Thursday, April 22, 2010
#710) BRIAN DAUBACH
Brian Daubach was drafted by the New York Mets in the 17th round of the 1990 free agent draft. He played in the minor league system until leaving as a free agent and signing with the Florida Marlins on November 7, 1996. "I wasn't very good until my last year with them," Daubach reflected later. "That last year was my breakout year. When they let me go, at the time, it was the best thing for me. I left on good terms." Brian would make his major league debut with the Marlins and finish second in the 1999 American League Rookie of the Year voting.
Daubach returned to the Mets when he signed a free agent contract on March 8, 2005. It was decided to start him in Triple-A Norfolk for the season. This due mostly to his delay in reaching spring training camp and the already established major-league roster. "It has been a little bit over a year since I've been in the big leagues, but to go to minor-league camp this year was tough," Brian would say at the time. "To think about all the guys who went to big-league camp and I wasn't able to go, it was a crossroads, definitely. I thought about not even playing this year. I knew I could still play, but going to minor-league camp wasn't fun by any means."
A strained left-hamstring injury moved veteran Miguel Cairo to the disabled list and provided a roster opportunity for Daubach. He was promoted on June 15, 2005, and made his Mets' debut the next day. The first baseman drew three walks in the Mets 9-6 victory over the Oakland A's at Oakland Coliseum that game. Brian recalls, "I told my family, 'This is probably better than the first time I got called to the big leagues.' " Daubach delivered a pinch-hit home run on June 21st, and then made his long overdue debut as a New York Met in Shea Stadium on June 28th. Brian would play a total of 15 games before being designated for assignment on July 15th when fellow first baseman, Doug Meintkiewicz was activated from the disabled list.
After his active playing career, Daubach first became a coach with the Nashua Pride of the Atlantic League. When asked about his long path to the major leagues, Brian said, "As a player it certainly didn't help, but I think it's helping my coaching. I've been through every situation these guys will see. I can relate to what they're going through. In my last three years, I was up and down (from the majors to minors) and I was much older than a lot of the guys when I was in the minors, so I was sort of acting like a coach then."
"I've been a sports fan my whole life," he said. "I was a fan before I was a player and I know what it's like to try and get an autograph. I remember going to the '82 World Series as a 10-year-old with my dad and I was doing the same thing."
Brian Daubach signed his card in the set for me during his appearance at the Cardboard Promotions Show in Mansfield, Massachusetts on April 26, 2009. Adding the date of his Shea Stadium debut.