Nov 6, 2012

Early Nineties Mets Backup Catcher: Orlando Mercado (1990)

Orlando Rodriquez Mercado was born on November 7th 1961 in Arecibo Puerto Rico. He was signed by the Seattle Mariners in 1978 as an amateur free agent. The six foot right handed catcher would make it to the big leagues by 1982. He would be the Mariners back up catcher to Rick Sweet in 1983 & Mike Kearney in 1984. He spent time between the minor leagues in those seasons as well ,batting .358 at AAA Salt Lake City in 1984.

The journeyman would go to the Texas Rangers (1986) for 46 games, then the Detroit Tigers (10 games) & Los Angles Dodgers (7 games) in 1987. In 1988 he went to the Oakland A's seeing some time from April through June for the AL Champions. He then signed with the Minnesota Twins for one season in 1989& was granted free agency. In 1990 he signed with the New York Mets.

He got his first Mets start behind the plate on April 15th catching Ron Darlings in a 3-1 loss to the Expos at Montreal. He went hitless in his first five games, then on June 9th he broke through with two hits & his first Mets HR. It was a two run shot off the Pittsburgh Pirates Bob Patterson at Shea Stadium.

Mercado would hit two more Mets HRs, one in St. Louis & another in Atlanta on July 5th. Mercado played in 42 games with New York before getting placed on waivers in late August. He hit just .211 with 3 HR & seven RBIs. Defensively he only threw out 13 % of would be base stealer's as they swiped 40 bases on him getting caught just six time.

That year the Mets had Mackey Sasser (87 games), Barry Lyons (23 games) & Alex Trevino (9 games) all playing catcher at some point. When Charlie O'Brien (28 games) arrived from Milwaukee & became Dwight Gooden's personal catcher, Mercado was expendable. Mercado was picked up by the Montreal Expos for eight games that year never made it back to the big leagues.

He played out his career in the minors through 1994. In a eight year MLB career he hit .199 with 112 hits seven HRs 17 doubles & 45 RBIs in 252 games. He threw out 22% of would be base stealer's with a .993 fielding %.

Retirement: After his playing days he has been a coach in the Anaheim Angles organization. In 2004 he was inducted in the Hispanic Heritage Hall of Fame.

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