Saturday, February 5, 2011
#547) BRAD CLONTZ
Brad Clontz joined the New York Mets when he was traded along with Hideo Nomo from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Dave Milicki and Greg McMichael on June 4, 1998. The right-hander made his Mets debut the very next day at Fenway Park in Boston. Brad threw a scoreless eighth-inning of relief in New York's 9-2 victory over the Red Sox. Before appearing in another game he was then optioned to the Triple-A Norfolk Tides.
"I've been bounced around so much this season that it's been really hard to find my rhythm." said Clontz in July. He appeared in 28 games from the Tides bullpen with a 2-4 record and 3,43 ERA. That earned him a promotion back to New York when rosters expanded in September. The Mets added several players to help with the late-season pennant run. Brad appeared in one more game on September 10th, but was placed on the 60-day disabled immediately after. Clontz underwent season-ending elbow surgery to clean up bone spurs and bone chips. "I do not feel I was misled by the Dodgers," General Manager, Steve Phillips replied when asked about the pitcher's health at the time of the trade in June.
Brad left the Mets when he signed a free agent contract with the Boston Red Sox on December 14, 1998.
His greatest Shea Stadium moment came while in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform. On the final game of the 1999 season the Mets found themselves a victory away from securing the National League Wild Card entry into the postseason. With the score tied at 1-1 in the ninth inning the Pirates brought in Clontz to face Mike Piazza with the bases loaded. Brad uncorked a wild pitch that scored Melvin Mora from third base and gave New York the win. "I'm trying to get a strikeout or double play." said Clontz. "On the first pitch, I'm not going to give him anything down the middle." It was obvious that his short stint with the Mets was remembered. "I wanted to beat them bad, just to say hey, I got you guys," Brad said. "But they've had a great year and they're a good team."
On October 9, 2009, Patrick County High School recognized him with "Brad Clontz Day" in honor of his achievements in the major-leagues. His alma mater retired the #1 jersey worn during the athlete's days at the school. "It's very touching that people would actually care enough to go through the trouble to put together the plaques and the honors," said Clontz.
Brad Clontz signed his card in the set for my friend Tom at the Atlanta Braves Fantasy Camp in Orlando, Florida on January 29, 2011.