Wednesday, July 28, 2010
#305) MIKE FITZGERALD
Mike Fitzgerald was selected by the New York Mets in the sixth round of the free agent draft on June 6, 1978. He was drafted upon graduation from Lakewood High School in California. Mike was a fine defensive catcher in the minor leagues who was promoted to New York at the close of the 1983 season. Fitzgerald became part of a select group when he stepped to the plate for the first time as a major-leaguer on September 13th. He stroked a home run that made him the 48th player in MLB history to accomplish the feat in their first career at-bat. (The second Met to accomplish the feat after Benny Ayala in 1974.) It was a solo shot coming off Phillies pitcher, Tony Ghelfi in Philadelphia. Mike would appear in a total of eight games to close the year.
He won the Mets' starting catching job in 1984. Appearing in 112 games for a team that went from last place the previous season to winning 90 games. Mike's defensive would again prove to be his strength and led all National League catchers with a .995 fielding percentage. That mark would tie the previous team record established by Jerry Grote. His efforts were rewarded with his selection as the catcher on the 1984 Topps All-Rookie Team.
Mike's career with the Mets ended when he was traded along with Hubie Brooks, Herm Winningham, and Floyd Youmans to the Montreal Expos in exchange for future Hall of Fame catcher, Gary Carter on December 10, 1984.
Mike Fitzgerald signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on September 26, 2009.