Jun 2, 2015

2000 N.L. Champion Mets Utility Infielder: Kurt Abbott (2000)

Kurt Thomas Abbott was born on June 2, 1969 in Zanesville, Ohio. Abbott attended high school in St. Petersburg Florida getting drafted by the Oakland A’s in the 15th round in 1989. He spent four years in the A’s minor league system before having his best season in 1993 batting .319 at AAA Tacoma, & getting a brief 20 game call up.

He was traded to the Florida Marlins where he would be the team’s main short stop in 1994, with career highs in hits (107) HRs (17) & RBIs (60). He batted .255 but struck out 94 times (4th in the league) and made 15 errors (5th in the league). The next year he only hit 8 HRs & struck out 110 times making 19 errors (3rd most in the league).

By 1996 Abbott was suffering from vision problems & striking out way too often. Also a young Edgar Renteria was ready to take over the Marlins short stop position, & Abbott became his back up. He played at short stop & in the outfield during the Marlins 1997 Championship team, batting a career high .274.

Abbott went 2-8 in the NLDS against the Giants. In the NLCS he batted .375 with a double against The Atlanta Braves appearing in two games. In the World Series he was 0-3 as a pinch hitter. After the World Series he was traded to the Oakland A’s. He was soon traded to the Colorado Rockies becoming their main second baseman batting .273 in 1998. After the 1999 season he was signed by the New York Mets as a free agent.

Abbott is almost a forgotten man, but he played in 79 games for the 2000 NL Champion Mets, at short stop & second base as a utility infielder. In April he started out getting hits in his first three Mets games. He played in 16 games that month & was batting .308 going into May. His average plummeted down to .200 entering June.

On June 8th he had one of his brightest moments as a Met, hitting a 10th inning walk off HR against the Baltimore Orioles Juan Mercedes in an inter league game at Shea Stadium. Two months later, on August 7th, Abbott hit an 11th inning HR in Houston breaking a 5-5 tie giving the Mets a 6-5 win over the Astros.

At short he made six errors in 128 chances turning ten double plays, while his batting average fell to .217. When short stop Rey Ordonez went down for the season with injury, the Mets didn’t have enough faith to give Abbott the position. They traded away Melvin Mora to the Baltimore Orioles for veteran Mike Bordick. In 157 at bats, Abbott ended up batting .260 with 6 HRS, 7 doubles 22 runs scored a .283 on base % & 12 RBIs.

Post Season: In the post season he went hitless in both the NLDS & NLCS appearing in three games in those two series with five at bats. He saw action in all five World Series games, beginning in Game #1 as he hit a one out double in the 9th inning, but was stranded on second base.

His hit advanced Todd Pratt to third as the Mets were still leading 3-2, but failed to score in the inning for insurance. He went 0-3 in the next three games as a pinch hitter, getting the start in the fifth game going 1-3.

The next year Abbott signed as a free agent with the rival Atlanta Braves, appearing just six games before ending his career. In a nine season career he played in 702 games, batting .256 with 523 hits 109 doubles 62 HRs 242 RBIs & a .305 on base %.