Jul 25, 2012

Former 2006 NL Eastern Champion Mets Reserve Player: Michael Tucker (2006)

Michael Anthony Tucker was born on June 25, 1971 in South Boston, Virginia. The six foot two, left handed hitter attended Longwood University, making the first class of their Hall of Fame.

Tucker also played for Team USA in the 1992 Olympic Games at Barcelona. That year he was selected as a first round draft pick (the tenth pick overall) for the Kansas City Royals. He came up in 1995 playing in 60 games, hitting .260. He played just two seasons in Kansas City, getting traded to the Atlanta Braves with Jermaine Dye, Keith Lockhart and Jamie Walker.

He became the Braves main right fielder for two season and had one of his best overall seasons in his first year there in 1997. He hit .283 with 14 HRs, 25 doubles, 56 RBIs & 12 stolen bases. He has the honor of being the first player to HR at Turner Field as well as getting the last hit in the old Milwaukee County Stadium. He made his first post season that year, hitting a HR against the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS.

The next year he was once again on the losing side of the NLCS falling to the San Diego Padres. In 1998 he led all right fielders in fielding (.995%) making just one error all year.

In 1999 he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds along with Denny Negale for Bret Boone & Mike Remlinger. There had career highs in HRs (15) on base percentage (381%) in 2000. In the middle of his third season in Cincinnati, he was sent to the Chicago Cubs in July 2001. 

He will forever be remembered in Wrigley Field lore, for hitting a sleeping fan in the head with a HR ball in the bleachers. Tucker finished out the season in Chicago hitting 5 HRs & batting .263. Next he signed as a free agent back in Kansas City, spending two more years with the Royals.

In 2002 he stole 23 bases (sixth in the AL) while hitting six triples (also sixth in the AL). He matched a career high in doubles (27) & hit just .248 in 144 games. The journeyman Tucker went to the San Francisco Giants (2004) Philadelphia Phillies (2005) & Washington Nationals before getting released in Spring Training 2006. That April he was given a chance, by the New York Mets.

Tucker began the year at AAA Norfolk batting .265 with ten stolen bases, six HRs & .381 on base % in 83 games for the Tides. He was called up to the Mets in early August and got the start in left field on August 10th at Shea Stadium, in a game against the San Diego Padres. That night Tucker got a double and drove in a run in the Mets 7-3 win. He then got another hit in his second game the next night. Three days later he hit his only Mets career HR, it came at Washington against the Nationals.

Tucker hit safely in 9 of his first 11 Mets games. He saw playing time in the outfield that month and although he was only batting .212 going into September, he had a .400 on base %. The rest of the season he was used primarily as a pinch hitter, finishing the regular season batting .196 with one HR six RBIs 16 walks & a .378 on base % in 35 games.

He made the post season roster and was used as a pinch hitter in eight different post season games. Overall he had six at bats with one hit, a walk & a stolen base. He was granted free agency at the end of the year and signed with the Boston Red Sox but didn’t make the big league squad.

In 2009 he played for the Maryland Blue Crabs & the Newark Bears.

In his 12 season career he hit .256 with 1047 hits 125 HRs 528 RBIs 208 doubles 114 stolen bases a .339 on base % & 49 triples. He was a very good outfielder, posting a .985 lifetime fielding % and is in the 125 all time in put outs (2048).

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