Jan 27, 2016

Mid Nineties Mets Outfielder: Butch Huskey (1993-1998)

Robert Leon Huskey was born November 11, 1971 in Anadarko, Oklahoma. Huskey was big six foot four; 244 pound third baseman who was originally drafted by the New York Mets in 1989 in the seventh round.

He won four Doubleday awards at various levels in the Mets organization, bashing 26 HRs at A ball in 1991. Two years later he hit 25 HRs with 98 RBIs at AA Binghamton. Then in 1995 he was the International League MVP hitting 28 HRs with 87 RBIs & a .284 average at AAA Norfolk leading the Tides players in most offensive categories.

He was called up in September 1993, making his debut at the Houston Astrodome on September 8th, 1993,the night the Astros Daryl Kile pitched his no hitter against the Mets. On September 11th he drove in his first career run on a sac fly & had another the next night, also getting his first career base hit. In 41 games that month Huskey hit .146 in 41 at bats.

In 1994 he spent the entire year at AAA Norfolk, hitting just ten HRs & batting .228. In 1995 he had a great season at AAA Norfolk, batting .284 with 28 HRs & 87 RBIs, getting another cup of coffee with the Mets, hitting just .189 in 28 games.

As 1996 rolled in, he found himself competing for the third base position against Edgardo Alfonzo. Jeff Kent ended up with the third base job after Rey Ordonez surprised everyone with his amazing glove work at short stop.

Huskey then landed the everyday right field job, although he wasn’t a natural outfielder by any means. He was terrible in the outfield, & didn’t last too long in that position. His biggest problem that constantly haunted him was his weight issues, which drove manager Dallas Green crazy.

In April 1996 he barely got over the .200 mark at the end of the month. He came around in May, & drove in 16 runs in June. He then had a strong month of July hitting seven HRs, driving in 20 runs raising his average 27 points in the month.

In the middle of the month he drove in runs in six straight games, topped off On July 17th when he hit a walk off sac fly game winner against the Philadelphia Phillies. On July 21st he started a stretch where he hit HRs in three straight games.

On July 29th he hit two HRs leading the Mets & Pete Harnisch to a four hit shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Shea Stadium. But then he got injured in early August & missed three weeks of action setting his season back. For the 1996 season he hit .278 with 15 HRs 60 RBIS & 16 doubles. During the year he was moved over to first base, sharing time with Rico Brogna. At first base he made 10 errors (5th in the league) posting a .984 fielding %. In the outfield he posted a.943 fielding % in 40 games there.

In 1997 he had his best season hitting 24 HRs with 26 doubles 81 RBIs batting a solid .287 with a .503 slugging %. Huskey was wearing the uniform #42 when MLB retired it in honor of Jackie Robinson that season, but he was allowed to keep wearing it until the end of his career. 

He began the year penciled in at the third base position, but didn’t last too long there & by May was back in the outfield sharing time with Carl Everett. He had a good May, hitting eight HRs with 19 RBIs raising his average fifty points. But he struggled in June not hitting a HR until the 29th of the month.

On July 13th he hit a long HR down the left field line at Turner Field, in the game he had three hits & drove in five runs leading the Mets to a 7-6 win over the Braves. There was still a lot of promise for him at age 25, and some people even compared him to Mark McGwire! In the final week & a half of August he had a nine game hit streak with three HRs & 12 RBIs. That September he hit a mammoth HR becoming only the third player to reach the Veterans Stadium Upper Deck 600 level.

The next year his numbers fell off as he was injured often playing in 113 games he hit 13 HRs with 18 doubles 59 RBIs and batted .252 average. The fans were tired of waiting for him to be that hyped up slugger he once was suppose to be. With Bobby Valentine now at the helm, the organization gave up on him as well.

GM Steve Phillips chose to go after Bobby Bonilla (again) for the outfield spot. Huskey was sent to the Seattle Mariners for pitching prospect Leslie Brea. (Brea would eventually be shipped to Baltimore with Melvin Mora for Mike Bordick in 2000).

In Seattle Huskey hit .290 with 15 HRs through 74 games before being traded to the Boston Red Sox for the 1999 pennant stretch. In 45 games he hit 7 HRs with 20 RBIs batting .260. That post season he hit only .200 going 2-11 in two post season Series. Next in 2000 he signed on with the Minnesota Twins, then was sent to the Colorado Rockies finishing his career at age 29.

Huskey never lived up to the hype, in his seven year career he hit .267 with 555 hits 86 HRs 98 doubles & 336 RBIs in 642 games over seven seasons. Over the years he has appeared in Mets fantasy camps.

No comments: