Kelly Stinnett: Early Nineties Mets Reserve Catcher (1994 - 1995)

Kelly Lee Stinnett was born on February 14, 1970, in Lawton, Oklahoma. The five-foot eleven right hand hitting Stinnett was a star baseball & football player in high school. He won the State Championship with teammates James Trapp and Will Shields who both went on to play in the NFL.

Stinnett attended Seminole Junior College winning All American & Jr. College Player of the Year batting .399. He was signed as a catcher by the Cleveland Indians in the 11th round of the 1989 amateur draft. He was drafted away by the New York Mets in December 1993 in the Rule V draft.

Mets Career: He made the club out of Spring Training & would spend two seasons in New York, as Todd Hundley’s backup catcher. He debuted in third game of the season at Wrigley Field, catching Pete Smith & hitting a two run double in the Mets 6-2 win. On May 5th he hit his first HR in a 8-1 win over the Cardinals. On June 7th he had a three hit three RBI Day in a loss at Colorado. On July 1st he hit a two run HR off the Padres Bill Krueger in a wild 10-7 win.

He drove in two more runs before the baseball strike ended the season. Stinnett would see action in 47 games for the Mets that year, making five errors behind the plate throwing out 32% of base stealers. On the season he batted .253 with 19 extra base hits 2 HRs & 14 RBIs.

1995: This season his average would drop to .219 with 4 HRs & 18 RBIs playing in 77 games sharing time with Alberto Castillo as Todd Hundley’s back up. 

On May 17th & May 21st, he hit HRs in back-to-back games he played in, although the Mets lost both games. On an early June Road trip to San Francisco, he got to play in two games & had two hits with a pair of RBIs.

In mid-August Stinnett drove in runs in four of five games collecting five hits with four walks in that span. His last two HRs of the year both came against the Florida Marlins.

He finished the year batting .219 with 4 HRs 8 doubles & 18 RBIs playing in 77 games. In 67 games behind the plate he threw out 29% of runners trying to steal.

That off season he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for pitcher Corey Lidle who would go 7-2 for the 1997 Mets.

Post Mets Career: Stinnett would play for 14 seasons as backup catcher in Milwaukee (1996-1997) Arizona (1998-2000) There he saw the most playing time as he backed up Damian Miller appearing in over 75 games each season. 

Stinnett moved on to Cincinnati (2001-2003) Philadelphia (2003) Kansas City (2004) New York (A.L.-2006) & another brief stint with the Mets.

Return To Mets:  He came back to the Mets in September of the Mets 2006 NL Eastern Champion season. On September 7th he came into the game in the 7th inning as a defensive replacement.

On September 9th he played the entire games collecting a hit in the Mets 3-2 win over the Dodgers at Shea Stadium. He would get two more starts playing a total of seven games for the Mets going 1-12.

In 1999 he had career highs with Arizona in HRs (14) RBIs (38) games (92). That year he played in his only post season series, the NLDS against his old Mets teammates. He went 2-14 with a run scored while playing in all four games. Stinnett was the catcher behind the plate calling the pitch Todd Pratt drilled for the walk off win in Game #4 in the bottom of the 9th inning.

On August 24, 2006, Stinnett signed a minor league contract with the Mets. He made his return to Shea Stadium as a Met on September 9th, 2006, against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and went 1-3. He finished September with a .083 Batting Average and was not included on the 2006 New York Mets postseason roster.

Career Stats:
After 14 seasons he batted .234 with 476 hits, 65 HRs 91 doubles & 230 RBIs playing in 734 games. In his career behind the plate, he threw out 28 % of base runners, made 67 errors in 4063 chances (leading the league with 12 in 2001) posting a .9834 fielding %.

Retirement: In 2013 he was manager in the Freedom Pro Baseball League in Arizona. Then head coach at the Est Coast Baseball League for the Watertown Bucks In 2018 he was head coach at Park University's Gilbert Arizona campus.

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