Fernando Tatis: Former Mets Utility Player (2008-2010)

Fernando Tatis Jr. was born on January 1, 1975, in the Dominican Republic. 

He was signed by Omar Minaya & the Texas Rangers in 1992 as an amateur free agent. By 1996 he was considered the top prospect in the Texas League at AA level.

He got called up to the Rangers for 1997 and played third base hitting .256 with 8 HRs & 29 RBIs. 

After 95 games in Texas in1998, he got traded to the St. Louis Cardinals along with future Met Darrin Oliver for Todd Stottlemyer & Royce Clayton. 

He did well as a versatile player in his first two seasons in St. Louis, hitting .298 in 1999 with 34 HRs 31 doubles 107 RBIs & a .404 on base %, all of which were career bests during the leagues inflated stats era.

Record Two Grand Slams in an Inning: On April 23rd, he became the only player in MLB History to hit two grand slams in the same inning. It happened in Los Angeles in the 3rd inning, both times off pitcher Chan Ho Park. That season he was second on the Cardinals team in HRs to slugger Mark McGwire. 

The next season he came back to earth and hit .253 with 18 HRs 21 doubles & 64 RBIs. A groin injury set him back and he was soon traded to the Montreal Expos. He bottomed out in Montreal hitting .224 then a horrid .194 in 2003.

He went back to his hometown in the Dominican and the only motivation to play baseball again, came because he wanted to save a church in San Pedro de Macorís. Soon the Baltimore Orioles signed him for 2006, where in 28 games he hit .250 with a pair of HRs & 11 RBIs.

Mets Career: In 2007 the New York Mets gave him a shot, as fellow Dominican Omar Minaya now the Mets GM signed him with a one-year deal. Minaya, who had signed him at the start of his career, was a father figure to Tatis.

for 2007 Tatis played with the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs, making enough money to save his hometown church. It was certainly a very gracious deed & as the town was very thankful.

NL Comeback Player of the Year: When Mets outfielder Angel Pagan got hurt in 2008, Tatis got the call up to replace him. He made his Mets debut at Shea Stadium on May 13th, getting a pinch-hit base hit in a 6-3 win over the Washington Nationals. On May 23rd, he hit his first HR in just his fourth game back up in the big leagues. It came in a 5-4 extra inning loss to the Rockies. On May 27th, he drove in two runs in a 5-3 win over the Florida Marlins.

Walk Off HR: The next day on May 28th, Tatis came to bat in the 12th inning of a 5-5 tie with the Florida Marlins. Tatis hit a walk off double against Florida's Justin Miller, scoring David Wight while sealing his spot on the roster. 

Tatis saw a lot of playing time in the outfield that year (71 games) due to injuries to Moises Alou & Ryan Church. The versatile Tatis also played third base & first base positions, making him a valuable asset to the club. 

On July 6th, he hit a top of the 12th inning two run HR off the Phils Chad Durbin, in Philadelphia. Joe Smith held the Phillies down in the bottom of the 12th giving Tatis another Mets game winning hit. 

Four days later in San Francisco he had a big three hit, four RBI Day leading the Mets to 7-3 win against the Giants. 

At the end of July, Tatis hit HRs in two consecutive games against the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea Stadium In that stretch he also drove in two runs in three straight games. Overall, in the month of July, he hit seven HRs with 18 RBIs raising his average seventy-two points to .320. 

He went into August riding a 13-game hit streak, capping it off with a big day on August 5th. as he hit two HRs & drove in four runs in a game a 6-5 win over the San Diego Padres at Shea Stadium. 

On August 26th he had another four RBI Day, highlighted by a three run HR off the Phillies veteran pitcher: Jamie Moyer.  

In the month he drove in another 16 runs, as the Mets continued to fight the Phillies for the NL East title, as well as stay in the running for the wild card race. 

On September 16th, the team took a big blow when Tatis dove for a ball in a game against the Washington Nationals & separated his shoulder going down for the rest of the season. The season ended two weeks later as the Mets were eliminated from the playoffs on the last day of the season. It was the teams last season at Shea Stadium. 

His great effort was rewarded as he won the NL Comeback Player of the Year in 2008, hitting .297 with 11 HRs, 16 doubles 47 RBIs & a .369 on base % in 92 games.

2009:  This season got more chances to play as the team suffered through many injuries. In 125 games Tatis played at first base (41 games) outfield (28 games) third base (27 games) & at short stop (2 games). 

Grand Slam HR: On May 13th he hit a4th inning grand slam off Atlanta's Buddy Carlisle at Citi Field. His first Mets grand slam came in an 8-7 loss to the Braves. 

He had hitting over .300 into mid-June but then slumped to under .260 by mid-June.

He would not hit another HR until July 2nd, helping the Mets in a 9-8 win over the Phillies. 

Grand Slam HR: On July 27th in a game with the Rockies at Citi Field, Tatis hit his second grand slam of the year. It came in the 8th inning breaking a 3-3 tie off pitcher Franklin Morales. The Mets went on to a 7-3 win.

Tatis hit safely in 13 of 15 games, with four straight multi-hit games at the end of August, helping to bring his average back up. From August 24th to the 28th, drove in runs in five straight games. The Mets were not in any contention as they would finish fourth winning just 70 games (70-90).

In September Tatis hit .373 with 22 hits driving in 12 runs. After the All-Star break, he batted .317 with 28 RBIs. In the last game of the season, he drove in two runs in a 5-2 win over Houston. 

For the 2009 season he batted a solid .282 with 8 HRs 21 doubles 47 RBIs & a .339 on base %. 

2010: The Mets signed him again for the 2010 season. On April 20th, he helped Mike Pelfrey to a 3-0 win, with a two run HR against the Chicago Cubs. On May 19th he hit his next HR which turned out to be the last of his career. 

By July 4th as he was batting just .185 through 41 games & he was demoted. Although he did not play another game in MLB, Tatis did not officially retire until 2014.

Mets #17 Trivia: Tatis is the last Mets player to wear the uniform #17. The number was worn famously by Mets legendary player & broadcaster, Keith Hernandez. The fans stressed their disappointment with any player still wearing the number & the organization listened. Finally in 2022 the Mets retired #17 in Keith Hernandez's honor.

Career Stats:
In his 11-year career Tatis batted .265 with 807 hits 113 HRs 174 doubles 14 triples 321 walks 427 runs scored & a .344 on base %.

A versatile player, Tatis played 676 games at third base, 103 games in the outfield, 66 games at first base & 5 at short stop.

His father Fernando Antonio Tatis was an infielder in the Houston Astros organization from 1969 through 1978. He had abandoned his son Fernando when he was four years old. Omar Minaya helped reunite the two in 1997.

Fernando & wife Maria have two sons. Their son Fernando Tatis Jr. spent a lot of time in big league clubhouses growing up with his big-league Dad. Tatis Jr. is now an All-Star short stop with the San Diego Padres. 

He missed all of 2022 with injuries & PED suspension. In a three-year career he hit 81 HRs, leading the NL with 41 in 2021. He has 195 RBIs 55 doubles 8 triples while batting .292 & a .965 OPS.

Fernando's' other son Elijah was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 2019.


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