Photo courtesy Norfolk Tides
Future PH Gary Rajsich carried a big stick into Tidewater slamming 24 HR in just 75 games while batting .277. Sadly he didn't get to finish the season to see if he could break McNulty's record of 25 HR. Future 22 year MLB Manager Bruce Bochy also came to the team to hit .227 on his way to becoming a superstar future NL Manager of the year for the San Francisco Giants and it wouldn't be surprising if he was the lone Hall of Famer to come from all the great players produced by Met Park over 23 years... and he wasn't the only future superstar Manager as Ron Gardenhire (17 2B, 8 3B, .254) also took over at SS before going on to lead Minnesota for 13 years and winning an American League Manager of the Year Award before leaving due to illness at the end of 2014. There was one phenom however who wouldn't be a part of the Mets future... or anyone else's for that matter. After going 19-1 with his American Legion team, he went to UCLA where he posted a 21-15, 3.09 ERA. He was taken in the 1st round and 2nd in the nation by the Mets as they turned down Andy Van Slyke and Tim Wallach to land Tim Leary. He went straight to Double-A Jackson (
Smith-Wills Stadium) by-passing Rookie and Single-A ball and posted a mighty 15-8, 2.76 record in his first professional season at the age of 21. The Mets were so "over-excited" to have this new phenom, that instead of letting him grow... they sent him right to the Spring Training to give him the position as the Mets new #1 starter. Not surprisingly... the pressure was too much and Leary strained his elbow. He would come to Tidewater instead and play just 6 games posting a very un-impressive 1-3, 3.71 before the Mets shut him down for the next two years. He would come back to Met Park in 1983 after not throwing a ball since 1981 and the results were horrific... 8-16, 4.38 (the worst pitching record ever recorded at Met Park). The Mets gave up and sent him off in 1985. Leary finally got his act together and had a great season in Los Angeles going 17-11, 2.91 in 1988 but by 1990 he was 9-19, 4.11 and 4-10, 6.49 with the Yankees. His elbow was simply too fragile. Leary was the one guy the Mets did hold on to, and he would most certainly break their hearts in doing so.