watching.
On this day, Sunday December 20, the 33rd birthday of Mets star 3B David Wright (Chesapeake), this interesting article from mlb.com, a photo retrospective of his career.
He rose from the Hampton Roads region of Virginia and put together a solid major league career, spanning 15 years, with the Twins, Rockies, and Mets. He was a batting champion and a Silver Slugger. He had numerous other individual accomplishments that very few major leaguers have ever done. He got to play for one season with childhood friend David Wright (Chesapeake).
Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake) has announced his retirement from baseball, walking away from the last season of his 2-yr contract with the Mets.
In this latest installment, where I name an all-time TEAM VA, we turn to the hot corner. There is no debate here on who should man third base on the all-Virginia team. The clear choice here is Mets all star David Wright (Chesapeake).
Wright currently plays for the New York Mets, for whom he made his major league debut in the summer of 2004. (This was after spending three weeks playing for his hometown Norfolk Tides at AAA.)
Since debuting with the Mets, Wright has, basically, re-written the Mets record books. He is the team’s all-time leader in most offensive categories, including RBIs, runs, hits, and extra base hits, as well as sacrifice flies. He is a 7-time all-star and won Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards in 2007 and 2008. In 2013, he was named the 4th Team Captain in Mets history, and in 2015, he was named to the Mets Franchise Four.
For his career, David Wright is batting .298 with 235 HR and 956 RBIs.
SN article analyzes Cooperstown chances of Mets slugger David Wright (Chesapeake). Not great.
Interesting article about Mets franchise player David Wright (Chesapeake).
(This is an ongoing series where we look back at some memorable moments of the 2015 season involving Virginia ballplayers.)
The New York Mets expected to be competitive when the 2015 season dawned. They had a young squad that many thought could, maybe, make some noise for a Wild Card. Their hopes for such an outcome appeared to be dashed about two weeks into the season when team captain 3B David Wright (Chesapeake) went down with a hamstring injury. Playoff hopes appeared to be further dashed when Wright was later diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a condition that involves narrowing of the spine, something that ended the career of Mets great Lenny Dykstra. Many thought the same fate would befall the Mets franchise slugger.
The Mets pressed on, as many of the team’s other sluggers picked up the slack in Wright’s absence. Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, and trade acquisition Yoenis Cespedes all helped keep the Mets in the thick of the playoff race. In fact, they would eventually overtake the heavily-favored Washington Nationals and sit in first place when August 24 rolled around.
The Mets were in Philadelphia, sporting a 67-56 record. With roughly six weeks to go in the season, the Mets had slid into first place, and were about to get a major boost for the stretch run-DAVID WRIGHT RETURNING! The Mets announced that their star player would be activated from the DL, just in time for the final push for the postseason. As a number of other sluggers were filling in nicely on offense for the Mets, they were not expecting Wright to be the star slugger he was. Just his presence on the team would hopefully be a morale boost to the Mets clubhouse, the team reasoned.
Someone apparently forgot to give Captain America that memo.
Wright crushed one of the Mets’ team-record 7 HR and scored 3 runs himself as the Mets crushed their division rival Phillies by a score of 16-7.
Wright finished the season batting .289 with an OB% of .389, and the Mets won the NL East division title by a margin of 7 games over Washington.
Well, baseball fans, the 2015 Major League Baseball postseason tournament is underway now. The Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros survived the Wild Card play-in games, and now there are 8 teams left standing, including the Toronto Blue Jays and aforementioned Astros, both of whom snapped double-digit playoff droughts. By the time the early part of November rolls around, Major League Baseball will have its 3rd World Champion in as many years.
One of those contenders is the New York Mets, who upset the Washington Nationals to take the NL East title, their first title, and in fact their first playoff birth, in 9 years. The keys to the success of the Mets this year were a solid mix of starting pitching (including ’14 NL ROY Jacob DeGrom) and the hitting of players such as Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy. One player who missed roughly half the season due to injury, but returned just in time to be an inspirational morale boost to his teammates was their team captain, 3B David Wright (Chesapeake). Wright, often nicknamed Captain America, is one of the few Mets players to have postseason experience, and his leadership will be counted on when the NLDS gets underway tonight in Los Angeles.
Another Met with playoff experience has graciously accepted his platoon role for the betterment of the team. OF Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake) signed with the Mets last winter to play closer to home after time in Minnesota and Colorado and to join fellow Hampton Roads-native Wright as well as try to win his first World Series ring. He will be a valuable part of the Mets locker room for the month of October as well-2015 will mark his 7th postseason appearance in his 15-year career. Cuddyer played in the postseason with the Minnesota Twins in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2010. He has batted .338 in 22 career postseason games entering the 2015 playoffs.
Also in the postseason-St. Louis Cardinals 3B Mark Reynolds (Virginia Beach/UVA), who played in the playoffs 2007 with Arizona and 2012 with Baltimore; Chicago Cubs reliever Justin Grimm (Bristol), making his first playoff appearance. Also of note, the Cubs left fellow reliever Neil Ramirez (Virginia Beach) off the playoff roster for the NLDS, but have the option of adding him to the roster later in the postseason should the need arise.
8 teams. 1 Champion. Virginia will be well represented.
What do the following statements have in common:
- George W. Bush was POTUS.
- Bryce Harper was in middle school.
- Pirates of the Caribbean was the top grossing movie at the box office.
- Twitter debuts to the world
- Citi Field was in infancy stages of construction
Answer: All of these things were in 2006, which was also the last time the New York Mets made the postseason.
Fast Forward to 2015. George Bush is enjoying his retirement, Bryce Harper is one of the biggest stars in Major League Baseball, Twitter is ingrained in American lexicon……….and the New York Mets are back in the playoffs.
Low expectations going into the season, the New York Mets stunned the baseball world, upsetting the World-Series favored Washington Nationals to win the NL East for the first time in nearly 10 years. What worked in the Mets favor this year?
Perhaps the major turning point for the Mets, the point when they really took off, came on August 24. The Mets were 67-56 at the time and in a dogfight with the Nationals for the division. They had gone most of the season without their team captain, 3B David Wright (Chesapeake)-who had been out since mid-April with a strained right hamstring, and later diagnosed with what was thought to be career threatening spinal stenosis-but pressed on with a solid nucleus of a lineup in Cespedes, Flores, Duda. On 8/24, Wright made his triumphant return to the Mets. Just the fact that he returned was an inspiration to the teammates that he rejoined, but for good measure, Wright delivered at the plate as well, clubbing one of a team record 7 homeruns in a Mets 16-7 win over the Phillies. Including that win, the Mets took off, winning 21 of their next 32 games, to pull away and bring the road to the 2015 World Series through Citi Field for the first time.
While Wright provided a real inspiration to the Mets for their stretch run, also contributing such intangibles and leadership was veteran OF Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake). Cuddyer signed a 2-yr contract with the Mets in the offseason, relishing the opportunity to join fellow Hampton Roads-native Wright in a shot at a ring. While he has had some production as a regular, he has also dealt with a knee injury that eventually landed him on the DL. His injuries cleared the path for the emergence of others, but upon his return, the Mets wanted to use him in a platoon role. He accepted that role, which would give him playing time in the OF and at 1B, as well as pinch-hitting duties. Now relegated to a bench role, Cuddyer is hitting .455 over is last 7 games (albeit only 11 AB). Cuddyer’s experience will be extremely valuable to the Mets next week, when the playoffs start. This will be Cuddyer’s 7th postseason.
The New York Mets won the World Series twice, in 1969 and 1986. Two of the greatest ballplayers to ever come out of Virginia could be part of a 3rd title for the Amazins.
When the New York Mets got their captain back last night, that in and of itself was a victory. David Wright (Chesapeake) had been on the DL since April, but his return came at a crucial time for the surging Mets, who now lead the Nationals by 5.5 games in the NL East. With a darn good offense already in place, Wright was being counted on to be a team leader, not even the offensive threat he was in his career.
Apparently, he never got that memo.
Wright homered in his first at-bat, one of a franchise record 8 Homeruns by the Mets, and scored three runs himself in a 16-7 win. The Mets also set a franchise record with 15 extra-base hits.
Also getting in on the action was OF Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake), who hit one of those 8 homers and also added two doubles.
Cuddyer is now batting .255 for the year, Wright .342.