Thursday, December 24, 2009
#494) BERNARD GILKEY
Bernard Gilkey came to the New York Mets when he was traded from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Yudith Ozario, Erik Hiljus, and Eric Ludwick on January 22, 1996. Gilkey became expendable to the Cardinals after they added free agent outfielder, Ron Gant. Bernard's first season in New York was outstanding. He slugged 30 homeruns while driving in 117 runs, and recording a .317 batting average. Gilkey also shined in the field compiling 18 outfield assists that season. As a reward for the superior year the Mets resigned Gilkey to a four year contract (with a club option for 2001) that winter. The 1997 campaign would not prove to be nearly as productive for the left fielder. Perhaps Bernard was cursed by the new "ice cream man" all-white cap the Mets added to the uniform that year? Either way his production continued to struggle into 1998, and the team began to question if his vision had a part in it. Bernard refuted the thought stating, "I am not far enough from the pitcher where I can not see." The statement was made in support of his refusal to wear issued contact lenses while playing. On July 31, 1998, the Mets traded Gilkey along with Nelson Figueroa to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Willie Blair and Jorge Fabregas.
During his time in New York he made a small cameo appearance in the 1997 motion picture, "Men In Black". Bernard brought Shea Stadium into the film when he appeared in a scene shot there. Gilkey was seen playing the outfield and becoming distracted by a massive spacecraft above the field which resulted in his being hit on the head by a fly ball.
Bernard Gilkey signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on January 15 2010.