Monday, August 16, 2010
#652) MIKE STANTON
Mike Stanton signed with the New York Mets as a free agent on December 16, 2002. He had been a valuable set-up man for the New York Yankees during their World Series years, but was not offered a contract for 2003. "The Mets are definitely an intriguing possibility," the left-hander who lives year-round in New Jersey offered, "My kids are in school here and when you live in a place six years, you get rooted." Mike passed on an offer from the Rangers in his home state of Texas. "This is where I wanted to be," Stanton said after signing the deal. "I'm happy we got it done."
Mike made his Mets debut on April 2, 2003. Working a perfect eighth inning while striking out two batters at Shea Stadium during a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs. He finished his first season with the Mets with a 2-7 record, 4.57 ERA and five saves. This for a club that lost 95 games and finished 34-1/2 games behind the division winning Atlanta Braves.
Stanton established a then team record for appearances the next year. His 83 games during the 2004 campaign was the most by a Met in a season until Pedro Feliciano appeared in 86 games in 2008. Mike's effectiveness returned with the extra work as well. Evidenced by his lower 3.16 ERA.
The reliever performed a rare feat on August 3, 2004. Stanton entered the game at Miller Park to start the eighth inning facing the Brewers. Mike struck out the first batter he faced. Then Scott Posednik swang and missed on a ball that was ruled a wild pitch when it passed Mets' catcher Vance Wilson and went to the backstop. The speedy Posednik was safe at first on the "dropped third-strike". A determined Stanton then fanned two more batters on called third strikes to officially record four strikeouts in the same inning. It was only the second time in Mets' history for the oddity to occur. (Derek Wallace did it on September 13, 1996.)
Mike was traded by the Mets to the Yankees in exchange for Felix Heredia on December 3, 2004. It was a return to the club that had given him many post-season opportunities. Stanton told the Yankees media, "I made some friends over there that I'm still friends with and that I'll try to always be friends with, but losing 95 games, there's not a whole lot of fun in that."
After leaving his active pitching career Stanton became the head baseball coach for Don Bosco Prepatory School in Ramsey, New Jersey. "I've been on the road so much," Mike explained. "Then I started going to see my son play. It kind of turned into me hanging around every day and they ended up giving me a uniform. But I've always had a passion for working with kids."
Mike Stanton signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to Don Bosco on August 16, 2010.