Oct 18, 2014

2000 N.L. Champion Mets Utility Player: "Super" Joe McEwing (2000-2003)

Joseph Earl McEwing was born October 17, 1972 in Bristol, Pennsylvania. The five foot ten right hand hitter was drafted down in the 28th round of the 1992 draft, by the St. Louis Cardinals. It took him seven years in minor leagues before he got his chance in the big leagues. In 1998 he was still at AA where he hit .354, after getting promoted up to AAA Memphis he hit .334.

In 1999 he made the Cards team out after a strong Spring Training. He would play in 152 games as Tony Larussa’s all around guy, playing 96 games at second base & 66 games in the outfield. He came in fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting. He hit a solid .275 with 9 HRs, 28 doubles, four triples & 44 RBIs. At the end of Spring Training in 2000 he was sent to the New York Mets for 47 year old Jesse Orosco who was in camp trying out for a Mets roster spot.

In New York he became known as “Super Joe” to the fans as Bobby Valentine used him in the outfield (52 games), third base (19 games) second base (16 games) & at short (4 games). McEwing debuted on May 13th batting leadoff in a home game against the Marlins. He got his first Mets hit that day as well. On may 21st he hit one of his two HRs on the year, leading a Mets come back rally against the Arizona Diamond Backs.

His other HR came in Toronto during inter-league play, as he hit a two run HR off Pasqual Coco and later drove in another run on a fielder's choice.

On July 19th he helped the Mets come from behind with an 8th inning pinch hit base hit driving in two runs, to put the Mets ahead in the 5-4 win. On that road that week he got a chance to play often & he made the best of it driving in runs in four straight games.

Overall hit .222 with two HRs but had 14 doubles & 19 RBIs in 87 games in the 2000 Mets N.L. pennant season. In the post season he was used as a pinch runner scoring three runs, he got two at bats getting one hit and was used as a defensive replacement.

In 2001 he had his best season hitting .283, posting a .342 on base percentage while leading the team in hits by pitches (10). He got into 116 games, hitting 8 HRs with 17 doubles, three triples 30 RBIs, 41 runs scored & stole eight bases.

Super Joe soon became a fan favorite, another folk type hero, & very popular around Shea Stadium. On April 17th with the Mets down 5-3 in St. Louis, McEwing blasted a two run top of the 9th inning HR off Steve Kline. The Mets would mount a 6-5 winning comeback.

On June 10th he hit his second HR & had a three RBI day in an interleague game at Tampa. Four days later he hit a HR off Andy Petite during the subway series & then drew a bases loaded walk off Ted Lilly two days later in an 8-7 Mets win.

On June 27th he led another comeback at Wrigley Field with a two run HR off Kerry Wood. He got himself over the .300 mark in July with a ten game streak, hitting safely in 15 of 18 games.

In an August series at Shea Stadium, against the Milwaukee Brewers he continued his hot hitting. He first drove in a pair of runs in a 3-0 win in the Opener. In the next game he hit a 7th inning HR breaking a 3-3 tie, with what turned out to be the winning run.

In the first game played after the 911 attacks, McEwing scored the first Mets run with a solo HR off  the Pirates; David Williams in Pittsburgh. In the 5th he doubled, driving in Jay Payton but was thrown out at third base, the Mets went on to a 7-5 win.

In 2002 he struggled batting just .199 but still got into 105 games. In 2003 he hit .241, walking 25 times posting a .309 on base%. In 119 games and 278 at bats he only managed 12 extra base hits with 16 RBIs. 

He played every infield & outfield position that season, posting a .995 fielding % while only making just one error. He played 55 games at second, 42 games at short 5 in the outfield & one at first base for a Mts team that fell to fifth place.

His fifth and final season with the 2004 Mets where he hit .254 in 75 games. In early August he drove in five runs gathering up four hits in a series against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

 Later in the month he singled off former Met David Weathers, breaking a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the 7th inning. The run proved to be the game winner over the Houston Astros.

By August 19th he season was over as he went down with an injury. After a bad 2005 Spring Training the Mets released him & he signed with the Kansas City Royals. There he played 83 games in 2005 batting .239. At the end of Spring Training '06, his contract was purchased by the Houston Astros. He played in just seven games closing out his career.

In a nine year career, Super Joe was a lifetime .251 hitter, playing in 754 games, with 443 hits, 25 HRs 89 doubles 10 triples 33 stolen bases, a .302 on base % & 158 RBIs.

Defensively, Super Joe played 256 games in the outfield, 238 at second base, 99 at short, 92 at third base, & 61 at first base.

Retirement: After his playing days he coached & managed in the minor leagues for the Chicago White Sox organization. In 2012 he became the White Sox, third base coach under former Mets team mate; Robin Ventura.

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