Wednesday, April 7, 2010
#728) ENDY CHAVEZ
Endy Chavez was originally signed by the New York Mets as a free agent on April 29. 1996. He played in the Mets minor league system before being traded to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Mike Curry on March 30, 2001. Endy would make his major league debut with the Royals, and later return to New York when he was claimed off waivers from the Detroit Tigers on February 1, 2002. The stay was brief because the Mets tried to pass him through waivers for a minor league assignment and Chavez was claimed by the Montreal Expos just 20 days later.
Endy eventually did make his Mets' debut on April 6, 2006 at Shea Stadium. He had been signed the previous winter as a free agent. The superb fielder was often used as a defensive replacement during his career. During the 2006 season with the Mets he appeared in 133 games and hit for a .306 batting average. Although his defining moment as a member of the New York Mets did come with his glove in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. Chavez would make a game-saving grab of a potential Scott Rolen home run. "The Catch" assures Endy's inclusion to all future highlight reels and gained him a special place among the Shea Stadium faithful. "I know the fans appreciate that moment." Chavez said, "I just try to play hard every time so they can support me and be patient with me when I am struggling."
The native Venezuelan has represented his country in the first two World Baseball Classic tournaments. Endy feels that is his greatest moment in baseball. "When we're in the majors, it's our job. We are professionals. You play for your team, but you try to do your job. Here, it's something special." Chavez explained, "You feel like a little kid. It's not money. No matter who you are, you have to play hard for your country. I think it's the biggest thing that has happened in my life."
Injury limited his season in 2007. On the last day of the 2008 season, in the final game played at Shea Stadium, history repeated itself. Endy would find himself making another spectacular game-saving catch. This time it was a Jorge Cantu drive that would have given the Florida Marlins the lead in the seventh inning. "I don't know how it happened," Chavez said after the game, "I don't try it like that, but it has happened twice." Unfortunately the game ended with a Marlins rally and the elimination of the Mets playoff chances for a second year in a row.
"The Catch" is currently immortalized in metal silhouette at the left field entrance of new Citi Field.
Endy Chavez signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to the Texas Rangers spring training camp in Surprise, Arizona on March 25, 2010.