Nov 8, 2015

2000 NL Champion Mets Second Baseman: Edgardo Alfonzo (1995-2002)

Edgardo Antonio Alfonzo was born November 8, 1973 in Santa Teresa, Miranda Venezuela.

The five foot eleven, right handed hitting infielder was signed by the New York Mets as an undrafted free agent in 1991 at age 17.

In his first two seasons at low level A ball he hit over .330, moving to St. Lucie in 1993 where he hit .294 with 84 RBIs. By 1994 he was leading the AA Binghamton Mets in HRs (15) & RBIs (75) batting .293.

He made the 1995 Mets squad and debuted that April on opening day as pinch hitter going 0-1. He proved a versatile infielder, and worked his way into the line up getting into over 100 games, playing mostly third base but also filling in at short & second when needed.

He struggled in the first half batting .254 but hit well over .300 the second half of the season to finish up his rookie year batting .278 with 93 hits 4 HRs 13 doubles & 41 RBIs. Over the next seven years he secured himself as a regular in the Mets infield never making more than 12 errors in a season, while posting some of the league’s best fielding percentages. He was the Mets main third baseman from 1996-1998.

In 1996 he batted a modest .261 hitting 4 HRs 15 doubles & 41 RBIs in 368 at bats (123 games). As he learned the leagues pitchers & how to play the game better he was to become one of the team's best hitters in the next few years.

In 1997 he began to hit well in May, getting his average up to .300 at one point. In late June he went on an 18 game hitting streak which raised his average up to .332. He started to drive in runs & prove he was a solid player who could produce. On July 6th he doubled in the 7th inning in a game against the Florida Marlins tying it up 2-2. The Mets went on to win it in the bottom of the 9th on a Carl Everett walk off hit.

On August 5th his 10th inning sac fly scored the winning run for the Mets against the St. Louis Cardinals. On August 25th he had a huge four hit day driving in five runs against the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium. Overall he drove in 22 runs on the month & was batting .335 with a .410 on base %.

Then a modest September had him finish the year hitting .315 (8th in the league) best on the Mets club. He was second to John Olerud with a .391 on base %, hitting 10 HRs with 27 doubles, 84 runs scored & 72 RBIs.

In 1998 he hit for more power as his batting average dropped off. In June he drove in seven runs at Florida on road trip series against the Marlins. In the stretch of June 11th through the 21st he drove in 11 runs, collecting 15 hits. On July 1st he hit a pair of HRs in Toronto in a wild 15-10 Mets loss at Skydome. On July 21st he drove in a pair of runs in a game at Shea Stadium against the Pittsburgh Pirates, then the next day drove in two runs in each game f a double header in Milwaukee.

In August he raised his average twenty points getting hot, while driving in ten runs in the first two weeks of the month. On August 1st his 9th inning double off Jeff Shaw gave the Mets a walk off win against the LA Dodgers.

On the season he batted .278 with 17 HRs 28 doubles & 78 RBIs posting a .355 on base %. At third base his .976 fielding % & 117 put outs were second in the NL.

He had the best seasons of his career in 1999 & 2000, helping the Mets reach the post season both times. In 1999 he moved over to play second base when the Mets acquired Robin Ventura for the third base position.

1999 Mets Infield
At first he was upset at the switch, but settled in to have the best fielding percentage of all NL second baseman .993%. The 1999 Mets infield was dubbed “the best ever’ by Sports Illustrated and Fonzie secured his spot by only committing five errors in over 400 chances in 158 games.

Right out of the gate he got two hits on Opening day in Florida & hit safely in nine of his first ten games, five of those games were multi hit games. On April 10th he tied the game up with an 8th inning base hit off the Expos Steve Kline. The Mets went on to win it in the top of the 11th with a Todd Pratt single.

In May he hit in all but seven games raising his average near the .300 mark. On May 7th he had three hits with a HR, while driving in three runs at Arizona in a 14-7 Mets loss to the Diamondbacks. On May 12th he hit a long HR in Colorado driving in four runs in the Mets 10-5 victory. He drove in five runs over the next two games in Philadelphia giving him a total of ten RBIs over a four game span.

In month of June he drove in 22 runs overall, including a seven game stretch where he drove in at least one run in each game. In a stretch of 16 games he drove in runs in 13 games. On July 4th with the Mets behind the Atlanta Braves 6-4, Alfonzo hit a three run HR off John Smoltz in the bottom of the 7th inning, leading New York to a 7-6 win.

In a mid July road trip Alfonzo drove in nine runs, gathering an RBI in all but one game, as the Mets went 6-2 in those games. In the first two weeks of August (through the 16th) he drove in 17 runs & had six multi hit games.

On August 11th he hit a HR & drove in five runs against the San Diego Padres in the Mets 12-5 win. Four days later he hit another HR & drove in four more runs in the second game of a double header at San Francisco. The next day he hit a game winning HR in the top of the 10th inning off San Diego's Will Cunnane.

On August 30th he had a tremendous day in Houston, hitting three HRs driving in five runs in the Mets 17-1 romp over the Astros. The first was in the 1st inning off Sean Reynolds, the second was a two run shot in the 4th inning off Brian Williams & the third a solo shot off Sean Bergman in the 6th.

In September he didn’t hit as well but was a key contributor to the Mets Wild Card finish as he drove in 14 runs & scored 16 runs.

He finished the year posting career highs with 27 HRs, 108 RBIs, & a team leading 41 doubles. Alfonzo also set a Mets record scoring 123 runs, (3rd best in the NL). He won the Silver Slugger Award while also leading the team in hits (1532) total bases (315) & sac flies (9). He batted .304, made the All Star team & came in eighth in the MVP voting.

Post Season: The Mets tied the Cincinnati Reds forcing a one game playoff to determine the wild card winner that season.

Fonzie led the way hitting a first inning two run HR off Reds pitcher Steve Parris setting the tone. Al Leiter pitched a two hit shutout, leading the Mets to a 5-0 win and a their first playoff berth since 1988.

The next night in the 1999 NLDS Alfonzo was the hero of Game #1 in Arizona against the Diamond Back’s. Fonzie hit two HRs including a grand slam in the top of the 9th inning off pitcher Bobby Chouinard, breaking a 4-4 tie, as the Mets went on to win it 8-4. In the fourth & final Game, he hit another HR to lead off the 4th inning off Brian Anderson.

In the bottom of the 8th inning he drew a walk, then advanced to third base on an error. He then scored the game tying run when Roger Cedeno hit a sac fly. The Mets went on to win it with Todd Pratts classic walk off HR in the 10th. Overall in the series Fonzie had thee HRs & six RBIs with a .250 batting average scoring six runs.

In the 1999 NLCS against the Atlanta Braves he cooled off, batting only .222 although he hit four doubles & drove in one run.

He returned in 2000 to have a good April finishing the month hitting in 12 of 16 games, batting at .348 posting a .479 on base %. He drove in 19 runs that month, including a four RBI day with four hits at Colorado on April 30th.

In May he drove in 23 runs and was batting .355 with a .446 on base % as the month ended. On May 10th he drove in three runs in a 13-9 loss to the Pirates. On May 20th he drove in three runs against the Diamondbacks in an 8-7 Mets win & then had another three RBI game in Los Angeles on May 30th in a 10-5 Met win.

In June he hit safely in 15 of 18 games. On June 24th his 8th inning single tied up the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he then scored the game winning run on Todd Zeile's double later in the inning.

In August he started the month in a streak where he hit safely in 10 of 12 games, then finished the month in an 11 of 13 game hit streak. In mid August he drove in three runs in back to back games at Colorado, then went on to a four hit day in Los Angles on the same road trip.

On August 28th he hit a three run HR in Houston leading the Mets to a 4-2 win over the Astros, the only other Mets run came in on a balk. In September he was consistent in the Mets wild card chase, hitting seven HRs in the month driving in 15 runs. He drove in thirteen of those runs in the final two weeks of the season.

Overall in the 2000 season he batted a career high .324, with 25 HRs, 94 RBIs, leading the team with 40 doubles, 109 runs scored, 95 walks & a .425 on base percentage (5th in the NL).

His 276 times on base was 10th in the league. He made the All Star team and was one of the best all around second baseman in the game, posting a .985 fielding %.

Post Season: In the NLDS against the Giants, he hit .278 with five RBIs. In Game #2 at San Francisco he hit a big 9th inning HR off Felix Rodriguez putting the Mets ahead 3-1.

In the bottom of the 9th Armando Benitez would blow the lead, giving up a three run HR to J.T. Snow. The Mets went on to win it in the tenth inning after Jay Payton singled home Daryl Hamilton.

In the 8th inning of Game #3, Fonzie doubled down the line off Giants closer Rob Nenn, driving in Lenny Harris to tie the game. Nenn hadn’t blown a save since the All Star break. The Mets went on to win this one with a dramatic walk off Benny Agbayani HR in the bottom of the 13th. Centerfieldmaz was in attendance for this game.

In the NLCS he tore up St. Louis Cardinasl pitching, batting .444 (8-18) with four walks, four RBIs and five runs scored. He posted a .565 on base percentage scoring and driving in at least one run in all but one of the five games.

In Game #1 he walked in the first inning & scored the second run of the game. In the Mets 5th, he singled home Daryl Hamilton giving the Mets a 3-0 win. They went on to win it 6-3.

In Game #2 his single in the top of the 8th inning scoring Timo Perez to break up a 3-3 tie, in a game the Mets went on to win 6-5.

In Game #4 he drove in the first run of the game with a double in the first inning, the Mets went on to win this one 10-6. In the final Game #5 clincher at Shea Stadium, he drove in the first run of the game again with a single bringing home Timo Perez. Fonzie had two hits in the 7-0 Mike Hampton shut out.

2000 World Series Hit
In the 2000 Subway World Series, he put the Mets ahead 3-2 in the 7th inning of Game #1, with an RBI single off Jeff Nelson. But New York could not hold the lead. Then he cooled off going hitless in the next two games & getting one hit in Game #5. In the World Series he hit .143 (3-21).

He had a bad year in 2001, missing time with a bad back. The back issues would haunt him all year as it affected his hitting batting a career low .243. In April he drove in runs in seven of the last nine games of the month. He hit four HRs in May but was only hitting .250 at the end of the month. After missing a week of action returned on June 7th to hit a two run HR & drive in three runs leading New York to a 6-5 win at Philadelphia.

He went on the disabled list from June 13th through July 2nd, returning to have a weak month hitting just one HR. He had a better month in August hitting 5 HRs with 17 RBIs. On August 26th he drove in four runs against the San Francisco Giants hitting a three run HR leading the Mets to a 6-5 win. He drove in two more runs the next day & had eight RBIs in a six game stretch.

In the first game played after the September 11th attacks on New York City, he went 1-4 in Pittsburgh. In the first game played back in New York where Mike Piazza hit his classic game winning HR, Fonzie also had one hit that memorable night. On September 30th he hit two HRs leading the Mets past the Braves 9-6 in Atlanta.

In 2001 Fonzie hit 17 HRs with 22 doubles, a .322 on base % & drove in 49 runs in 124 games.

In 2002 he was healthy again and started the year with three hits on Opening Day in the Mets 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Shea. On April 15th he hit a walk off RBI single against the Atlanta Braves giving the Shea fans a big thrill beating their arch rivals.

On June 7th he singled breaking a 3-3 tie in the top of the 7th inning off Danny Baez in Cleveland, leading the Mets to a 4-3 interleague victory. The next day he singled with the bases loaded inthe 7th inning, giving the Mets the lead once again. They rallied & went on to win this one 8-6.

Later in the month, he drove in two runs in two separate games against the Minnesota Twins & Kansas City Royals. Both games were won by the Mets by one run. From June 12th through June 20th he hit five HRs & went on to drive in runs in ten straight games.

In August he missed three weeks of action landing on the DL with a strained oblique muscle, but still hit HRs in three games & had three three RBI games as well.

Shea Stadium
Closing Ceremonies
He rebounded from the previous season to lead the team in batting in 2002 (.308) walks (62) runs (78) & on base percentage (.391). He hit 16 HRs, with 56 RBIs & 27 doubles while moving back over to third base, as the Mets acquired Roberto Alomar. He made 12 errors in 385 chances there posting a .969 fielding %.

The injuries began to wear him down physically, and at an age where he was expected to be in his prime, he was winding down his career. The Mets chose not to sign him for 2003 and he went west to the San Francisco Giants.

Being the gentleman he was, he bought ad time thanking the fans of New York for their support. The ads were sported on various cabs & bus billboards throughout New York City. He left the Mets among the top of many club records.


As a Met he collected 1136 hits (5th all time) 614 runs scored (5th all time) 212 doubles (5th all time) 538 RBIs (7th all time) 120 HRs (9th all time) & 1086 games played (9th all time). He posted a .292 Mets batting average & in two post seasons, he batted .277 with 4 HRs & 18 RBIs.

He played three seasons in San Francisco having two good years but never matching his Mets numbers. In 2003 he batted .258 driving in 81 runs with 25 doubles & 13 HRs. In 2004 he hit better for average, batting .289 with 11 HRs with 226 doubles & 77 RBIs. By 2005 he only hit two HRs with 17 doubles & 27 RBIs in 109 games.

He spent 2006 with three teams before going to play in the Independent league with the Long Island Ducks. The Mets gave him a shot early in 2006, signing him to a minor league contract, but he didn’t make the club.

2013 All Star Game Week at Citi Field
In his 12 year MLB career he hit .284 lifetime, with 1532 hits, 282 doubles 18 triples 146 HRs 744 RBIs 596 walks & a .357 on base %. At third base he played 889 games posting a 968 fielding %. In ten seasons at second base he played 549 games posting a .986 fielding % making just 33 errors in 2416 chances.

Retirement: He played for the Long Island Ducks (2007), the Mexican league (2008) Japan with the Yomiuri Giants (2009) & in Newark with the Bears along with Armando Benitez in 2010.

Mike Piazza Mets Hall of Fame Induction 2013
Fonzie must be recognized as one of the best Mets all time top players & was greeted warmly at the closing ceremonies of Shea Stadium in 2008.

In July 2012 he represented the Mets at the MLB All Star Fan Fest. Later that year he was on hand at Citi Field, supporting Mike Piazza as he was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame.

In 2014 Alfonzo was a coach for the A ball Brooklyn Cyclones. After the 2014 season the Mets fired their second hitting coach of the year; Lamar Johnson. Alfonzo a popular Mets personality was being considered for the position & is very interested.

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