Monday, March 22, 2010
#333) BOBBY OJEDA
Bob Ojeda joined the New York Mets when he was traded with John Mitchell, Tom McCarthy, and Chris Bayer by the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Calvin Schiraldi, Wes Gardner, John Christensen, and LaSchelle Tarver on November 13, 1985. The left-hander began his Mets career throwing from the bullpen on April 11. 1986. He would be credited with the victory for three innings of work in a 9-7 New York win over the Phillies in Philadelphia. His success that season soon moved him into the rotation and Ojeda ended the season with a record of 18-5 and a 2.57 ERA. Bob would also play a big role in the World Championship run of the 1986 club.
Elbow surgery limited Ojeda's ability to pitch during most of 1987. Then a strange accident kept Bobby from pitching much of the 1989 season. On September 21, 1988 he was gardening at home and severed a finger tip from his hand with a set of shears. Microsurgery allowed reattachment and he returned to the mound and pitched for several years to follow. Compiling 51 wins and a 3.12 ERA (with 17 complete games) during his Mets career. "This whole ordeal has made me realize how much I really love what I do for a living," The pitcher reflected during his rehabilitation. "I had always tried to downplay it. I'm also not going to change the way I live. I'll still ride dirt bikes and drive fast cars. I'll still take out my own garbage and I'll still work in the yard. But I'll certainly be more careful. And I'm positive I'll never use electric hedge clippers again." Bob left the Mets when he was traded along with Greg Hansell to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Hubie Brooks on December 15, 1990.
Unfortunately Ojeda might be best remembered as the only survivor of the tragic boating accident that claimed the lives of fellow Cleveland Indians pitchers, Steve Olin and Tim Crews on March 22, 1993. Bob was seriously injured and underwent surgery for what was described as a "scalping incident - a very large laceration of the head". Ojeda credited his position in the boat during impact as the reason for his survival. He would return to pitch later in that season.
After his playing career Bob became a pitching coach in the New York Mets farm system. He joined SportsNet New York in 2009 as a pre-game and post-game studio analyst for Mets television broadcasts.
Bobby Ojeda signed his card in the set for me while he was leaving through the media gate at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, Florida on March 15, 2010.