Butch Huskey: Mid Nineties Mets Outfielder (1993-1998)

Robert Leon Huskey was born November 10, 1971, in Anadarko, Oklahoma. Huskey was a big six foot four; 244-pound third baseman who was originally drafted by the New York Mets in 1989 in the seventh round.

Huskey won four Doubleday awards at various levels in the Mets organization, bashing 26 HRs at A ball in 1991. 

Two years later he hit 25 HRs with 98 RBIs at AA Binghamton. Then in 1995 he was the International League MVP hitting 28 HRs with 87 RBIs & a .284 average at AAA Norfolk leading the Tides players in most offensive categories.

Mets Debut: He was called up in September 1993, making his debut at the Houston Astrodome on September 8th, 1993, the same night the Astros Daryl Kile pitched his no hitter against the Mets. 

On September 11th, he drove in his first career run on a sac fly & had another the next night, also getting his first career base hit. In 41 games that month Huskey hit .146 in 41 at bats.

1994 Strike Shortened Season: Huskey spent the entire year at AAA Norfolk, hitting just ten HRs & batting .228. 

1995: In 1995 he had a great season at AAA Norfolk, batting .284 with 28 HRs & 87 RBIs. He got called up to the Mets on August 18th. Two days later he hit a HR off Hideo Nomo in a 5-3 Mets win over the LA. Dodgers. hitting just .189 in 28 games. His next HR came on August 25th in a 10-5 win over the Padres.

On August 29th, Huskey reached on an infield single on a grounder back to the right side of the pitcher, Todd Worrell. Ricon Brogna scored on what turned out to be the games winning run, in a 4-3 victory in Los Angeles. 

1996: At Spring Training Huskey found himself competing for the third base position against Edgardo Alfonzo. Jeff Kent ended up with the playing third base job after Rey Ordonez surprised everyone with his amazing glove work at short stop, taking the position.

Huskey secured the right field job, although he certainly wasn’t a natural outfielder by any means. He was actually terrible in the outfield & was out played by the more athletic, Carl Everett & Alex Ochoa. The media & the fans gave him a hard time, he didn’t last too long in that position. 

The biggest problem that kept haunting him was his weight issue, which drove his manager Dallas Green, crazy.

In April 1996 he barely got over the .200 mark by the end of the month. On May 10th, he hit a HR off the Cubs Frank Castillo, helping Bobby Jones & Joh Franco in their four hit 2-0 shut out. In an early June series against the Marlins at Shea, he hit HRs in two of the three games, his June 9th HR off John Burkett helped Jason Isringhausen in a complete game 3-0 shut out.

On June 17th, Huskey came to bat in the bottom of the 9th inning of a tied game against the Phillies. He hit a sac fly off Toby Borland scoring Chris Jones with the game winning run.
 In June Huskey drove in 16 runs.

During the year he was moved over to first base, sharing time with Rico Brogna. 

In July, Huskey homered in three straight games, although the Mets lost all three. On July 29th he hit two HRs in a 5-0 win against the Pirates in Pete Harnisch's complete game shutoutHe had a strong month of July hitting seven HRs, driving in 20 runs raising his average 27 points to .280.

In early August Huskey got injured & missed three weeks of action setting his fine season back. 

For the 1996 season he hit .278 with 15 HRs 16 doubles & 60 RBIS. He posted a .754 OPS in 118 games. 

At first base he made 10 errors (5th in the league) posting a .984 fielding %. In the outfield he posted a.943 fielding % in 40 games there.

1997: Huskey had his best season hitting 24 HRs (third on the team) with 26 doubles 81 RBIs (third on the club) batting a solid .287 with a .503 slugging %. 

42: That season Huskey was wearing the uniform #42 when MLB retired it in honor of Jackie Robinson that season. He & others who had the number at that time, were allowed to keep wearing it until the end of his career. He was the last Mets player to wear the uniform number 42.

He began the year penciled in at the third base position but didn’t last too long there. In May he was back in the outfield sharing time with Carl Everett. 

He had a good month, hitting seven HRs with 19 RBIs & six multi-RBI games, raising his average fifty points to .284. The Mets won all the games in which he hit HRs in. Huskey also hit HRs in two of the three games in St. Louis, as the Mets swept the series. 

But from there he struggled in June not hitting a HR the entire month until the 29th.

On June 13th, Huskey hit two HRs & drove in five runs in a 7-6 win at Atlanta. The Mets had fallen behind 6-0 in the game, Huskey's first HR, a two-run shot off Denny Neagle started the comeback. In the 4th inning, his three-run shot off Neagle brought the Mets to within a run. 

On July 18th, with the Mets down 2-0 in the 3rd inning, Huskey's two run double capped off a four-run inning. The Mets went on to beat the Reds 4-3.

There was still a lot of promise for him at age 25, and some people even compared him to Mark McGwire.

From late August into mid-September, he had a twenty-game hit streak, clubbing nine HRs with 19 RBIs in that stretch. This also included driving in runs in eight of nine games. 

Trivia: That September he hit a mammoth HR at Veteran's stadium in Philadelphia, becoming only the third player in the Stadium's history since it opened in 1970. to reach the Upper Deck 600 level.

1998: The next year his numbers fell off as he battled injuries playing in 113 games, He hit 13 HRs with 18 doubles 59 RBIs and batted .252 average. 

By now the Shea fans were tired of waiting for him to be that hyped up slugger he once was supposed to be. With Bobby Valentine now managing the team, the organization gave up on him as well.

GM Steve Phillips chose to go after Bobby Bonilla (again) for the outfield spot. This was another big mistake.

Huskey was sent to the Seattle Mariners for pitching prospect Leslie Brea. Brea would eventually be shipped to Baltimore with Melvin Mora for Mike Bordick the following season.

Mets Career Stats: Huskey played in 414 games for the Mets, batting .264 with 55 HRs 62 doubles 4 triples& 214 RBIs. He scored 157 runs stole 17 bases posting a .306 on base % & .740 OPS.

Post Mets Career: In Seattle, Huskey hit .290 with 15 HRs through 74 games before being traded to the Boston Red Sox for the 1999 pennant stretch. In 45 games there he hit 7 HRs with 20 RBIs batting .260. 

1999 Post Season: That post season he hit only .200 going 2-11 in two post season Series.

Before the season, he signed on with the Minnesota Twins, then was sent to the Colorado Rockies finishing his once promising career at the age of 29.

Career Stas: In his seven-year career he hit .267 with 555 hits 86 HRs 98 doubles & 336 RBIs in 642 games. He struck out 384 times walked 164 times & posted a .760 OPS.

He played in 331 games in the outfield, 124 at first base, 64 games at third & 87 games at DH.

Retirement: Over the years he has appeared in Mets fantasy camps. He continues to keep the spirit of Jackie Robinson alive as he is one of Robinson's biggest ambassadors.


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