Melvin Mora: 1999 Wild Card Champion Mets Utility Player (1999 - 2000)

Melvin Mora was born on February 2, 1972, in Yaracuy Venezuela. The five-foot eleven right hand hitting Mora, was signed by the Houston Astros in 1991. Mora would play in their minor league system until the New York Mets signed him as a free agent in 1998.

In 1999 Mora was hitting well at AAA Norfolk, getting a call up to the Mets at the end of May.

Mets Career: On May 30th, Mora debuted for the Mets playing short & going 0-3 in a 10-1 loss to the Arizona D-backs at Shea Stadium.

He remained on the club being used mostly as a pinch hitter & defensive replacement. He did not collect his first hit until July 6th which was his twentieth game.

Mora got two hits that month & was sent back down to AA Norfolk on August 2nd. There he hit well again batting .303 with 8 HRs 18 stolen bases & 36 RBIs in 82 games with the Tides.

He returned to the Mets in September & saw action throughout the month filling in the outfield. In 66 games, he hit just.161 for the year with an RBI. 

Trivia: Mora has said that the most embarrassing moment he had in baseball was during his rookie year. He still was learning to speak English & didn't understand too much. One game when Manager Bobby Valentine told him to go play left field, he went to second base. 

Mora made the post season roster because Bobby Valentine had faith in him.

1999 Post Season- NLDS: In Game #1 of the NLDS against the Diamondbacks at Arizona, Mora came into the game as a defensive replacement in the 6th inning.  In the top of the 9th inning, with the score tied 4-4 he came to bat facing Randy Johnson. He drew a walk to load up the bases. 

Randy Johnson was removed &replaced with Bobby Chouinard who served up a grand slam to Edgardo Alfonzo sealing the Mets 8-4 victory. 

Mora would get two more pinch hit chances in the series going 0-1 with a walk, in three overall plate appearances.

1999 NLCS: In the Game #1 of the NLCS loss to the Atlanta Braves, he drew a pinch-hit walk in the 8th inning. 

In Game #2 he replaced Rickey Henderson who got injured in the 2nd inning. In his first at bat, Mora hit a solo HR off Kevin Millwood tying the game, although the Mets would go on to lose it 4-3. 

In Game #3 at Shea Stadium, he played in centerfield collecting two of the seven hits against Tom Glavine, who beat Al Leiter in a classic 1-0 pitcher's duel.

In Game #4, the Mets were down in the series 3-0. In the bottom of the 8th inning, Mora drew a pinch-hit walk facing Mike Remlinger. Public Enemy #1-John Rocker was brought in the game, as Roger Cedeno then stole third & Mora stole second base. 

Next, John Olerud followed with a single bringing home both runners with Mora scoring the game winning run in the 3-2 victory.

In Game #5 at Shea Stadium, he went 0-6 with a walk, playing all three outfield positions. It was in this game, Robin Ventura hit his famous 15th inning grand slam single.

In Game #6 at Atlanta, with the score tied 7-7 in the 8th inning, Mora pinch hit for Orel Hershiser with one on & one out. He singled, driving in Benny Agbayani to put the Mets ahead 8-7. The Braves came back to tie it up against reliever John Franco. 

In the 10th inning, Mora faced Rocker again, he singled to center & advanced on Todd Pratt's RBI sac fly. Mora then stole third base but was stranded there. The Mets lost the game & the series in extra innings.

Overall, Mora played in all six games batting .429 (6-14) with a HR three runs scored two stolen bases & two RBIs, posting a .500 on base %. Bobby Valentines faith in Mora paid off.

2000 NL Pennant Season: In 2000 he began to develop into a solid player, as Bobby Valentine would use him all around the field. 

In the second game of the season, at the series opener in Japan he came into the game as a defensive outfield replacement in the 5-1 Mets win. On April 8th, he had a three-hit game in a ten-inning loss to the Dodgers.

Walk off HR: On April 20th, he came into a tied game with Milwaukee in the top of the 10th inning as a defensive replacement. In the bottom of the inning, he hit a walk off HR against Curt Leskanic, to beat the Brewers 5-4. With the win the Mets swept the series from the Brew Crew. 

On April 30th, he hit a three run HR off the Rockies Brian Bohanon in a crazy 14-11 win at Coors Field. In the game the teams combined for 35 hits.

In June, Met starting short stop Rey Ordonez went down for the year with an injury. Mora filled in at short stop until the end of July.

Beginning on June 21st, he had an eight-game hit streak, with 15 hits, five doubles, three HRs & eight RBIs on the week on big Shea Home stand where the Mets won seven straight. 

On June 22nd, he hit a solo HR off the Phillies Chris Politte in a 5-4 Mets win. The next day he drove in three runs hitting a double with a bases loaded in a 12-2 Mets win over the Pirates. Mora then hit HRs in back-to-back games both resulting in Mets wins. He ended his hit streak with a multi-hit game getting him to the .300 mark.

On July 14th in Boston, Mora hit a big three run HR off the Red Sox- Pete Schourek at Fenway Park helping the Mets to a 6-4 win while avoiding a sweep.

Mora batted .260 with 6 HRs 13 doubles 30 RBIs and seven stolen bases through July 27th, but the Mets wanted a better defensive glove and a more experienced player for the pennant stretch. 

Mora was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for veteran Mike Bordick who would finish out the year in New York, play in the post season, then resign with the Orioles for 2001.

Post Mets Career: Mora went to Baltimore and hit over .290 the rest of the season with 2 HRs & 17 RBIs. Mora played mostly outfield over the next three seasons, but his versatility still made him valuable as a backup infielder.

He eventually developed into a fine hitter, making two All Star teams (2003 & 2005) and hitting over .300 two straight seasons. In 2002 he had a 
23-game hit streak one of the longest in the majors that year.

In 2004 he became the O’s main third baseman & had one of his best seasons. He was runner up for the batting crown, batting .340 & led the AL in on base percentage (.419). 

He scored a career high 111 runs (6th in the AL) with 41 doubles while hitting 27 HRs with 104 RBIs & a .981 OPS. That year the Orioles finished third under manager Lee Mazzilli.

The next year was solid, but his average fell 57 points to .283, although he still hit 27 HRs with 30

doubles 88 RBIs, a .348 on base % & .821 OPS. 

In 2007 he signed a three-year deal with the Orioles with a no trade clause because he did not want to uproot his family’s home. His production slowly tapered off but had a resurgence in 2008 when he matched his career high 104 RBIs. That year he also hit 23 HRs with 29 doubles & batted .285 his best numbers in three seasons.

Trivia: Mora is second All Time on the Orioles list of games played at third base behind Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson. In a special 2009 ceremony, Brooks Robinson himself presented him with third base. 

After an off year in 2009 he was granted free agency & signed a one-year deal with the Colorado Rockies.  

In 2010 he batted .285 with 7 HRs 45 RBIs in the Rocky Mountains. 

At the end of the year, he signed a contract with the Arizona D-Backs and was in the 2011 Opening Day lineup going hitless, scoring a run. His playing time got less & less with the emergence of Ryan Roberts. Mora batted .228 with 16 RBIs through June 29th when he was released. That December he announced his retirement.

Career Stats: In his 13-year career Mora batted .277 with 1503 hits 283 doubles 19 triples 171 HRs 75 RBIs & 93 stolen bases. He struck out 953 times & walked 520 times with a .350 on base % & .781 OPS.

Mora played 908 games as a third baseman posting a .961 fielding %.

He also played 348 games in the outfield, 194 games at short stop, 48 games at second base & 27 games at first base.

Family: Melvin & his wife Gisel have six children. In 2002 Gisel gave birth to quintuplets.

Mora became a US citizen in 2017.


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