Todd Pratt: 2000 N.L. Champion Mets Back Up Catcher (1997 - 2001)

Todd Alan Pratt was born on February 9, 1967, in Bellevue, Nebraska. The six foot three 195-pound catcher attended high school in Chula Vista, California getting drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the sixth round of the 1985 draft. 

He played seven seasons in the minor leagues, never hitting well until he was traded to the Phillies organization. In 1992 he batted .327 overall in their minor leagues at the AA & AAA levels. 

In 1992 he got a late July call up & would hit his first MLB HR in his third career game. He would also have a four RBI game on August 29th.

Pratt would play three seasons in Philadelphia, mostly in a backup catcher role to Darren Daulton. He was a member of the 1993 NL Champion Phillies batting .287 with 5 HRs & 13 RBIs in 33 games played. He got one post season at bat in the NLCS win over the Braves. The Phillies lost the World Serie to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993.

In the 1994 strike shortened season, he hit just .196 in 28 games then signed as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs. He played one season there, in just 25 games. Pratt signed with the Seattle Mariners but was released at the end of Spring Training. 

Out of Baseball: Pratt had no takers & found himself out of baseball. In 1996 he worked at Bucky Dent's Baseball Academy in Delray Beach Florida. 

Mets Career: In 1997 Pratt caught a big break when he was signed by the New York Mets. 

He was sent right up to AAA Norfolk where he became the team's regular catcher, there he batted .300 with 9 HRs in 59 games getting called up to the Mets that summer. 

HR In Mets Debut: On July 4th, Pratt debuted as a Met at Shea Stadium in a 6-2 win over the Florida Marlins. In the 2nd inning, in his first Mets at bat, he hit a two run HR off future Al Leiter. He & Leiter would be battery mates the next season. Pratt got three hits that day, driving in another run while helping Rick Reed to a 6-2 victory. 

Four games later he hit his second HR, as Todd would drive in runs in five of his first six games with the Mets earning a spot as a backup catcher to Todd Hundley. On July 17th he collected a pair of RBI singles vs. the Cubs where Butch Huskey's walk off hit won it 4-3. 

On August 7th, he had a two hit three RBI Day in a 12-4 win over the Colorado Rockies at Shea Stadium. Later that month he added another multi-RBI game in a 13-6 win in Baltimore. 

In 39 games played (106 at bats) Pratt put up a solid .283 average with 2 HRs 6 doubles 19 RBIs a .372 on base % & .768 OPS for the ’97 Mets. In 36 games behind the plate, he threw out 48% of runners trying to steal. The Mets finished 88-74 in Bobby Valentine's first full year as manager, their best finish in seven seasons.

1998: Pratt had a lot of competition at the catcher position with guys like Alberto Castillo, Jorge Fabregas & Tim Spehr all behind the plate at some time or another during the year as Todd Hundley was out with injury most of the year.

Pratt was brought up on May 5th & in his first game back he hit a three run HR off Arizona's
Scott Brow helping New York to a 9-1 win over the 
Diamondbacks. The next day he drove in three more runs with an 8th inning bases clearing triple in another Mets 8-2 victory. Six RBIs in his first two games of 1998.

That summer the Mets acquired Mike Piazza & Pratt was left at AAA Norfolk using Castillo as the backup catcher. Pratt didn't know where his future stood with the Mets. But he hit well again at Norfolk & Castillo never did, eventually Pratt settled into a backup role behind Piazza where he'd play steadily into 2001.

On July 2nd he hit a three-run, 5th inning HR off the Blue Jays Pat Hentgen in an 8-1-win in Toronto. On August 4th with the Mets down 4-0 to the Giants, Pratt started a 6th inning rally with a two-run single then scored the tying run in the eventual 7-6 Mets win. 

Overall Pratt only caught 16 games that season but was also used at first base (three games) as well as in a pinch hitter role, overall appearing in 41 games. 

He hit .275 with 2 HRs 9 doubles & 18 RBIs with an 818 OPS in 69 at bats. He was far better than any of the other back up catchers. 

Defensively Pratt had thrown out 44% of the base runners attempting to steal on him & made just two errors. The Mets won 88 games again & missed a wild card spot losing their last game of the season, but things looked bright for the future. 

1999 Mets Wild Card Season: Pratt saw action right away in the first month, playing in 17 games. He hit three HRs that month including in back-to-back games at Cincinnati on April 21st & 22nd. He drove in runs in four straight games in the first week of the season & that week as well.

He hit .333 (17-51) in April but slumped in May to 1.58. Over June & July he improved batting .315 in that time.
On July 1st, he had a three-hit day in Florida driving in three runs in a 12-8 win over the Marlins.

The Mets tied for a wild card spot with the Cincinnati Reds & beat them in a one game playoff in Cincinnati.

When Todd got a chance to play in the backup role he contributed batting his Mets career best .293, with 3 HRs 4 doubles & 21 doubles. He drew 15 walks posting a real good .369 on base % & .754 OPS. 

Defensively he posted a fantastic .996 fielding % throwing out 27% if w
ould be base stealers. 

1999 NLDS: Pratt saw his finest career moments in the Mets 1999 Post Season. In the NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he came to bat as a pinch hitter in the Mets Game #2 loss at Arizona, popping up to end the game.

He got the start behind the plate in the next two games played at Shea Stadium, for a hurting Mike Piazza. Pratt went 0-2 with two walks in the Mets 9-2 Game #3 victory.

 Walk Off HR: In Game #4 Pratt was 0-4 as he came to bat against Arizona’s Matt Mantei with one out, no one on in a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the 10th inning. 

Pratt drilled a long fly ball to the centerfield wall, Arizona outfielder Steve Finley jumped up reaching over the fence to retrieve the ball. There was a brief moment of uncertainty until it was realized that he but could not come up with the ball & the umpire ruled it a HR.
 
Todd Pratt filling in for the Hall of Famer Mike Piazza was the hero with a walk off post season HR, advancing the Mets to their first NLCS in 13 years. 

The HR ranks as one of the top moments in Mets history, and one of their most memorable game
winners.

1999 NLCS: In the Mets Game #1 loss, Pratt had a 9th inning pinch hit RBI single off public enemy #1: John Rocker. In Game #3 he came to bat against Rocker again as a pinch hitter striking out in the 9th inning.

In the now classic Game #5, Pratt came in as a defensive replacement to Mike Piazza behind the plate in the top of the 14th inning. The Braves broke the 2-2 tie leading 3-2 in the 15th.

Pratt came to bat with the bases loaded & one out facing Kevin McGlinchy. He drew a walk to tie the game back up at three.

Up came Robin Ventura with Todd Pratt right in the middle of another classic Mets post season moment. Ventura blasted his famous walk off grand slam single in to give the Mets life in the series in which they were down three games to none.
 
Trivia: Pratt was also the reason why Ventura's hit only counted a single, due to the fact that instead of rounding the bases, he ran over picking up Ventura erasing the possibility of the hit being ruled a HR. The winning run had already scored so no damage was done in the outcome of the game. 

In Game #6 at Turner Field, Pratt came to bat in the top of the 10th inning with the score tied 8-8, once again facing John Rocker.  With two on & one out, Pratt drove in the go ahead run with a sacrifice fly scoring Benny Agbayani. But Armando Benitez could not hold the lead & The Mets lost the game & the series in the bottom of the 11th inning when Kenny Rogers walked in the winning run. 

Overall, in the Post Season Pratt went 2-10 (.200) with a HR & 4 RBIs playing in seven games.

2000 NL Pennant Season: Pratt returned with another solid back up year at catcher to Mike Piazza. He got off to his usual hot start hitting a three run HR off the Padres Dan Serafini in his first game although they took an 8-5 loss to the Padres. 

On April 30th he hit his second HR, coming at Coors Field in the Mets 14-11 win over the Rockies. He finished off a fine April batting .367. 

He missed two weeks of action in May but when he returned, he got hot, hitting HRs in three straight games.

Grand Slam: On May 30th, in a wild game in Los Angles, Pratt came to bat with the bases loaded in the top of the 9th inning. They entered the inning down by a run but were now ahead 6-5. Pratt delivered his first career grand slam, coming off reliever Terry Adams, as the Mets went on to a 10-5 win.

At the start of June, he hit another HR giving him four HRs over his last five games. Pratt would keep his average up over .300 through the middle of the month. On September 28th he had one last big regular season day with three hits & three RBIs in an 8-2 win over Montreal.

In the Mets pennant season, Pratt saw action behind the plate during interleague play as Piazza would often DH & when Piazza spent time on the DL during the summer. 

Behind the plate he was solid, making only one error in 71 games (.997 fielding %) throwing out 40% of would-be base stealers. At the plate he hit a career high 8 HRs in 80 games, while batting .275 with six doubles & 25 RBIs. 

2000 Post Season- NLDS: In Game #3 of the NLDS, Pratt came in to pinch hit in the bottom of the 11th inning fling out to center field. He stayed in the game, that ended on Benny Agbayani's walk off HR.

He did not appear in the NLCS win over the Cardinals. 

2000 World Series: Pratt got the start behind the plate in Game #1, as Piazza took the DH role. Pratt went 0-2 with a 7th inning walk. to load the bases. After the Mets scored two runs tie the game, he came around to score the go-ahead run-on Edgardo Alfonzo's weak grounder to third base. 

As history would have it Armando Benitz blew the lead in the 9th & the Mets lost it in the bottom of the 12th.

In Game #2 at the AL Park, Lenny Harris got the DH spot & Piazza was at catcher. Pratt would not play again in the series.

In the 2000 post season he went 0-3 with a walk & a run scored, appearing in just two games. 

After the Pennant: In 2001 he began the year with the Mets but struggled, batting just .163 through late July. Long time Mets minor leaguer Vance Wilson took over the backup catching role & Pratt's time was nearing its end. He hit a HR against the Phillies on July 20th, driving in the only Met run in a 10-1 loss. 

It would be Pratt's last game as a Met, on July 23rd he was traded to the Phillies in exchange for
catcher Gary Bennett who would play only one game as with the Mets. 

Mets Career Stats: In his five years with the Mets Pratt batted .265 with 147 hits 30 doubles 17 HRs & 87 RBIs. He struck out 151 times, walked 67 times with a .354 on base % & a .769 OPS. Behind the plate he caught 206 Mets games (18th on the all-time list) while playing in 276 games.

Post Mets Career: Pratt spent parts of the next five seasons back in Philadelphia, primarily as Mike Lieberthal's backup. In 2002 Pratt hit a career high .311 with 11 doubles 3 HRs & 16 RBIs while playing in 39 games, 34 behind the plate. 

In 2003 he drove in 20 runs & batted .272 in 43 games played, 35 at catcher & six at first base. In 2005 he hit 7 HRs with 23 RBIs batting .251. The Phillies finished third twice & in second place twice in his time there.

For 2006 he signed with the Atlanta Braves in what would be his last year as a player. In 62 games he batted .207 playing behind Brian McCann. He was given a spring training invitation by the AL New York team but did not make the cut.


Career Stats: In his 14-year playing career Pratt played in 662 games batting 251 with 404 hits 49 HRs 84 doubles 3 triples & 224 RBIs. He drew 208 walks struck out 454 times with a .344 on base % & a 741 OPS. Defensively he posted a .993 fielding %, throwing out 27% of base runners in 553 games behind the plate. 

Retirement: After his retirement he was named in the Mitchell Report as a user of performance enhancing drugs. Pratt coached at the West Georgia Technical College for five years.

Coach: In 2018 he managed the Class A-Greensboro Grasshoppers, then in 2019 he was named manager of the Jupiter Hammerheads both Miami Marlin affiliates.

Family: Pratt & his wife Tracy have four children & reside in Douglasville, Georgia.

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