1999 N.L. Wild Card Mets Utility Infielder: Luis Lopez (1997-1999)

Luis Manuel López Santos
was Born on September 4, 1970 in Cidra, Puerto Rico. The five-foot eleven infielder, was signed as an amateur free agent by the San Diego Padres in 1987. After six years in the minors, he made a brief appearance with the Padres playing in 17 games in 1993.

Lopez spent two seasons in San Diego as a reserve infielder, getting traded to the Houston Astros in Spring Training 1997. Two weeks later he was traded to the New York Mets for Tim Bogar.

Mets Career: Lopez batted .330 with 4 HRs 19 RBIs in 48 games at AAA Norfolk, getting brought up to the Mets squad in June 1997. He would play a utility role at short stop (45 games) second base (20 games) & third base (4 games). 

On September 14th he hit his only HR of the season, scoring the only run in a 1-0 Mets win over the Montreal Expos. On the year Lopez batted .270 with one HR 12 doubles & 19 RBIs.

Lopez would play in 117 games in 1998 behind Carlos Baerga at second (50 games) & Rey Ordonez at short (39 games) in the middle of the Mets infield. He was a valuable defensive player that also hit .252 at the plate.

That year he hit two HRs one at Fenway Park in Boston during interleague play & the other at Shea. It came against the Atlanta Braves' Bruce Chen in the second inning. He later doubled home two more runs, off Dennis Martinez.

1999 Mets Wild Card season: Lopez played in 68 games in 1999 season, thirty-three games at short stop, sixteen at second & nine games at third base. 

On April 11th, he drove in two runs having a three-hit day, in a 6-3 Mets win in Montreal. On April 23rd, he came to bat with one on & the Mets down 3-1 to the Cubs in the 7th inning. Lopez then singled off the Cubs Steve Trachsel, tying up the game at three. The Mets went on to a 6-5 win.

On May 10th, Lopez hit one of his two HRs on the season, the other would come three months later, in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, both HRs came in Mets losses. 

On the year Luis hit .212 with a .309 on base % 2 HRs 4 doubles & 13 RBIs. He did not play in the post season and was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Bill Pulsipher in January 2000.

Post Mets Career: Lopez played two years in Milwaukee having his best year in 2000. He doubled home two runs in the Brewers 4-0 win over the Florida Marlins in early April. 

In May he hit a HR against the Braves & added another the next month. At the end of August, he found power hitting a HR on August 23rd & another on August 31st. That day he had a big three hit, three RBI Day at Arizona. In September he hit two more HRs & had three multi-RBI games. he finished the year batting .264 with 6 HRs 27 RBIs.

He spent two seasons in Milwaukee backing up Mark Loretta, Ronnie Beliard & Tyler Houston. Lopez then moved on to the Baltimore Orioles (2002 /2004) & Cincinnati Reds (2005).

In an eleven-year career, Lopez batted .241 with 390 hits 22 HRs 85 doubles 7 triples 10 stolen bases 151 RBIs & a .293 on base %.

Retirement: Lopez became a long-time minor-league coach after his playing days.


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