Remember Angel Pagan? Me neither.
Just kidding. Of course I remember Angel Pagan. Angel Pagan was the Mets’ center fielder before Jason Pridie. Pagan was pretty good at one point, I vaguely recall. Finished in the Top 10 in triples among National League batters two years in a row.
You know who else hit a lot of triples? Wally Pipp. Wally Pipp led the American League in triples in 1924 with 19. He was also sixth in games played with 153. There were several years when Pipp barely missed a game. Real fine player, that Wally Pipp. Real good right up to the middle of 1925. You look at his numbers and you see an all-around consistent player who just suddenly disappears from his team’s lineup.
Gee, I wonder what happened to him.
And speaking of Gee, I wonder how many of us on the eve the 2011 season saw the Mets rampaging to a third consecutive victory in early May using a herd of recent Buffalo Bisons. You know how we hang on every element of the Opening Day roster right up until the trucks are packed in Port St. Lucie? Well, we’re idiots. Whatever we obsessed on getting exactly right at the end of March is irrelevant barely five weeks later.
Dillon Gee. Mike O’Connor. Ryota Igarashi. Justin Turner. Ronny Paulino (him we assumed would be here sooner than later though we didn’t much care). Not one of them was an active Met when the Mets met the Marlins to start the season; all of them played a role in beating the Dodgers Saturday night. It started with Gee, who was pressed into service when Chris Young’s tight right shoulder reminded us he’s too good to be true, and it crested with Turner, the second baseman who wasn’t deemed sound enough to beat out All-Star nominee Brad Emaus yet was perfectly fine as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. Together, these recent minor leaguers who weren’t necessarily expected up here so soon teamed with several longer-tenured Mets to short-circuit Andre Ethier and other assorted men in blue.
Leading their charge once again was Jason Pridie, another erstwhile Bison, now a staple of Met lineups for years to come as far as I can tell. Pridie of the Mets, as moviegoers everywhere will someday know, showed up in New York with little fanfare and was soon the everyday center fielder for thousands of consecutive games, many of them stirring. Like the Friday night affair he won with a three-run home run. Like the Saturday night triumph he helped seal with three base hits.
On the day they ran the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Jason Pridie proved a real iron horse, you might say. Got his batting average up to .300. Galloped home a couple of times. No stopping this fellow. Just pencil him in for the next decade or so.
Angel Pagan…I wonder what he’s up to these nights.