May 30, 2016

Mid Nineties New Jersey Born Mets Player: Joe Orsulak (1993-1995)

Joseph Michael Orsulak was born on May 31st, 162 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. The six foot left handed hitting Orsulak attended Parsippany Hills High School getting drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 6th round of the 1980 draft. He hit well enough in two years to go from A ball to AAA Hawaii by 1983.

He debuted with the Pirates in 1983 playing in seven games. By 1985 he was the Pirates regular outfielder batting .300 with 14 doubles 24 stolen bases a .342 on base % 7 21 RBIs coming in sixth in the Rookie of the Year voting. In 1986 his average fell to .249 & he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles at the end of the year. He spent five seasons with Baltimore as a regular player, batting over .280 three times, while posting good on base percentages.

In 1992 he helped christen the new Oriole Park at Camden Yards getting two hits in a game against the Cleveland Indians. His strong arm had him lead the AL in assists (22) in 1991, while making a league leading 13 assists just in left field alone. That year he also posted a perfect .1000 fielding % as a left fielder. He came in fifth place with eight assists in right field in both 1992 & 1994. In December of 1992 Orsulak signed as a free agent with the New York Mets.

Orsulak was considered the fourth outfielder for the '93 Mets, but he actually got into more games then Vince Coleman & Ryan Thompson. He got into 134 games overall (fourth most on the club). Orsulak made his Mets debut on April 5th Opening Day playing centerfield & batting 6th. He had a good start batting over .290 by early May, when he hit his first Mets HR in a 4-0 win over the Florida Marlins. He kept his average up having eight multi hit games in May & starting out June with a nine game hit streak, hitting safely in 13 of 16 games.

In July he got his average over .300, he had three separate three hit games & hit two HRs both coming in the final week of the month. On August 30th he hit a bottom of the 8th inning HR to break a 4-4 tie against the Houston Astros, leading the Mets to a 5-4 victory. For the season he batted .284 (second on the club to Eddie Murray's .285) with a .331 on base % 8 HRs 15 doubles & 35 RBIs. In the outfield he had nine assists with a .978 fielding %.

In 1994 he pinch hit on Opening Day staying in the game to go 0-2 in the Mets 12-6 win at Wrigley Field. He got the starts in the next two games & drove in runs in each of them. He had a big start to May hitting a three run HR against the Dodgers in 1 7-4 Mets win at Shea onMay 1st. Two days later he hit a grand slam HR against Michael Jackson & the San Francisco Giants. From May 10th through May 17th he hit two more HRs and drove in eight runs.

On May 17th at Shea Stadium he hit a two run HR against the Florida Marlins & then won the game with a walk off RBI single scoring Todd Hundley. In June he produced 13 runs, with four multi RBI games, although the Mets lost all but two of the games he drove runs in on. He ended the strike shortened season batting .260 with 8 HRs 3 doubles 42 RBIs & a .299 on base %.

In 1995 Orsulak was the Mets main left fielder, playing alongside Bret Butler & Carl Everett. On Opening Day he came into the game late, driving in a run in an extra inning loss to the Rockies at Coors Field.

On April 29th his bases loaded single off Vicente Palacios scored Bobby Bonilla with the game winning run. By mid May he was batting over .400, naturally he tailed off but kept his average above .290 through mid August. On June after coming into the game late, he singled up the middle off Florida's Randy Veres, scoring Tim Bogar with the games winning run.

In July he had another game winning moment, when his 7th inning sac fly scored Jeff Kent breaking a 2-2 tie against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On August 7th, he hit a three run HR off Florida's Terry Mathews, bringing the Mets from a 2-1 deficit to a 5-2 victory. He had another big day later in the month getting three hits & driving in three runs in a 7-6 Mets win over the San Diego Padres. For the second place 1995 Mets, Orsulak batted .283 with one HR 19 doubles a .323 on base % & 37 RBIs.

Orsulak put in an under rated three year career with the Mets, batting .276 with 579 hits 35 HRs 221 RBIs & a .331 on base % in 338 games. Orsulak was let go to free agency signing a deal with the Florida Marlins. He hit just .221 and was traded to the Montreal Expos in the Cliff Floyd deal. Orsulak played the 1997 season with the Expos batting .227 in 106 games closing out his career.

In a 14 year career he batted .273 with 1173 hits 186 doubles 37 trples 57 HRs 405 RBIs 93 stolen bases & a .324 on base % in 1494 games played. As an outfielder he made 105 assists with a .982 fielding % in 1253 games.

No comments: