Should the Mets and catcher Yorvit Torrealba complete that deal they nearly signed this weekend, he move up on an all-time Mets list even before setting foot behind Shea’s plate.Naturally, I’m talking about his name. The Mets have had 26 Mikes, 17 Bills and Bobs and 13 Johns. But we’ve never had a Yorvit before. Heck, we’ve only had one other player whose first name began with a Y, and that would be Yorkis Perez.
Using the amazing Web site that is the Ultimate Mets Database, I waded through all our players to find the ones with the strangest names.And these had to be real names. No parent wrote filled out a birth certificate with a Yogi, Mookie, Duffy, Choo Choo or Tug.
And I eliminated the Asian players. I shamefully don’t know enough abut Asian culture to understand if Hideo, Takashi and Dae Sung are the Japanese and Korean versions of John and Phil and Rick.So here they are, the most outlandish, tongue-twisting and head-scratching Mets names of all time.
1) Guerrand McCurdy Scarce. There’s a reason this 1975 pitcher was better known as “Mac.” And that’s good, because I can only imagine what might have happened to Ralph Kiner if he attempted pronouncing Guerrand. He came in the trade for Tug McGraw and left in a deal for Tom Hall -- better known as "The Blade." Lots of colorful names in those transactions.2) Cleotha Walker. Here’s another guy who was better known by his nickname, “
3) McKay Christensen. He had a stint on the 2002 team, and I believe is our only player ever to have a capital letter in the middle of his first name. How many times as he been called Chris McKay by someone in a doctors office who assumed he filled out his form with the names reversed?4) Bubba Trammell. We all know of people who have “Bubba” as a nickname, even presidents. But it’s right there on Mr. Trammell’s birth certificate. Technically it’s his middle name. But if he went by his given first name, Thomas, would anybody remember him? Bubba played for the 2000 team, and is known for going AWOL on the Yankees, as if anyone could blame him.
5) Elijah Jerry Green. Elijah is certainly becoming kind of trendy, but this was in the 1960s. One more guy better known by his nickname – “Pumpsie.” And his behavior off the field was as unusual as his name. His biggest claim to fame is that he is the first black player on the Boston Red Sox -- and shameful 12 years after Jackie Robinson made history.6) Xavier Nady. I liked the X-man, and was sad to see him dealt to the Pirates in the middle of the 2006 season. He is the lone Met to have a first name start with X. Heck, we haven’t even had too many guys with an x in their first names at all. So Mr. Nady can share this spot with Esix Sneed, Ambiorix Burgos, Felix Heredia, Felix Millan, and a trio of guys named Alex -- Escobar, Ochoa and Trevino.
7) Herman Son Winningham. Let’s start with activity in the middle. I need to know if he has a sister who has “Daughter” as her middle name. As for the rest of it, Herman Winningham sounds more like a bank president than an outfielder. Come to think of it, this member of the 1984 team played more like a bank president than an outfielder.8) Mauro Gozzo. This pitcher, also known as “Goose,” was another member of the dreadful 1993 team. They were terrible, but they sure were colorful.
9) Reid Cornelius. That sounds like a
Honorable mentions: Roger Royce Ring, Orel Hershiser, Cleon Jones, Duaner Sanchez, Bartolome Fortunato, Blas Minor, Octavio Dotel, Lute Barnes, Ober Moreno and Blaine Beatty.Now here's why I'm worried about our new friend -- or not -- Yorvit. With the exception of Cleon Jones, none of these guys was around too long. Sure, some of that was because of age, like Orel, or a trade, like Octavio and Xavier. But most of these guys pretty much sucked. So we're pulling for Torreabla to break that cycle of shame.
Here’s some other fun Mets name information. We’ve had five sets of guys with the same names: Mike Marshall, Bobby Jones, Bob Johnson and Bob Miller – who were on the 1962 team at the same time. As if Casey didn’t have enough problems. Fellow Crane Pool Forum poster Steve Rogers reminded me that we also had two versions of Pedro Martinez. The lesser-known Pedro pitched in five games in 1996.Happy birthday, Tom Seaver!
Why this isn't a national holiday, I don't know. But a happy 63rd to "The Franchise." Celebrate by enjoying the final out of Tom's glorious 300th win.