Mike Difelice: Former Italian/American Mets Backup Catcher (2005-2007)

Michael William Difelice
was born on May 28, 1969 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The six foot two catcher, is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, getting drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the eleventh round of the 1991 draft.

He didn’t hit for power or average but was always a fine defensive catcher. He threw out over 45% of would be base runners from 1994-1996 earning a quick cup of coffee with the 1996 St. Louis Cardinals.

MLB Career: In 1997 he saw action in 93 games, sharing time with Tom Lampkin, batting .238 with 4 HRs & a career high 30 RBIs.

In 1998 he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the expansion draft becoming an original Devil Ray. He would spend three and a half seasons with Tampa throwing out over 40% of base stealers twice. 

photo by centerfieldmaz- Spring Training 2007
He batted a career high .307 in 1999 (179 at bats). That season he also hit a career high six HRs, & repeated that the following season.

On July 31st, 2001, he was traded to the Arizona Diamond backs, but would only play in 12 games there.

Drama: That August he was arrested in Pittsburgh after allegedly slugging a female patron, as well as a parking attendant at the Area 51 nightclub. 

He would get released from Arizona in early September as they went on to win the World Series two months later.

DiFelice would play with four more teams over the next four years, St. Louis Cardinals (70 games in 2002) Kansas City Royals (62 games in 2003) Detroit Tigers (13 games) & Chicago Cubs (4 games) in 2004. 

He also spent some more times in the minor leagues before getting signed by the New York Mets in 2005.

Mets Career: By this time he was 35 years old, in New York he was used as a third string catcher, bullpen catcher & spring training mentor. He mostly helped out the club during times when the other main catchers were injured. 

He would spend three seasons with the Mets playing 42 games at the major league level, batting .171 (14-82) with six RBIs, three doubles & a triple. The aging catcher threw out just three of the fourteen base runners attempting to steal on him.

On August 17th, he had a career high, three RBI
game. He started with a sac fly in the 4th inning & then hit a triple with Carlos Beltran & Shawn Green aboard to drive in his next two runs in the Mets 6-2 win over the Nationals. 

Trivia: As he walked up to the plate, he chose Judas Priest's "You Got Another Thing Comin” as
his song. Mike DiFelice was certainly a gamer, a stand up guy, who certainly stood up for his teammates.

Brawl: On the next to last day of the 2007 season, with the Mets fighting for a playoff spot & John Maine flirting with a no hitter, there was a bench clearing brawl. It started when Marlins threw two close pitches at the Mets’ Luis Castillo. 

Marlin catcher Miguel Olivo had words with Jose Reyes who was on third base. Soon all hell broke loose, as Olivo charged Reyes intercepted by coach Sandy Alomar. 

As the benches emptied, Difelice boldly ran into a pack of Marlins players, going after catcher Miguel Olivo. The brave DiFelice was surrounded by nothing but Florida's visiting jerseys, but he held his own.

Post Mets Career:
In 2008 he returned to Tampa & played in seven brief games before requesting to be released. He became just the second player to wear all three Tampa franchise uniforms.

In a thirteen year career, he played in 554 lifetime games with 368 hits a .236 average, 28 HRs 83
doubles & 167 RBIs. Behind the plate he had a .988 fielding percentage & threw out 36% of would be base stealers. 

Retirement: In 2009 he was named manager of the Rookie level, Kingsport Mets located in Kingsport, Tennessee in the Appalachian League. He held that position for two years finishing a best 6th in '09.


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