Thursday, May 20, 2010
#586) KURT ABBOTT
Kurt Abbott signed with the New York Mets as a free agent on January 26, 2000. He signed the contract knowing that any middle-infielder on the same team as Gold Glove winners, Edgardo Alfonzo and Rey Ordonez would see limited playing time. So when he made his Mets' debut on April 5, 2000 it was in a reserve role. That situation changed on May 29th. Ordonez suffered a broken left forearm at Dodger Stadium, and the decision was made to establish Kurt as the starting shortstop during his absence. "I'm not replacing him. I'm filling in for him," Abbott said. "I'm not feeling any pressure because I can't do what Rey Ordonez does. I can't think, "If Rey Ordonez in out there, he'd make that play."
Kurt was the hero of the day for the Mets on June 8th facing the Baltimore Orioles at Shea Stadium. With one out in the 10th inning, he hit the first pitch from Jose Mercedes into the left field seats to send the 9,540 fans who showed up—the smallest crowd in three years—home happy. His home run sealed the 8-7 victory. "Rounding third-base, seeing your teammates waiting to trample you is a great feeling," Abbott said. "I don't know if I've done that before. I certainly hope to do it again."
Abbott shared the shortstop duties with Melvin Mora until the club traded for Mike Bordick on July 28th. Kurt was a member of the 2000 National League Championship team, and appeared in the World Series. He was given a much publicized start at shortstop for Game 5 of the Subway Series against the Yankees. "I don't think that one person out there thought Kurt Abbott would start a game in the World Series at shortstop," he would say to a large group of writers before the game. "I bet my a-- on that." He would get a hit in his three at-bats, but the Mets would lose the game and series to the Bronx Bombers.
At the conclusion of his playing days, Kurt followed his desire to pursue a career in law enforcement. In 2006, the World Series hero became one on a different level when he rescued a family from a smoke-filled apartment fire in Palm City, Florida. "I turned my back to the door, and took a deep breath," Kurt recalled. "I put her arms around my neck and the other girl held on." Abbott became a Martin County Sheriff's Deputy serving on the Community Oriented Policing Unit.
I created Kurt Abbott's card in the set from an autographed index card given to me by my good friend, Jessie on May 18, 2010.