Monday, March 29, 2010
#415) RODNEY McCRAY
Rodney McCray came to the New York Mets when he was signed as a free agent on December 13, 1991. He made his Mets' debut on April 15, 1992 at Shea Stadium facing the Philadelphia Phillies. This was one of only 18 games in which he would appear for New York. Remarkably 14 of which involved him as a pinch-runner. Rodney often remained as a defensive replacement late in those games. It was on one such occurrence that he got is only at-bat while a Met. The Los Angeles Dodgers were the opponent on May 8th at Shea Stadium. McCray had entered the game in the eighth inning to pinch-run for Eddie Murray. He remained in right-field for the top of the ninth and came to the plate with a tie score in the bottom half of the inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Rodney stroked a line drive to deep shortstop. Junior Noboa scored the winning run and the Mets were victorious by a score of 4-3. "Some of the guys were kidding me, telling me that I might set the record for most games without an official at-bat." McCray would comment afterward. The game had began after a rain delay of two hours, and ended in light rain and mist with around 2,000 fans remaining.
McCray was released by the Mets on June 8, 1992. "I could play with the best of them as far as defensively and stealing bases," Rodney said, "I just couldn't hit enough."
One amazing defensive play will assure that Rodney McCray will always be remembered. In 1991, while playing in the minor leagues for the Vancouver Canadians the fleet-footed outfielder was chasing a fly ball and literally crashed through the outfield wall. The startling play has become immortalized in highlight reels shown on scoreboards around the nation ever since. Years later, "Crash" McCray was even honored with a "bobble-fence" stadium giveaway in Portland, Oregon where the event occurred. "The play dictates what kind of ballplayer I was," Rodney said of his break-through moment, "I was a hard-nosed player. I went after it."
After retiring from baseball in 1993, McCray worked as a hotel concierge before becoming an instructional coach. He first worked with the Cincinnati Reds and then joined the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2007.
Rodney McCray signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers spring training facility in Arizona on March 27, 2010.