Ty Wigginton: The Last Mets Third Baseman Before the David Wright Era (2002-2004)
Ty Allen Wigginton was born on October 11, 1977 in San Diego, California. The stocky six foot, 230 pound right hand hitting infielder attended UNC Ashville College where he still holds many hitting records. He became the first alumni to make the major leagues when he was drafted by the New York Mets in 1998 in the 17th round.
Wiggy hit over 20 HRs with 70 plus RBIs at A ball St. Lucie in 1999 & then did the same at AA Binghamton in 2000. In 2002 he was brought up to the Mets in May for just six games then was sent back down. He would hit .300 at AAA Norfolk although he only had six HRs & return to the Mets in August.
On August 4th he hit his first career HR with a big four hit day in Arizona in a loss to the diamond backs. In the first week og September he hit three HRs and got his average up over .300 to end the season. He showed promise hitting .302 with 6 HRs & 18 RBIs in only 46 games (116 at bats).
In 2003 he became the Mets primary third baseman, leading the team in games (156) RBIs (71) hits (146) doubles (36) triples (6) runs (73) & slugging percentage (.396).
He also led the team in strikeouts (124) and batted .255. At third base he led the league in put outs with 117, posting a .962 fielding % making 16 errors (5th in the NL).
Wigginton made the Topps Rookie team & came in eighth, one spot behind team mate Jose Reyes in the Rookie of the Year voting. On April 8th he hit his first HR of the year, driving in three runs leading the Mets to a 4-1 victory in Florida against the Marlins. In mid May he had back to back three RBI games in a series in Colorado. He had his first four hit game at Milwaukee in May against the Brewers with another at Texas against the Rangers the following month.
In the middle of the month he drove in runs in four of six games, on a six game hit streak. He hit pretty consistent over the next two months putting together a few more small hit streaks.
On August 21st he hit a three run HR in San Diego leading the Mets to a 5-1 win. The next day he hit another three run shot in Los Angeles. In August he drove in 15 runs before slumping to finish off the season in September.
Trivia: Over the course of the summer, the fans adopted the song “getting’ jiggy with it" changing the words to gettin wiggy with it” in his honor. By 2004 David Wright was on the scene as the third baseman of the future and Wiggy’s days were numbered.
On the Fourth of July he had one of his biggest days as a Met, hitting a pair of HRs driving in three runs, in the Mets 6-5 Subway series win.
On July 15th his 9th inning single off Roberto Hernandez drove in the winning run as the Mets beat the Phillies at Shea Stadium. On July 31st, after 86 games played, he was batting .284 with 12 HRs 23 doubles & 42 RBIs, when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jeff Kepplinger, as well as the team of Kris & Anna Benson.
Trivia: Wigginton is ninth on the Mets all time list for games played at third base (235).
He didn’t play much in Pittsburgh hitting .220 the rest of the year & .258 with just 7 HRs the following season. He was released in December 2005 & signed with the Tampa Devil Rays for 2006.
He rebounded to rejuvenate his career, hitting 24 HRs with 25 doubles & 79 RBIs while batting .279.
Family: In December his wife Angela, went into unexpected labor & while on the phone with the 911 operator, he helped deliver his son Cannon. The Wiggintons have three children.
In 2007 he was traded to the Houston Astros mid season for Dan Wheeler. He finished that season & the next with similar numbers, hitting over 20 HRs with 25 plus doubles & 65 or more RBIs, while raising his average to the best since his debut at .285. After the season the Astros let him go to free agency, upsetting some Astro fans due to his popularity.
In 2009 he signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Orioles, there he batted .273 with 11 HRs 19 doubles & 41 RBIs in 122 games. He missed some time on the DL battling injuries.
In 2010 he hit 22 HRs with 73 RBIs batting .248 playing in 154 games, making his first All Star team. The slow footed Wiggy grounded into 23 double plays on the year (4th in the AL).
In December he signed with the Colorado Rockies for 2011, he hit 15 HRs with 47 RBIs batting .242. On April 11th he got his 1000th career hit, a HR off the San Francisco Giants Matt Cain. It was also his first Rockies HR.
In November 2011 he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies & got a lot of playing time as Ryan Howard was down with injury most of the early part of the season. Wiggy also got to play at third base & some games in the outfield. In 125 games he hit 11 HRs with 43 RBIs batting .235.
In 2013 he signed on as a free agent with the St. Louis Cardinals but only hit .158 & was released in July. The Miami Marlins also gave him a minor league deal in 2014 but he was released that March.
Retirement: In 2015 he became a high school baseball coach in North Carolina.
In his 12 year career the journeyman has hit .261 with 169 HRs 245 doubles 14 triples with 594 RBIs & a .323 on base % while striking out 891 times in 1362 games.