4. Robin Ventura
This guy could sure pick it around the hot corner, couldn’t he?
Robin Ventura was signed to play third base following the 1998 season. For anyone who knows Mets history, you know that the Mets have gone through third basemen essentially as often as we change our boxers. The team just never had that A+ third baseman. Then Ventura is signed to a four-year deal. The previous year saw Edgardo Alfonzo playing third, but he got to go back to more of a natural position for him at second base. And the future held a player with four Gold Gloves already to his credit.
He, John Olerud, Edgardo Alfonzo and Rey Ordonez were recognized as the “Best Infield Ever”. It’s arguable but there is no doubt that when together they were in the conversation. At the plate Ventura was stellar. That first year in town he hit .301 with 32 home runs and 120 RBI. That was, and remained, his career-high batting average. He won The average dropped off over the final two years but he still hit for power, knocking out 43 home runs and driving in 145 from 2000-2001.
There are two moments Robin Ventura will be most remembered for. In May of his first year in town (1999), he became the first to hit a grand slam in both ends of a double header. I could describe the other moment, or I could just show it to you:
What a night that was. Aren’t you glad he was on our team? Me too.