Rey Ordonez: The Mets’ Relentless Defender
Rey Ordonez was a flashy shortstop during his time with the Mets. He spent seven seasons with the team and won three Gold Gloves. He also helped lead the team to the National League Championship Series in 1999.
In the history of Major League Baseball, there have been plenty of mediocre players who made a name for themselves thanks to their exceptional fielding abilities.
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Although they might not have been particularly good at hitting, their contributions to their teams have been invaluable. Rey Ordonez was one such player.
Over the course of his nine-year career in the majors, he was known for his beyond-reproach defensive abilities. In this paper, we’ll take a closer look at his career with the Mets, and explore the factors that made him such an invaluable asset to the team.
Ordonez was born on January 11, 1971, in Havana, Cuba. His talent for baseball was apparent from an early age, and he quickly made a name for himself as one of the best shortstops in the country. In 1993, he defected from Cuba and signed with the New York Mets the following year.
Ordonez debuted with the Mets in 1996 and quickly proved himself to be a masterful shortstop. He could make plays that left onlookers’ jaws on the floor, and his opponents’ heads shaking in disbelief.
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He had an uncanny ability to get to balls that were hard-hit and to make plays that seemed downright impossible. Even routine ground balls became exciting with Ordonez in the game, as he had a knack for making even the most mundane plays look spectacular.
Over the course of his career with the Mets, Ordonez established himself as one of the best fielding shortstops in the game. He won three Gold Gloves – in 1997, 1998, and 1999 – and was named to the National League All-Star team twice.
His signature move was his ability to make off-balance throws while on the run as well as the backhand catch while sliding in the hole, something that became known as “the Ordonez.”
His speed, agility, and innate talent allowed him to make plays that left his teammates and opponents in awe.
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Although Ordonez’s defensive abilities were what made him famous, he really wasn’t much of a capable batter.
His Mets career-high was in 1999 when he hit .258, and while he wasn’t at all known for his power, he hit a miserable 8 home runs over the course of his career with the Mets.
The light-hitting shortstop did manage to hit 20-plus doubles in four seasons, definitely adding some value to the back end of the lineup. Also, as the team’s number eight hitter in the lineup, he was often intentionally walked so the opposing team could face the Mets pitcher instead.
However, it’s important to note that Ordonez was never considered a great hitter – his contributions were focused primarily on defense.
Over the course of his career with the Mets, Ordonez played in 912 games, accumulating 801 hits, with a batting average of .246. He had a career on-base percentage of .289, and he scored 368 runs while driving in 315.
However, these numbers don’t do justice to his contributions to the team. He was a force to be reckoned with in the field, and his defensive abilities saved countless games for the Mets.
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Sadly, Ordonez’s time with the Mets came to an end in 2002, when he was traded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He played for Tampa Bay for one season before signing with the Chicago Cubs in 2004. He played in 71 games for the Cubs before being released in August of that year.
He subsequently signed with the Seattle Mariners, but injuries hampered his performance, and he was released in 2005. He played his final game in the majors on September 28, 2004, for the Mariners.
In conclusion, Rey Ordonez was a once-in-a-generation talent, and his contributions to the Mets were immeasurable. His defensive abilities were beyond-reproach, and he earned his reputation as one of the best shortstops in the game.
Although his time with the Mets was cut short, he will forever be remembered as an invaluable asset to the team. His feats on the field are the stuff of legend, and his name will forever be associated with the word “defense.”
We can only hope that future generations of players will aspire to achieve the level of defensive mastery that Ordonez displayed on a daily basis.
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