Apr 23, 2019

2006 NL Eastern Champion Mets Outfielder: Carlos Beltran (2005-2011)

Carlos Ivan Beltran was born April 24, 1977 in Manati Puerto Rico. The six foot one Beltran was a star baseball & volleyball player in high school.

The switch hitting outfielder was drafted in the second round of the 1995 draft by the Kansas City Royals at age 18. He was highly touted as a five tool player. quickly getting called up to the big leagues by 1998. He would take over the centerfield & lead off positions for the 1999 season. That year he was the 1999 AL Rookie of the Year  hitting .293 with 22 HRs 108 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.

He soon became a star player in a very small market in Kansas City. In 1999 he played in just 98 games due to injury, then had to battle a young budding Johnny Damon for the centerfield job. Damon was soon traded & Beltran rumors began to swirl as him coming to the Mets. It looked like a great fit but wouldn’t happen for a few more years.

In Kansas City he would drive in & score over 100 runs in four seasons. He would hit twenty HRs or more four times, twice 25 or better. He also hit 30 plus doubles twice, with a career high 44 in 2002. 

These were not the current KC Royals & back then times were bad in Kansas City. In 2004 The Royals didn’t have the money to sign Beltran and traded him to the Houston Astros in a three-team deal involving the Oakland A's. Octavio Dotel went to Oakland, Mike Wood, Mark Teahen & John Buck went to Kansas City & Beltran to the Astros.

In a strange but baseball first, Beltran was selected to the AL All Star Team just before the trade was announced. When Ken Griffey Jr. got hurt, Beltran became the first player to start  an All Star Game for the other league.

Post Season: He hit 23 HRs for the Astros helping them get to the post season. It was here that Beltran became a star having a great post season. In the 2004 Post season he would set a HR record hitting HRs in five straight post season games. A record broken by Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets in 2015. Beltran also tied a record with eight post season HRs. His NLCS Game #4 HR in the 7th inning off Julian Tavares broke a 5-5 tie & was the game winner. But the St. Louis Cards prevailed & went on to the World Series losing a historic one to the Boston Red Sox. 

That winter Beltran was the best offensive free agent on the market. He was highly courted by the New York Mets & Met GM Omar Minaya flew to Puerto Rico to meet with the Beltran family. Eventually at the last minute, he chose to come to the Mets, getting a huge seven year $119 million contract  with a no trade clause.

In 2005 Beltran quickly became popular  with the fans, especially after a three hit, three RBI Opening day that included a HR. He & Pedro Martinez also acquired that year, got the Mets t& new manager Willie Randolph o a third place finish (83-79). Beltran took over the centerfield job from Mike Cameron, as he moved over to left, something Cameron wasn’t happy about.

Quotes: Carlos is no doubt one of the best, if not the best defensive centerfielders in the game, and one of the best in Mets history. He plays with a smooth style, covers great range, goes back on a ball better than anyone, and had a strong accurate arm. 

On August 11th, at Petco Park in San Diego, Beltran & Mike Cameron collided in one of the worst outfield collisions in Mets history. Cameron missed the rest of the year with a concussion & temporary loss of vision. Beltran suffered vertigo but returned to the line up a week later. 

Beltrans first season in New York was an adjusting one for sure, as he hit just .266 with 16 HRs & 78 RBIs. All these were career lows at that time in seasons where he played over 100 games. He did hit 34 doubles & stole 17 bases. 

In the 2006 off season, the Mets made even bigger moves than the previous year. They signed slugger Carlos Delgado, catcher Paul LoDuca & closer Billy Wagner. The Mets were ready to compete for the Championship. The addition of the big bats around him & his second year in New York resulted in a big year for Beltran.

He tied Todd Hundley's Mets single season HR record of 41(5th in the NL) , he hit the most HRs of any Met on the road (26) and tied a Mets grand slam single season mark with three. Overall he batted .275 with 116 RBIs (7th in the NL) 38 doubles 95 walks (10th in the NL) & a .388 on base %. In the outfield he won the first of three straight Gold Gloves making 13 assists posting a .995 fielding %. That year he came in fourth in the MVP voting.

He started out April with four HRs then began May with four HRs in the first week. He hit HRs in three straight games May 5th -May7th with the Mets taking two of three of those games. Beltran would hit ten HRs that month, twice coming in back to back games. He also drove in 26 runs that month.

On May 19th, after the AL New York club beat up Geremi Gonzalez for four runs in the top of the 1st, Beltran started the Mets come back with a three run HR off Randy Johnson. The Mets won the game 6-5.

In June he drove in runs in eight straight games, with multiple RBI games in five of them. On June 9th, Beltran hit two HRs in a 10-6 win the Diamondbacks in Arizona. He had hit one previous day as well. He closed out June with three HRs in four games, totaling eight for the month.

Beltran started for the Mets in the All Star Game & was joined by five other Mets players. He was the only player in the game to have more than one hit as well.

He had a huge July belting 10 HRs with 32 RBIs. On July 16th he hit a grand slam HR at Wrigley Field in a 13-7 Mets win, where they clubbed five HRs. The next day in Cincinnati Beltran hit another grand slam, this one off Eric Milton for his 27th of the season in an 8-3 Mets win. On a road trip to Atlanta where the Mets swept the Braves, he started out the first game with two RBIs. On July 29th he hit two HRs & drove in five runs, the next day for an encore he hit two more HRs & drove in five more runs. He entered August with 32 HRs & hit his 33rd on the first day of the month in Florida.

In the final two weeks of August he hit six HRs with 14 RBIs as the Mets continued to roll as well. On August 22nd he hit a walk off HR against Jason Isringhausen to beat the St. Louis Cardinals.

Post Season: In the first two games of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Beltran was hitless. In Game #3 he had two hits, including an RBI single in the top of the 6th inning. In that inning the Mets scored three runs to take a 7-5 lead enroute to their 9-5 win.

Betran got just one hit in the ext two games in which the Mets lost. In Game #4 he hit a solo HR off Anthony Reyes tying up the game. David Wright would hit another two batters later. The Mets went on to score eleven runs, Beltran topped it off with his second HR of the game in the 12-5 Mets win.

2006 NLCS: On October 12th 2006, Beltran hit a two run HR off Jarod Weaver in the 6th inning scoring Paul LoDuca who had singled. Beltrans two runs provided Tom Glavine with what he needed as he Guillermo Mota & Billy Wagner combined on a four hit shut out, to take game one.

Beltran would get one hit in each of the next three games, but his fate was sealed on the one hit he did not get. In Game #7, the game was tied 1-1 until the top of the 9th inning when Yadier Molina hit a two run HR off Aaron Heilman. The Mets manged to get Jose Valentin & Endy Chavez aboard with base hits. With two on & no one out Cliff Floyd struck out looking. Jose Reyes then lined out leaving it up to Beltran. Beltran would watch a third strike on an Adam Wainwright curve ball, endingthe game & the Mets dream of getting to the World Series. It was alla shock & something Beltran would never live down. Mets fans would never forget & or forgive him.

In 2007 Beltran would have another big year with 33 HRs (8th in the NL) 33 doubles 112 RBIs (7th in the NL) batting .276 with a .353 on base %. He struggled the first three months of the season, batting  just .230.

That June he hit six HRs, including two twice in back to back games on June 29th & June 30th. In July he hit 5 HRs with 13 RBIs as the Mets remained in first place & things looked good for another post season berth.

On August 19th he hit two HRs in Washington driving in four runs in the Mets 8-2 win. The next game on August 21st, Beltran had three hits with a HR & four RBIs as they came from behind to beat Trevor Hoffman & the Padres. The next night the Mets lost but Beltran had three more RBIs. On August 29th he hit another grand slam HR, a 9th inning shot to win the game 5-2. He drove in all five runs that night.

In September the Mets had a huge collapse one of the worst in baseball history. They lost 12 of 17 games, blowing a seven game lead they had on September 12th. They were still up one game on September 26th  but lost four of their last five games blowing their chance for the playoffs. Beltran hit 7 HRs with 25 RBIs & hit safely in 13 of the last 15 games. During the teams five game losing streak in the final week, he did hit three HRs including two in a 9-6 loss to the Washington Nats.

In 2008 he played in all but one Mets game, batting .284 with 27 HRs doubles & once again 112 RBIs with a .376 on base %. This year was even more heartbreaking for the Met fans as on the last day of the season, the Mets lost to the Florida Marlins killing their chances to make the playoffs. Beltran hit the last HR by a Mets player in Shea Stadium in the final game. It was also the final game played at Shea Stadium & the closing ceremonies featured many great Mets from the past.

In 2009 the Mets flopped as it all fell apart mostly due to injuries & an aging team. Beltran would play in just 81 games missing action from the end of June to early September. Before the injury he was once again voted to the All Star team.

That April 29th he drove in his career 1000th run. When he went down in June the Mets were still in second place but barely over .500 at 28-24. When he returned they were 62-76 in fourth place 17 games back. On his return he doubled & two nights later hit a HR. He would bat .325 with 10 HRs & 48 RBIs.

In 2011 the Mets were terrible again & it was only matter of time until Beltran was traded as his contract was running out. On April 9th he hit a pair of HRs against the Washington Nats in an 8-4 Mets win at Citi Field. On May 12th he had his last huge day as a Met. That day in a 9-5 Mets win at Colorado he blasted three HRs & drove in six runs. He would hit six more HRs thru July in a Mets uniform. On July 28th he was traded to the San Francisco Giants for top draft pick pitcher Zack Wheeler.
Mets Career: In his seven year Mets career, he has played in 839 Mets games (18th on the all time list) he has 878 hits (14th on Mets all time list) with  149 HRs (6th on Mets all time list) 208 doubles (7th on Mets all time list)  17 triples, 559 RBIs (6th on Mets all time list) bat .280 & scored 551 runs (8th on Mets all time list).

His stay was short in San Francisco as the Giants fell short of a wild card spot & finished second in the West. After the season he signed as two year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, the team he had held his bat back on in Game #7 of the 2006 NLCS. 

His first year in St. Louis was his best in five years as he stayed healthy, Beltran hit 32 HRs  with 26 doubles, drove in 97 runs & played in 151 games. He went just 1-4 in the NL Wild Card game beating the Atlanta Braves. In the NLCS he hit two HRs driving in four runs in the five game win over the Washington Nationals. In the NLCS loss to the San Francisco Giants, he batted .300 with another HR.

In 2013 he batted .96 in 145 games with 24 HRs & 84 RBIs. He had another big postseason driving in 15 post season runs with 15 hits. He hit both his HRs in the NLDS against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He then drove in six runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS & six more in the World Series loss to the Boston Red Sox.                 

After that season he signed on with the AL new York club at age 37. In his first two seasons there, injuries continued to haunt him. In the 2014 season  he batted just .233 with 15 HRs playing in 109 games. In 2015 he hit .276 with 19 HRs & 67 RBIs.

In 2016 he found youth again & was the teams hottest hitter at one point. He would hit 22 HRs with 64 RBIs while batting .304 before getting traded to the Texas Rangers on August 1st.

In 52 games with Texas he hit 7 more HRs driving in 29 RBIs batting .280, helping the Rangers to a first place finish. In the ALDS loss to the Toronto Blue Jays he went 2-11.

In the off season he signed on with the Houston Astros. In 129 games there he batted .279 with 14 HRs & 51 RBIs helping contribute to their World Championship. He had a good ALDS against the Boston Red Sox, going 2-5 with an RBI double in the 9th inning of Game #4. The double off Craig Kimble broke the 4-4 tie proving to be the game winner in the series clinching game. He got just one more hit in the ALCS & World Series combined. After winning the Championship he retired.

In his 20 year career Beltran batted .279 with 2725 hits (61st all time) 435 HRs (46th all time) 565 doubles (27th all time) 1587 RBIs (41st all time) & 1587 runs scored (53rd all time). 

Beltran has 1084 walks (85th all time) 110 sac flies (20th all time) 312 stolen bases (156th all time) 101 intentional walks (121st all time) with 1795 strike outs (20th most all time) & a .354 on base % in 2686 games played ) 44th all time).

In the outfield he played in 2210 games making 75 errors in 5372 chances with 143 assists.

Beltran and his wife Jessica have two daughters, the family lives in Port Washington, Long Island during the season & Mantai Puerto Rico during the winter months.  

He is a Christian & when he stole his 300th base, to make the 300 300 club, a gold cross popped out of his jersey. He told reporters after the game "all the Glory was God's".                    

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