Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Juan Samuel came to the New York Mets when he was traded from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Lenny Dykstra, Roger McDowell and Tom Edens on June 18, 1989. The transaction placed a tall order upon the veteran who, after years in the infield, had only just become a centerfielder. He was to replace two of the most exciting players to wear a Mets uniform in Dykstra and Mookie Wilson. "It's a good deal for the team," Mookie said following the announcement. "Samuel is aggressive, he drives in 80 runs, he steals bases. I'll probably become more of a role player now, a pinch-hitter. But, after the season the ball will be in my court." Mets general manager, Joe McIlvaine explained trading two components to the team's past success, "Time doesn't stand still, you have to renew the team. As much as I would like to be nostalgic, time goes on."

"It's hard for me and good for me,"
commented Juan. "I gained 10 games in the standings in one day. I think the Mets are suited to my kind of baseball. I am a winner." The disappointed Shea Stadium fans did not make the transition easy for the newest Met. They showered boos upon Samuel from essentially his first at-bat. "I knew the players that they had traded were popular," he said later explaining his slow start. "And, I was putting too much pressure on myself to do too much."

Juan did choose a dramatic moment to hit his first home run in a Mets uniform. The team was hosting the Cincinnati Reds at Shea Stadium on July 9th. In the previous game of the series a bench-clearing brawl resulted after Tim Teufel was beaned by Rob Dibble. Samuel was one of the Mets players in the melee and found himself facing Dibble with the next game on the line. He deposited a slider into the right field bullpen for a two-run blast that cemented the Mets 6-3 victory. Mobbed in the dugout afterward he was requested a curtain call from the fans. "We still have plenty of time to go in the season, and I still have plenty of things to do," Juan
said. "It showed they finally accepted me."

Unfortunately the season ended with Samuel frustrated with only three home runs, 28 RBIs, and a .228 batting average in 86 games. The man who had been
discovered from the softball leagues in his hometown of San Pedro de Marcois at the age of 18 was not taking well to New York. Prior to the Winter Meeting in December, and after having his car broken into twice, Juan told the Mets he would not be unhappy with a trade. "But he also said that if nothing could be done, he would be willing to come back," relayed McIlvaine to the media. "In his case, he was sincere about it. If we can find something compatible, we'll try to do it." Samuel was traded from New York to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for outfielder, Mike Marshall and Alejandro Pena on December 20, 1989.

After his playing career, he has become a major and minor-league coach and manager. Leading the Double-A Binghamton Mets to a second place finish in 2006 as their manager. Juan became the Baltimore Orioles interim manager in June of 2010. More recently he was named the third base coach for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011.

His father, Amado Samuel had been a member of the 1964 New York Mets.

Juan Samuel signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to the Baltimore Orioles address on August 10, 2009.

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