Tuesday, February 2, 2010
#641) RAUL GONZALEZ
Raul Gonzalez was traded along with Pedro Feliciano, Brady Clark, and Elvin Andujar by the Cincinnati Reds to the New York Mets in exchange for Shawn Estes on August 15, 2002. He would make his Mets' debut days later in San Francisco on August 21st. It was also his major league debut after spending 12 years in the minor leagues. Raul hit his first career major league home runs on August 25th with the pair of round trippers leading to a 7-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies. "It feels great, especially when you do not have a lot of time up here." Gonzalez was quoted afterward, "I just want to make every play in the outfield, and make every at-bat a good at-bat." During the 2003 season, Raul was in 107 games, but only managed two home runs and a .230 batting average.
The Mets decided to try a platoon of Karim Garcia and Shane Spencer to start the 2004 season. Gonzalez was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk where he remained until being released on May 17, 2004. "I've never been released in 14 years of baseball." Raul reflected, " I got off to a slow start, but I never thought a slow start would get you released."
Raul Gonzalez signed his card in the set for my friend Noel when the Leones de Ponce faced the Indios de Mayaguez in a Puerto Rican Winter League game on December 1, 2009.