Monday, January 17, 2011
#784) EDDIE KUNZ
Eddie Kunz was selected by the New York Mets during the first round of the free agent draft on June 7, 2007. The right-handed junior from Oregon State University was the 42nd overall selection. He had served as the closer for the College World Series Champions. "It's definitely an amazing feeling," Kunz said when the team announced his signing at Shea Stadium. "Ever since I was a little kid, I always wished I could do that, and the best part is wearing the Mets uniform, and Major League-anything is definitely one of the greatest feelings that I have ever had."
After finishing the season with the Brooklyn Cyclones the 21 year-old was invited to major league spring training camp in 2008. "I'm really looking forward to seeing this kid pitch a little bit," commented manager Willie Randolph. "I see him as a kid who can help us in the near future, whenever that may be. You can see he's got the stuff to get hitters out. His ball has some hard sink when it's down."
Billy Wagner's strained left forearm gave the Mets the opportunity to promote Kunz from Double-A Binghamton. He made his major-league debut facing the Astros in Houston on August 3, 2008. Eddie gave up a bunt single, and committed an error to the next batter on a second bunt. He was bailed out by a double-play grounder to end the inning. "I've watched all those (college closers) a little bit here and there and saw the success they've had here." Kunz said. "I'm hoping I have the same."
His second appearance was his first at Shea Stadium. Eddie allowed a run during the eighth inning of a 4-2 loss to the San Diego Padres on August 6th. Discussions continued that the rookie Kunz would be used as the Mets interim closer while Wagner was unavailable. Following a very poor outing by Eddie in Pittsburgh the team chose to go in another direction. They optioned the reliever to Triple-A New Orleans on August 18th after acquiring Luis Ayala from the Washington Nationals.
Kunz ended with four appearances that totalled 2.2 innings of work with a 13.50 ERA. In 2010 the Mets converted Eddie into a starting pitcher in their minor-league system, but he was returned to the bullpen before the close of the season.
Eddie Kunz signed his card in the set for my friend, Dan before the Indianapolis Indians and Buffalo Bisons game at Dunn Tire Park on June 6, 2009.