Aug 15, 2020

Rick Reed: 2000 N.L. Champion Mets Pitcher (1997-2001)

Richard Allen Reed was born August 16, 1965 in Huntington, West Virginia. The six foot right hander was drafted out of Marshall University, way down in the 26th round of the 1986 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Reed went 12-4 through all levels of the minors in 1988, getting a brief call up to the Pirates staff.

He made his MLB debut, against the NL Eastern Champion Mets, in Pittsburgh against Bobby Ojeda. In that game, he stunned the mighty Mets hitters, pitching eight shout out innings. He allowed just three hits, to earn his first win. 

 Reed pitched between the minors & the big leagues from 1989 through 1991. That year he was the American Association Pitcher of the Year going 14-4 with a 2.15 ERA.

In 1992 he signed with the Kansas City Royals seeing action in 19 games going 3-7 with a 3.68 ERA striking out 49 batters in 100 innings. The next year he only saw action in three games between Kansas City & the Texas Rangers.

MLB Players Strike: During the MLB baseball strike of 1994, Reed took a job as a replacement player crossing the picket line. 

After the strike in 1995, he wasn’t the most popular guy in the clubhouse when he joined the Cincinnati Reds. He didn’t pitch well and was released after just four games. He signed with the New York Mets in November 1995 and spent 1996 at AAA Norfolk going 8-10 with a 3.16 ERA.

When arriving with the Mets, he talked with Bobby Valentine about a deal pitching in Japan, with some of Valentine's contacts. Valentine pitched him in Spring Training & he impressed, earning himself a spot in the bottom of the rotation.

 He made his Mets debut at Candlestick Park in the fifth game of the 1997 season. He pitched seven shutout innings, but got no decision as the Mets lost to the Giants 2-0. 

After losing his first decision he won three straight starts at the end of April, only allowing three earned runs over 24 innings pitched. From July 4th to August 4th he was 5-0, keep in his ERA under the three mark.

On July 24th in Los Angeles he pitched eight innings of three hit shutout baseball against the Dodgers, earning his eight win. From August 10th through the end of the month, he lost four straight games although he allowed just two earned runs in two of those losses.

In September he closed out the year pitching into the ninth inning, beating the eventual World Champion Florida Marlins 2-1. Throughout the season pitched into the 8th inning or beyond eight times.

Reed would finish the year at 13-9 (second on the staff to Bobby Jones in wins) with a 2.89 ERA (6th best in the NL). He pitched 208 innings with 113 strike outs and only 31 walks. His walks per nine innings ration was second best in the league at 1.339. He also led the team with 33 starts.

In 1998 after a 1-2 start he went undefeated in May going 5-0, pitching seven innings or better each time, allowing just four earned runs in 36 innings. On June 8th, he pitched a three hit shutout against the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays in their first trip to Shea Stadium in an interleague game. 

1998 All Star: By the All Star break he was 9-5 with one of league’s best ERA’s at 2.72. Reed was named to the NL All Star staff, although he did not pitch in the game played at Colorado's Coors Field.

On August 1st, he beat the Los Angeles Dodgers at Shea Stadium, allowing just one run on six hits over eight innings of work. In the month he was 5-1 winning four straight games. His September wasn't as good, going 0-3.

He finished the year winning a career high 16 games (going 16-11) with a 3.48 ERA, striking out a career high 153 batters in 212 innings pitched.

He walked just 29 batters posting the second best walks per nine innings ratio in the league for the second straight year. His weakness was HRs, as he allowed 30 on the year, seventh in the NL.

1999 Mets Wild Card Season: In 1999 Bobby Valentine was now the manager in his first full season. He gave Reed the second start of the year, in Florida against the Marlins. 

Reed allowed just one run over six innings pitched in the Mets 12-3 romp. After a sub way series loss at the start of June, Reed was 33 with a 5.33 ERA & struggling. From there he went on a seven game win streak, not taking another loss until two months later. 

He missed most of August with an injury, going 1-1 in two starts the entire month.

In September, on the next to last day of the regular season, he pitched a three hit shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates to secure the Mets a tie for the Wild Card spot with Reds.

On the season he was 11-5, & although he was fourth on the team in wins he was first in winning percentage (.688%). He struck out 104 batters with 47 walks in 126 innings in 26 games pitched, while posting a 4.58 ERA.

1999 Post Season: NLDS: In the 1999 post season he got the win in Game #3 of the NLDS at Shea Stadium, beating the Arizona Diamond backs. Reed pitched six innings allowing two runs on four hits. The win put New York ahead two games to one in the Series.

1999 NLCS: In the NLCS with the Mets facing elimination down three games to none, he went head to head with Atlanta’s John Smoltz in Game #4. 

Reed pitched seven innings, striking out five Braves leaving the game in a 2-2 tie. He got no decision as the Mets won it 3-2 when John Olerud singled off John Rocker in the 8th inning with the winning run.

2000 NL Pennant Season: In 2000 he once again got the start in the second game of the season, this game was played in Japan against the Chicago Cubs. Reed didn’t allow an earned run in eight innings of work but earned no decision in the Mets 5-1 win.

His April he pitched at least seven innings in four starts, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers & Colorado Rockies to go 3-0 with a 2.21 ERA.

In May he had a ten strike out game against the Colorado Rockies at Shea Stadium although earned no decision in the Mets 4-3 loss . He was 4-2 at the All Star break, with a 4.75 ERA.

Reed missed a couple of weeks of action in early July & upon his return pitched a seven inning, four hit shutout against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. 

The Mets won the game 4-0. At the end of August he went to 9-4 after closing the month out with a three hit seven inning shutout performance against the Houston Astros.

He finished the year strong winning his last two September decisions, closing out the year at 11-5 with a .688 win % (sixth best in the NL) & 4.11 ERA. In 30 games he struck out 121 batters, walked 34 in 184 innings pitched. His walks per nine innings ratio was third best in the league at 1.663.

He allowed 28 HRs & 84 earned runs. That year at the plate he was second in the league with 14 sac hits, as he batted .204 driving in two runs.

2000 Post Season-NLDS: Reed got no decision pitching in Game #3 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants He allowed two runs on seven hits pitching in six innings of work.

2000 NLCS: In the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, he took the only loss the Mets suffered in the series, coming in Game #3. 

He gave up five Cardinal runs getting knocked out in the 4th inning in the loss at Busch Stadium.

2000 World Series: In the 2000 Subway World Series, he pitched well in Game #3 at Shea Stadium, striking out eight batters, allowing just two runs through six innings. 

The Mets won the game 4-2, the only win they had in the series. Reed didn’t earn the decision.

After the Pennant: In 2001, he started out his season with big three hit complete game, one run victory at Atlanta in the third game of the season. The Mets took two of three in the series. After a losing decision, he won four straight games.

On May 4th, he pitched eight innings, allowing two runs in a 4-2 win over the Diamond backs. After the four game win streak, he took  a loss in Colorado & then won three more straight decisions. On May 25th, he struck out a season high nine  batters in a 4-3 win against the Marlins at Shea, earning no decisions. 

On June 5th, he threw another complete game, a four hit shut out getting to 6-2. He then won a game in Baltimore & got no decision in a Mets winning effort in the subway series. 

2001 All Star: Reed was 7-4 with a 3.10 ERA at the All Star break, and the National League's manager, the Mets own, Bobby Valentine picked Reed, for his second All Star Game. Once again he did not pitch in the All Star game, which the AL won 4-1 at Safeco Field, Seattle. 

After the break he earned his last Mets victory, a seven inning performance against the Toronto Blue Jays. On July 26th, he made his last Mets start, taking a 3-2 loss to former Met, Robert Person & the Phillies. At the July trade deadline, Rick Reed was traded to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Matt Lawton. 

Post Mets Career: Reed was devastated by the trade, wanting to end his career in New York. In a 2010 interview, he talked about leaving the Mets after being traded:  "baseball kind of died for us, my wife & I".

All Time Mets Leaders: Reed is 13th on the Mets All Time wins list with 59. Tied for Fifteenth is starts (138) sixteenth in strike outs (590) & seventeenth in innings (882).
He went 4-6 the rest of the way, in his adjustment to the American League. In 2002 he made a remarkable comeback, as he put together another 15 win season going 15-7 with a 3.78 one of the best ERA's of his career.

He got to another post season that year, but took a loss to the Oakland A’s in the ALDS & then another to the eventual World Champion Anaheim Angels in the ALCS.

In 2003 he followed up with his worst season going 6-12 with a 5.07 ERA pitching in 27 games. After the season he retired at age 38. Reed ended his 15 year career going 93-76 with a 4.03 ERA. 

He walked only 285 batters in 1545 innings pitched. He struck out 970 batters, had seven shut outs & 14 complete games pitching 1545 innings in 273 games.

Retirement: In 2005 he became pitching coach at his old college, Marshall University for the Thundering Herd. 

After that he retired, choosing to spend time with his wife & two daughters as a full time dad.

He returned to the Mets in 2010 on a Mets alumni night at Citi Field. He said "New York always had something going on, if you do well here they love you."

In 2019 he donated $1 million to Marshall University's new baseball stadium.

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