By: Fred Aaron

Mets Memories: This Year’s Ballot

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Last season’s Hall of Fame was a special time for Met Fans as one of the greatest players to ever wear orange and blue, Mike Piazza, was inducted into Cooperstown as only the second player to go wearing a Mets cap.

This year, there are only two players with any significant Met connections on the ballot: Jeff Kent, who is appearing for the fourth time on the ballot, and first timer Melvin Mora. Kent had his best years in San Francisco and if he goes in (which is possible, though it will take a significant increase over the first three ballots), it will be as a Giant. As for Mora, it is unlikely he will even make it past the 5% threshold to remain on the ballot for a second effort.

Mora is an interesting player. He made two All Star teams with the Orioles, and was a solid third baseman during his 13 season career. He even won a Silver Slugger award in 2004. He finished his career with a batting average of .277 and a slash line (OBP/SLG/OPS) of .350/.431/.781. But he did almost all of that in Baltimore. Mora was more known to Met fans as another player we gave away young to plug a hole on the team that didn’t quite work out. Just like we gave away Nolan Ryan (and Leroy Stanton, Frank Estrada and Don Rose) to plug a hole at third with Jim Fregosi, which didn’t quite work out as planned, the Mets used Melvin Mora in 2000 to fill an immediate need. The 2000 Mets had a Gold Glove caliber infield with Robin Ventura, Rey Ordonez, Edgardo Alfonzo and Todd Zeile. Melvin Mora was a bit of a late bloomer, reaching the Show at 27, but he had good speed, could play multiple positions, and had a nice line drive swing. Disaster struck for the Mets on May 29, Ordonez went down with a fractured arm, which ended the season for the perennial Gold Glover. Needing to fill a gaping hole at shortstop, the eventual NL Pennant Winners traded Mora along with three other players (including the immortal Mike Kinkade) to the Orioles for All Star shortstop Mike Bordick just before the trading deadline.

On paper, it looked like a great deal. The Mets trade a young player (Mora) and three prospects for an All Star to step in and provide veteran leadership, solid defense and production (Bordick was a much better hitter than Ordonez, with 20 homers in 2000 compared to the 12 homers Rey hit in his entire career). But it didn’t work out that way. Bordick showed little range at the keystone position (his range factor and fielding percentage were both below league average), and hit just .260 with 4 homers, 21 RBI’s and a slash line of .321/.365/.685. Bordick was even more anemic in the Post Season, going 4 for 33 with no extra base hits and RBI’s. His defensive lapses were also glaring, as he made an error in game 2 and continued to show little range in the field. This was not what the Mets bargained for. Meanwhile, Mora hit .291 and slashed .359/.397/.756. To add insult to injury, Bordick filed for free agency after the season and signed with the Orioles. Mike Bordick was easily one of the worst late season rentals in Mets history. And Mora put up a solid career as the Orioles third baseman.

Is Melvin Mora a Hall of Famer? Definitely not. But he was certainly worth more than a lousy three month rental of Mike Bordick. Heck, even Mike Kinkade was worth more than what Bordick brought to the Mets, and that’s not saying much.

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