Jul 7, 2016

Former Mets Catcher Also Coming Over In the Noah Syndergaard /Travis dArnaud Trade: John Buck (2013)

Jonathan Richard Buck was born on July 7th, 1980 in Kemmerer, Wyoming. The six foot two catcher is one of two active MLB players currently playing that were born in the state of Wyoming.

Buck was drafted by the Houston Astros in the seventh round of the 1988 draft. Buck spent five years at the low level of A ball in the minor leagues.

By 2003, he improved his defense so well behind the plate, he was voted the minor leagues 21st best prospect while playing at AAA New Orleans. In 2004 he got his average up to .300 & was brought up to the majors. 

In June of 2004 he was involved in a big three team trade, that sent him to the Kansas City Royals along with Mark Teahan & Mike Wood. In the trade Carlos Beltran went to the Houston Astros & Octavio Dotel to the Oakland Athletics. He saw playing time right away replacing the veteran catcher; Benito Santiago.

His defense was good enough to keep him in the line up & by the end of the year he hit 12 HRs with 35 RBIs batting .235 in 71 games.

That season he came in eighth in the Rookie of the Year voting. Buck would spend six years in Kansas City as the Royals main catcher, coming in the league's top five in fielding twice, posting .994% or better each time. 

In 2009 he led the league in errors, posting eight three straight seasons. While in Kansas City he got into a heated argument, that led to a scuffle with his pitcher; Runelvys Hernandez, during a 2006 game against the Cleveland Indians.

In 2010 he signed as a free agent with the Toronto Blue Jays, having the best year of his career. He hit 20 HRs with 25 doubles & 66 RBIs while batting .281 (all career highs).

On April 29th he hit three HRs in a game, driving in five of the six runs in a win against the Oakland Athletics. Buck then hit two HRs in a game in both May & June, & had 13 by the All Star break.

That year he was selected to the All Star team playing behind starter Joe Mauer. In that game at Anaheim, Buck doubled off Adam Wainwright, going 1-2 in the National Leagues 3-1 win. At the end of the year he signed on with the Florida Marlins. In his first Marlins game he hit a grand slam HR, off the New York Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey.

He was the clubs main catcher for two seasons, throwing out the league's lowest percent of base runners attempting to steal, in 2011, while hitting 16 HRs with 57 RBIs. That off season he helped save two elderly woman, in an overturned car in Sunrise Florida.

In 2012 he batted just .192 with 12 HRs & 41 RBIs. He was then traded to the Toronto Blue Jays along with Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson & Emilio Bonifacio at the end of the season for Jeff Mathis, Yuneil Escobar, Hendersen Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria & three minor leaguers.

Two months later, in December he was traded to the New York Mets along with Travis d'Arnard, Noah Syndergaard & Wuilimer Becerra for R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole & Mike Nickeas.

Bucks arrival in New York was thought of as just filling in time, with veteran leadership until Travis d'Arnard was ready for the big leagues. But Buck had an incredible start to the year, surprising everyone with a huge April.

On Opening Day he had two hits, while driving in a run in the Mets 11-2 win over the San Diego Padres. The next day he hit a two run HR off Clayton Richard, with two hits driving in three runs in the Mets 8-4 win. The next day he hit another HR, driving in the lone Mets run in the 2-1 loss. On April 6th, he drove in four runs, including two sac flies in a 7-3 win over his former team, the Miami Marlins. Buck was batting .400 through his first full week after six game as a Met.

On April 8th, he had a four game stretch where he homered in each game, topped off by a grand slam HR off Pedro Hernandez at Target Field in Minnesota in a 16-5 win over the Twins.

It was in the next game that he was behind the plate, calling the signals for Mets pitcher Mike Harvey who took a no hitter into the 7th inning. On April 21st he hit a HR off Jordan Zimmerman, in a Dillon Gee 2-0 win over the Washington Nats.

That week he drove in runs in three straight games. He finished off April with a HR against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 27th, then another on the 29th in Miami in a 4-3 Mets loss.
On May 1st, he doubled driving in two runs that turned out to be the games winning runs in the 7-6 win at Miami. On May 3rd he hit his tenth HR of the young season, a two run shot in Atlanta off the Braves Mike Minor in a 7-5 Mets victory.

Buck slowly cooled off, not hitting another HR until the Braves came to Citi Field on May 24th. He would drive in ten runs in the month, but saw his average fell off to .220 by the start of June. He did not hit another HR until June 18th, also coming against the Braves. This HR came during a Matt Harvey 4-3 win, in the first game of a double header sweep. In the second game Zack Wheeler made his MLB debut.

On June 30th he hit his 13th HR of the year, coming at Citi Field in a 13-2 debacle of a loss to the Washington Nats. In July he had a seven game hit streak where he drove in eight runs over that span. He had four multi hit games & three muti RBI games as well in the stretch.

On July 25th he had a big night against the Atlanta Braves, starting out with a single bringing in two runs in the 3rd inning. Later he doubled, scoring David Wright with his third RBI of the night in the 7-4 Met win. The next day he drove in the only run in the Mets 2-1 loss to the Nats.

When the Mets went to Miami, it was Bucks 10th inning single that scored David Wright & Marlon Byrd breaking the 2-2 tie, giving the Mets the win.

In August he hit his 15th HR of the year, it came on August 15th in San Diego in the 4-1 Mets win. On that road trip he also drove in runs in two games in Los Angeles.

That month John Buck Was on stand by, awaiting his wife to give birth back to their third child.

The Mets were also waiting, as this was the time they chose to bring up their highly touted catching prospect; Travis d'Arnaud.

Shortly after he arrived the Mets determined he was the number one catcher. This had been the plan all along, it was d'Arnaud's injury that only prolonged the situation.

On August 26th, Mets star pitcher Matt Harvey was diagnosed with a UCL tear in his elbow. During that night's game at Citi Field, John Buck consoled the pitcher he had enjoyed catching all season in New York.

The next day, The Mets traded Buck & Marlon Byrd to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Dilson Herrera & a player to be named later.

Buck would play in nine games for the Pirates as a back up to Russel Martin & Jose Tabata. In 2013 Buck hit 15 HRs & 11 doubles with 62 RBIs while batting .222 with a .288 on base %. Behind the plate he had thrown out 29 % of would be base stealers & had 746 putouts. He was signed by the Seattle Mariners in 2014 where he played 27 games before being released. He was signed by the L.A. Angels at the end of July & played five more games there. He officially retired in 2015.

In his eleven year career hit .234 with 844 hits 134 HRs 172 doubles 491 RBIs & a .301 on base %.

He had caught 1042 games with 6733 put outs (50th all time) with a .992 fielding % (50th all time) making 58 errors throwing out 25% of would be base stealers.

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