Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake) played 11 of his 15 years in the major leagues in the Twin-Cities after being drafted in the first round by Minnesota in 1997. He was a part of 5 AL Central title championships and batted .272 in 1100+ games with 141 HRs and a .343 OB% and a .794 OPS. He was also known for numerous offensive rarities. He would go on to play 3 years in Colorado and 1 year with the Mets before retiring to spend more time with his wife and kids.
Now, the Twins will honor this franchise great for all he gave to the Twins. Cuddyer has been selected to the Twins Hall of Fame and will be so honored in August.
As the world just finished remembering the tragedy of Sept 11, 2001, numerous stories of twists of fate are out there involving people who could have been on one of the doomed flights. Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane was supposed to be on AA 11, but was given the wrong departure time by his travel agent. Actor Mark Wahlberg changed his plans a week before, otherwise he was supposed to be on one of the flights.
And then there is the story of former ML outfielder Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake), who was in the minor leagues in 2001, and how his late inning heroics prevented a teammate from being on AA 11.
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.
Back from a hiatus, and now we continue this look at picking an all-time Team Virginia, a roster of players, past and present, who have come from our state.
This installment, we name one of the 3 starting outfielders.
The first spot will go to Chesapeake-native Michael Cuddyer.
Cuddyer, the second active MLer to make the team, has been in the major leagues now for 15 seasons. He spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the Minnesota Twins, and had an impressive resume. Over the course of his career playing in the Twin Cities, he batted .242 with 141 HRs and 580 RBIs. He also had some flashes of brilliance on defense, leading all AL RFs in assists-twice-and finishing among the league leaders in other key defensive categories.
On May 22, 2009, Cuddyer hit for the cycle in a game against the Brewers. Just 3 months later, on August 23, he hit 2 HRs in the 7th inning of a game against the Royals, becoming the 53rd player ever to accomplish that feat.
Cuddyer left Minnesota after the 2011 season (his first all-star game), and signed on with the Colorado Rockies. While it could have been the climate in Denver, it takes nothing away from the great run he had over 3 seasons playing in the Mile High City. he hit .307 with 46 HRs and 173 RBIs. Arguable his best season of his career came in 2013. Cuddyer was named to his 2nd all-star game, took home the NL batting title (.331) and was named a Silver Slugger. Contributing to his batting crown was a club-record 27-game hitting streak.
On August 27, 2014, Cuddyer hit for the cycle again, the 30th player ever to do so twice and third to do it in both leagues.
Cuddyer left Colorado after 2014 and came closer to home, signing a 2-yr deal with the Mets, jumping at the chance to try and help a rising Mets team win a title and play with fellow Hampton Roads native David Wright.
His debut season was marred by injuries, and he looks to bounce back in 2016 and help bring a title to Queens.
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.