Jan 15, 2021

Jay Payton: 2000 N.L. Champion Mets Center Fielder (1998-2002)

Jason Lee Payton was born on November 22, 1972 in Zanesville, Ohio. The five foot right hand hitting outfielder was a star player in high school at Ohio.

He attended Georgia Tech. University where he was teammates with future Red Sox players; Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek.

Payton was rated as an outfielder with a strong arm & good speed, In 1994 he was drafted by the New York Mets in the first round (the 29th pick overall).

In 1995 he hit .345 at AA Binghamton, getting promoted to AAA Norfolk by the mid season. In 1996 he played with the Gulf Port Mets, St Lucie Mets, Binghamton Mets & the Norfolk Tides batting .307 overall.

He missed all of the 2007 season due to injuries. In 1998 he went from St. Lucie to AAA Norfolk batting .261 & getting a September call up to the Mets. Payton debuted on September 1st 1998, coming the game to replace Tony Phillips in left field. Payton got two hits in his first two official at bats. That month he was impressive, batting .318 (7-22) with a walk & a double.

In 1999 he was at A ball St. Lucie for seven games before getting promoted to AAA Norfolk. There he hit .389 with 8 HRs in 38 games. He had another September call up appearing often as a pinch hitter, batting 250 but not making the post season roster.  

In 2000 Payton took over the vacated center field job, with Brian McRae, Rickey Henderson & Rodger Cedeno all gone. Payton was a rookie with a lot of expectations on him as well as the team. The New York fans would always want more from him, but looking back Payton had a pretty good rookie year.

On Opening Day, he was in the lineup batting in the second position & playing left field as the season opened up in Japan in a game with the Mets & the Chicago Cubs.

On April 8th he hit his first career HR & then hit another in his next game four games later. He found himself batting just .213 at the end of May as he only drove in three runs all month.

Then he had a hot June, hitting safely in 20 of 23 games, raising his average over .300. He had a 12 game streak during the month reaching base in 17 straight games. In the first ten games of the month he hit four HRs, including an 8th inning shot breaking a 6-6 tie against the Baltimore Orioles on June 8th.
That day he drove in three runs in the Mets 8-7 victory.

In the month he hit six HRs & drove in 16 runs raising his average over the .300 mark. In July he had a ten game hit streak and then had his first four hit day in the midst of a six game hit streak in early August. On September 13th he hit a walk off three run HR in the 10th inning, off Milwaukee’s Juan Acevedo for the game winner. In mid September he hit HRs in back to back games with three RBIs in each.

On September 13th his three RBIs lead the Mets to a 4-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Shea Stadium. On September 29th he hit his first grand slam, it came off Montreal's Mike Thurman leading the Mets to an 11-2 win over the Expos.

  In the Mets 2000 NL Championship season, Payton came in third in the Rookie of the Year voting. He hit .291 with a .331 on base %, hitting 17 HRs 23 doubles & 62 RBIs in 149 games. In the outfield he made seven assists with a .981 fielding %.  

2000 Post Season: In Game #2 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, the Mets entered the top of the 9th inning with a 4-1 lead. But Armondo Benitez blew the lead, serving up a three run HR to J.T. Snow sending the game to extra innings.

In the top of the 10th, pinch hitter Daryl Hamilton doubled to center field. Payton then singled scoring Hamilton with what would be the games winning run. In the NLDS he went 3-18 (.176) with two RBIs.  

2000 NLCS: In the Game #1 of the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, Payton hit a two run HR in the 9th inning in the Mets 6-2 win at Busch Stadium. In Game #2 Payton was the Mets hero, as he singled to center in the top of the 9th inning. The ball rolled off Jim Edmonds glove, allowing Joe McEwing to score, after he had entered the game as a pinch runner. Payton had his second 2000 post season game winning hit.

He would only get one more hit the rest of the way, batting .158 overall.

drama: In Game #5, he was in the middle of some big drama as Cardinal Pitcher Dave Veres hit him with a fastball near his left eye.

The pitch knocked him down to the ground, but he shot back up immediately & charged the mound. Both benches cleared. Payton was restrained by manager Bobby Valentine & Benny Agbayani, as order was soon restored.

The Shea Stadium crowd (in which centerfieldmaz was in attendance) went even wilder then they had been. With the Mets already ahead 7-0 and only three outs away from the World Series, Shea was a madhouse.

John Franco played peacemaker trying to calm the Shea Faithful down. They answered by singing “Na na na na, Say hey hey goodbye” & booing the Cardinals off the field.  

2000 World Series: In the 2000 Subway World Series Payton did well, hitting .333 (7-21). He hit safely in all five games, including having two hits in each of the last two games.

In Game #1 he singled & scored a run in the Mets three run 7th inning, on Bubba Trammels two run double. In Game #2 he hit a three run HR in the 9th inning off Mariano Rivera, bringing the Mets within one run of their eventual 6-5 loss.

In Game #5 he singled in the second inning & then scored when Al Leiter reached on an error. After a successful rookie campaign, even more was expected from Payton the next year.

2001: It took him until April 30th to hit his first HR, as he drove in just nine runs in the month. He then battled injuries & missed over six weeks of action returning in late June. Upon his return he hit just one HR through all of July as his average fell to .246.

The rest of the season was not too much more productive for him nor the Mets, who finished in third place. On the year he played in 104 games, abtting .255 with just 8 HRs 16 doubles & 34 RBIs. As the team struggled, the fans let everyone who was not producing have it, the boo birds got to Payton.  

In 2002 he had already matched his previous years totals after just 84 games. He was batting .284 with 8 HRs & 31 RBIs at the end of July, but the organization had given up on him.

He was traded to the Colorado Rockies for John Thomson & Mark Little. He would have his best season in the thin air of Colorado in 2003 batting .302 with career highs in HRs (28) doubles (32) hits (181) & RBIs (89).

The next year he signed with the San Diego Padres and found the Southern California air wasn’t as friendly to his hitting. He batted .260 with just 8 HRs & 55 RBIs in 143 games. Defensively he led all NL centerfielders with 11 assists.

 In 2005 he was traded to the Boston Red Sox, then the Oakland A’s mid way through the season for Chad Bradford. That season Payton led all AL centerfielders in fielding, hitting 13 HRs with 42 RBIs in just 69 games after arriving in Oakland.

In 2006 he hit .296 with 10 HRs getting to another post season with the A’s. In the ALCS he batted .286 with a HR against the Detroit Tigers in a losing effort.

Payton spent the next two seasons in Baltimore with the Orioles where his average fell to .256 in 131 games, with 7 HRs & 58 RBIs for the 2007 season.  

In March of 2009 he injured his shoulder while lifting weights causing him to miss the entire year. In 2010 he signed with the Rockies again, getting into just 20 games at the big league level batting .343, but was released at the end of the year.  

In his 12 year career, he batted .279 with 1157 hits 119 HRs 193 doubles 522 RBIs 30 triples & a .323 on base %. As an outfielder he posted a .987 fielding % in 1185 games.

Rich Chiles: Short Time 1973 N.L. Champion Mets Outfielder (1973)

Richard Francis Chiles was born November 22, 1949 in Sacramento California. 

Chiles is a relative of former New York Giants Hall of Famer, George "High Pockets" Kelly who played from 1915 -1932.

The blonde haired, blue eyed outfielder was drafted by the Houston Astros in the second round of the 1968 draft.

The five foot eleven outfielder was promoted to AAA Oklahoma City by 1969. In 1970 he batted .304 there with 24 doubles & 11 triples.

Chiles made his MLB debut at Wrigley Field in Chicago on April 15th, 1971 going 0-1 for the Astros as a pinch hitter. He was hitting well at the end of July, batting .343 when he started to see more playing time. 

In August he got to play in twenty games and drove in eight runs, but his average fell to .245 by the end of the month. He saw more action as a pinch hitter, where he set an Astros team record with 11 pinch hits. 

On the season he played in 67 games batting .227 with two HRs five doubles & 15 RBIs. He was back in the minors at AAA Oklahoma City in 1972 batting .263 with 7 HRs & 44 RBIs getting a September call up for nine more games.

In November 1972 he was traded to the New York Mets, along with Buddy Harris in exchange for 1969 World Series hero Tommie Agee. 

Chiles came out of Spring Training 1973 hopeful to get a chance as the Mets starting centerfielder behind the aging Willie Mays. But he was also fighting against Cleon Jones, Rusty Staub, Ed Kranepool, Don Hahn, George The Stork Theodore, & youngster Dave Schneck. 

Chiles made his Mets debut in the third game of the season, batting in the seventh position playing centerfield going 0-4.

He played in centerfield for eight brief games that April. His biggest day came at Shea Stadium on April 22nd in the second game of a double header, in a 13-3 Mets romp over the Montreal Expos. Chiles was 2-5 with an RBI double off former Mets prospect Steve Renko, scoring Ed Kranepool. 

Chiles would play only one more game for the Mets, it was in Houston on that same road trip. He was then sent down to the minors to play in the Pacific Coast League. With the Mets he hit only .120 (3-25) & was released in April of the next year.

Post Mets Career: He would play briefly for the Astros again in 1976, before getting drafted away as Rule V player in December. He then spent two seasons in Minnesota with the Twins batting .264 with 3 HRs & 26 RBIs playing in a career high 108 games. 

In 1978 he batted .268 as the Twins fourth outfielder behind Dan Ford, Glenn Adams & Hosken Powell. Chiles then played in the AAA Pacific Coast League through 1980.

In a six year career he hit .254 lifetime with 157 hits 6 HRs 37 doubles 2 triples & 76 RBIs in 284 career games.

Retirement: Chiles was a coach for the University of California, Davis in 1988. He then became a hitting coach for the A ball Carolina Mudcats in the early 90's. 

He later opened a hitting clinic in Woodland, California. As a youth, future Red Sox player, Dustin Pedroia would practice hitting at his facility. Most recently he lived in Yolo County, California.

Former New York Giants Four Time Pennant Winning Hall of Famer: High Pockets Kelly (1915-1927)

George Lange Kelly known as High Pockets Kelly was born on September 10, 1895 in San Francisco, California. The six foot four, athlete, was born into a baseball family, his Uncle, Bill Lange, was one of the best all around pro ball players in the 1890's. His brother would play many years of pro ball in the west coast & pitch in one MLB game.

He grew up a fan of the local, San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League. He was such a good ball player he dropped out of school to play professionally. He started out in organized ball in 1914.

He was called up to the New York Giants in 1915 at the age of 19.  He played for the Giants for eleven years, with the exception of missing the 1918 season. Kelly’s career didn’t take off until 1920 when he became an everyday player. 

That year he played in ever Giants game & led the N.L. in RBIs (94). He hit .266 with 11 HRs 11 triples & 22 doubles. High Pockets, became Giants manager John McGraw’s main first baseman from 1920 through the 1926 season.

In 1921 he led the league in HRs (23) and drove in 122 runs (2nd in the NL). He would go on to drive in over 100 runs the next four seasons coming in the league’s top four in that category each time. In his career, High Pockets Kelly hit over 40 doubles twice & over 30 doubles six times. Kelly would bat over .300 each year from 1921 through 1926, batting a career high .328 in 1922.

That year he hit 17 HRs with 107 RBIs 33 doubles 12 stolen bases & a .367 on base %. 

Star Defensive First Baseman:
More importantly Kelly was one of the best defensive first baseman in the early part of the 20th century. His positioning & footwork became the standard for first baseman, in handling relay throws from the outfield as well.

The Hall of Famer, Frankie Frisch "the Fordham Flash" claimed Kelly was the best first baseman he had ever seen. Defensively, Kelly led the league in put outs & assists three times, and fielding percentage twice (1926 & 1930). He would be among the top three first baseman in fielding eight times. 

In 1924 he once again led the league in RBIs (124) while batting .324 with 21 HRs (4th in the NL) 37 doubles (3rd in the NL), nine triples & a career high .371 on base % (7th in the NL). That year he set a record (since tied) where he hit seven HRs in six straight games. He came in 6th in the league's MVP voting. 

In 1925 he played at second base when Giants star, Frankie Frisch got injured. During this time his young replacement at first base, Bill Terry entered Giants history. Terry would become a Giants legend & Hall of Famer, as a player & manager. 

That same year,  Kelly came in third in the league's MVP voting with 20 HRs (6th in the NL) 99 RBIs (10th in the NL) & a .309 average. 

World Series: High Pockets Kelly, was part of the New York Giants Dynasty that won four straight pennants & two World Series titles from 1921-1924. 

In those four Series he hit only .248 with one HR two doubles 11 RBIs & five walks.

1921 World Series-The First Subway Series: After going hitless in the first three games of the World Series, he got a hit in game #4, in the first Subway Series.

In Games Five & Six he collected three hits in each game. He drove in the only Giants run in the Game #5 loss. In Game #6, he added the last run of the Giants four run 4th inning rally with a single to right field, scoring Frisch. In the 6th, he drove in another run with a base hit off Bob Shawkey.

In the final World Series Game#8, he reached on an error by the third baseman in the 1st inning. Giants short stop, Dave Bancroft scored on the play. It was the only run of the game, as the Giants won the clincher to earn the Championship title in the first New York subway series. Overall he hit .233 with 4 RBIs.

1922 World Series: In Game #5 of the 1922 World Series, with the Giants down 3-2 in the 8th inning, Kelly hit a two run single, putting the Giants 4-3. The run proved to be the game winner, as the Giants won the World Series in five games, for their second straight Championship over the AL New York club. 

1923 World Series: The Giants lost the 1923 series with Kelly batting .182, driving in a run.

1924 World Series:
In Game #1 of the 1924 Series he led off the game with a HR. He then broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the 2nd inning, with a sac fly which proved to be the winning run. 

Quotes- Manager John McGraw: "Kelly made more key hits for me than any other player." 

That Series he hit .290 with a HR & 4 RBIs.

In 1927 with John McGraw wanting to improve his outfield, High Pockets got traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Edd Roush. Kelly spent four seasons there batting over .290 twice driving in 100 runs for the last time in his career (1929). In 1930 he played with the Chicago Cubs & then after two seasons not playing in the majors he had a brief 64 game stint in Brooklyn with the Dodgers.

After a 16 year career he ended with a .297 batting average, 1778 hits 148 HRs 337 doubles 76
triples 65 stolen bases 1020 RBIs & a .342 on base %. Kelly did make 121 errors at first base (84th all time) but made 14232 put outs (50th all time) with 861 assists (68th all time) posting a .989 fielding %.

Hall of Fame: In 1973 he was finally elected into the baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown by the Veterans Committee, which included his former team mate Frankie Frisch. For years many believed he was one of the worst players elected into Cooperstown, due to his lifetime stats. 

Passing: Kelly passed away in 1984 at Burlingame, California at the age 89.

He is the brother of Ren Kelly who played one game for the 1923 Philadelphia A’s & a distant cousin of former 1973 New York Met Rich Chiles, who played in just 8 Mets games.

Jan 14, 2021

Edgardo Alfonzo: 2000 NL Champion Mets Second Baseman (1995-2002)

Edgardo Antonio Alfonzo was born November 8, 1973 in Santa Teresa, Miranda Venezuela.

The five foot eleven, right handed hitting infielder was signed by the New York Mets as an undrafted free agent in 1991 at age 17.

In his first two seasons at low level A ball he hit over .330, moving to St. Lucie in 1993 where he hit .294 with 84 RBIs. By 1994 he was leading the AA Binghamton Mets in HRs (15) & RBIs (75) batting .293.

He made the 1995 Mets squad and debuted that April on opening day as pinch hitter going 0-1. He proved a versatile infielder, and worked his way into the line up getting into over 100 games, playing mostly third base but also filling in at short & second when needed.

He struggled in the first half batting .254 but hit well over .300 the second half of the season to finish up his rookie year batting .278 with 93 hits 4 HRs 13 doubles & 41 RBIs. 

Over the next seven years he secured himself as a regular in the Mets infield never making more than 12 errors in a season, while posting some of the league’s best fielding percentages. He was the Mets main third baseman from 1996-1998.

In 1996 he batted a modest .261 hitting 4 HRs 15 doubles & 41 RBIs in 368 at bats (123 games). As he learned the leagues pitchers & how to play the game better he was to become one of the team's best hitters in the next few years.

In 1997 he began to hit well in May, getting his average up to .300 at one point. In late June he went on an 18 game hitting streak which raised his average up to .332. 

He started to drive in runs & prove he was a solid player who could produce. On July 6th he doubled in the 7th inning in a game against the Florida Marlins tying it up 2-2. The Mets went on to win it in the bottom of the 9th on a Carl Everett walk off hit.

On August 5th his 10th inning sac fly scored the winning run for the Mets against the St. Louis Cardinals. On August 25th he had a huge four hit day driving in five runs against the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium. Overall he drove in 22 runs on the month & was batting .335 with a .410 on base %.

Then a modest September had him finish the year hitting .315 (8th in the league) best on the Mets club. He was second to John Olerud with a .391 on base %, hitting 10 HRs with 27 doubles, 84 runs scored & 72 RBIs.

In 1998 he hit for more power as his batting average dropped off. In June he drove in seven runs at Florida on road trip series against the Marlins. In the stretch of June 11th through the 21st he drove in 11 runs, collecting 15 hits. On July 1st he hit a pair of HRs in Toronto in a wild 15-10 Mets loss at Skydome. 

On July 21st he drove in a pair of runs in a game at Shea Stadium against the Pittsburgh Pirates, then the next day drove in two runs in each game f a double header in Milwaukee.

In August he raised his average twenty points getting hot, while driving in ten runs in the first two weeks of the month. On August 1st his 9th inning double off Jeff Shaw gave the Mets a walk off win against the LA Dodgers.

On the season he batted .278 with 17 HRs 28 doubles & 78 RBIs posting a .355 on base %. At third base his .976 fielding % & 117 put outs were second in the NL.

1999 Mets Infield
He had the best seasons of his career in 1999 & 2000, helping the Mets reach the post season both times. In 1999 he moved over to play second base when the Mets acquired Robin Ventura for the third base position.

At first he was upset at the switch, but settled in to have the best fielding percentage of all NL second baseman .993%. 

The 1999 Mets infield was dubbed “the best ever’ by Sports Illustrated and Fonzie secured his spot by only committing five errors in over 400 chances in 158 games.

Right out of the gate he got two hits on Opening day in Florida & hit safely in nine of his first ten games, five of those games were multi hit games. On April 10th he tied the game up with an 8th inning base hit off the Expos Steve Kline. The Mets went on to win it in the top of the 11th with a Todd Pratt single.

In May he hit in all but seven games raising his average near the .300 mark. On May 7th he had three hits with a HR, while driving in three runs at Arizona in a 14-7 Mets loss to the Diamondbacks. 

On May 12th he hit a long HR in Colorado driving in four runs in the Mets 10-5 victory. He drove in five runs over the next two games in Philadelphia giving him a total of ten RBIs over a four game span.

In month of June he drove in 22 runs overall, including a seven game stretch where he drove in at least one run in each game. In a stretch of 16 games he drove in runs in 13 games. 

On July 4th with the Mets behind the Atlanta Braves 6-4, Alfonzo hit a three run HR off John Smoltz in the bottom of the 7th inning, leading New York to a 7-6 win.

In a mid July road trip Alfonzo drove in nine runs, gathering an RBI in all but one game, as the Mets went 6-2 in those games. In the first two weeks of August (through the 16th) he drove in 17 runs & had six multi hit games.

On August 11th he hit a HR & drove in five runs against the San Diego Padres in the Mets 12-5 win. Four days later he hit another HR & drove in four more runs in the second game of a double header at San Francisco. The next day he hit a game winning HR in the top of the 10th inning off San Diego's Will Cunnane.

On August 30th he had a tremendous day in Houston, hitting three HRs driving in five runs in the Mets 17-1 romp over the Astros. The first was in the 1st inning off Sean Reynolds, the second was a two run shot in the 4th inning off Brian Williams & the third a solo shot off Sean Bergman in the 6th.

In September he didn’t hit as well but was a key contributor to the Mets Wild Card finish as he drove in 14 runs & scored 16 runs.

He finished the year posting career highs with 27 HRs, 108 RBIs, & a team leading 41 doubles. Alfonzo also set a Mets record scoring 123 runs, (3rd best in the NL). 

He won the Silver Slugger Award while also leading the team in hits (1532) total bases (315) & sac flies (9). He batted .304, made the All Star team & came in eighth in the MVP voting.

Post Season: The Mets tied the Cincinnati Reds forcing a one game playoff to determine the wild card winner that season.

Fonzie led the way hitting a first inning two run HR off Reds pitcher Steve Parris setting the tone. Al Leiter pitched a two hit shutout, leading the Mets to a 5-0 win and a their first playoff berth since 1988.

1999 NLDS: The next night in the 1999 NLDS Alfonzo was the hero of Game #1 in Arizona against the Diamond Back’s. 

Fonzie hit two HRs including a grand slam in the top of the 9th inning off pitcher Bobby Chouinard, breaking a 4-4 tie, as the Mets went on to win it 8-4. In the fourth & final Game, he hit another HR to lead off the 4th inning off Brian Anderson.

In the bottom of the 8th inning he drew a walk, then advanced to third base on an error. He then scored the game tying run when Roger Cedeno hit a sac fly. 

The Mets went on to win it with Todd Pratts classic walk off HR in the 10th. Overall in the series Fonzie had thee HRs & six RBIs with a .250 batting average scoring six runs.

1999 NLCS: In the 1999 NLCS against the Atlanta Braves he cooled off, batting only .222 although he hit four doubles & drove in one run.

He returned in 2000 to have a good April finishing the month hitting in 12 of 16 games, batting at .348 posting a .479 on base %. He drove in 19 runs that month, including a four RBI day with four hits at Colorado on April 30th.

In May he drove in 23 runs and was batting .355 with a .446 on base % as the month ended. 

On May 10th he drove in three runs in a 13-9 loss to the Pirates. On May 20th he drove in three runs against the Diamondbacks in an 8-7 Mets win & then had another three RBI game in Los Angeles on May 30th in a 10-5 Met win.

In June he hit safely in 15 of 18 games. On June 24th his 8th inning single tied up the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he then scored the game winning run on Todd Zeile's double later in the inning.

In August he started the month in a streak where he hit safely in 10 of 12 games, then finished the month in an 11 of 13 game hit streak. In mid August he drove in three runs in back to back games at Colorado, then went on to a four hit day in Los Angles on the same road trip.

On August 28th he hit a three run HR in Houston leading the Mets to a 4-2 win over the Astros, the only other Mets run came in on a balk. 

In September he was consistent in the Mets wild card chase, hitting seven HRs in the month driving in 15 runs. He drove in thirteen of those runs in the final two weeks of the season.

Overall in the 2000 season he batted a career high .324, with 25 HRs, 94 RBIs, leading the team with 40 doubles, 109 runs scored, 95 walks & a .425 on base percentage (5th in the NL).

His 276 times on base was 10th in the league. He made the All Star team and was one of the best all around second baseman in the game, posting a .985 fielding %.

2000 Post Season: In the NLDS against the Giants, he hit .278 with five RBIs. In Game #2 at San Francisco he hit a big 9th inning HR off Felix Rodriguez putting the Mets ahead 3-1.

In the bottom of the 9th Armando Benitez would blow the lead, giving up a three run HR to J.T. Snow. The Mets went on to win it in the tenth inning after Jay Payton singled home Daryl Hamilton.

In the 8th inning of Game #3, Fonzie doubled down the line off Giants closer Rob Nenn, driving in Lenny Harris to tie the game. Nenn hadn’t blown a save since the All Star break. The Mets went on to win this one with a dramatic walk off Benny Agbayani HR in the bottom of the 13th. Centerfieldmaz was in attendance for this game.

2000 NLCS: In the NLCS he tore up St. Louis Cardinals pitching, batting .444 (8-18) with four walks, four RBIs and five runs scored. He posted a .565 on base percentage scoring and driving in at least one run in all but one of the five games.

In Game #1 he walked in the first inning & scored the second run of the game. In the Mets 5th, he singled home Daryl Hamilton giving the Mets a 3-0 win. They went on to win it 6-3.

In Game #2 his single in the top of the 8th inning scoring Timo Perez to break up a 3-3 tie, in a game the Mets went on to win 6-5.

In Game #4 he drove in the first run of the game with a double in the first inning, the Mets went on to win this one 10-6. In the final Game #5 clincher at Shea Stadium, he drove in the first run of the game again with a single bringing home Timo Perez. Fonzie had two hits in the 7-0 Mike Hampton shut out. 

2000 World Series Hit
2000 World Series: In the 2000 Subway World Series, he put the Mets ahead 3-2 in the 7th inning of Game #1, with an RBI single off Jeff Nelson. But New York could not hold the lead. 

Then he cooled off going hitless in the next two games & getting one hit in Game #5. In the World Series he hit .143 (3-21).

He had a bad year in 2001, missing time with a bad back. 

The back issues would haunt him all year as it affected his hitting batting a career low .243. In April he drove in runs in seven of the last nine games of the month. He hit four HRs in May but was only hitting .250 at the end of the month. 

After missing a week of action returned on June 7th to hit a two run HR & drive in three runs leading New York to a 6-5 win at Philadelphia.

He went on the disabled list from June 13th through July 2nd, returning to have a weak month hitting just one HR. He had a better month in August hitting 5 HRs with 17 RBIs. 

On August 26th he drove in four runs against the San Francisco Giants hitting a three run HR leading the Mets to a 6-5 win. He drove in two more runs the next day & had eight RBIs in a six game stretch.

Post 911: In the first game played after the September 11th attacks on New York City, he went 1-4 in Pittsburgh. In the first game played back in New York where Mike Piazza hit his classic game winning HR, Fonzie also had one hit that memorable night. On September 30th he hit two HRs leading the Mets past the Braves 9-6 in Atlanta.

In 2001 Fonzie hit 17 HRs with 22 doubles, a .322 on base % & drove in 49 runs in 124 games.

In 2002 he was healthy again and started the year with three hits on Opening Day in the Mets 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Shea. On April 15th he hit a walk off RBI single against the Atlanta Braves giving the Shea fans a big thrill beating their arch rivals.

On June 7th he singled breaking a 3-3 tie in the top of the 7th inning off Danny Baez in Cleveland, leading the Mets to a 4-3 interleague victory. The next day he singled with the bases loaded inthe 7th inning, giving the Mets the lead once again. They rallied & went on to win this one 8-6.

Later in the month, he drove in two runs in two separate games against the Minnesota Twins & Kansas City Royals. Both games were won by the Mets by one run. From June 12th through June 20th he hit five HRs & went on to drive in runs in ten straight games.

In August he missed three weeks of action landing on the DL with a strained oblique muscle, but still hit HRs in three games & had three RBI games as well.

He rebounded from the previous season to lead the team in batting in 2002 (.308) walks (62) runs (78) & on base percentage (.391). He hit 16 HRs, with 56 RBIs & 27 doubles while moving back over to third base, as the Mets acquired Roberto Alomar. He made 12 errors in 385 chances there posting a .969 fielding %.

The injuries began to wear him down physically, and at an age where he was expected to be in his prime, he was winding down his career. The Mets chose not to sign him for 2003 and he went west to the San Francisco Giants.

Being the gentleman he was, he bought ad time thanking the fans of New York for their support. The ads were sported on various cabs & bus billboards throughout New York City. He left the Mets among the top of many club records. 

As a Met he collected 1136 hits (5th all time) 614 runs scored (5th all time) 212 doubles (5th all time) 538 RBIs (7th all time) 120 HRs (9th all time) & 1086 games played (9th all time). 

Fonzie also posted a .292 Mets batting average & in two post seasons, he batted .277 with 4 HRs & 18 RBIs.

He played three seasons in San Francisco having two good years but never matching his Mets numbers. In 2003 he batted .258 driving in 81 runs with 25 doubles & 13 HRs.

 In 2004 he hit better for average, batting .289 with 11 HRs with 226 doubles & 77 RBIs. By 2005 he only hit two HRs with 17 doubles & 27 RBIs in 109 games.

He spent 2006 with three teams before going to play in the Independent league with the Long Island Ducks. The Mets gave him a shot early in 2006, signing him to a minor league contract, but he didn’t make the club.

In his 12 year MLB career he hit .284 lifetime, with 1532 hits, 282 doubles 18 triples 146 HRs 744 RBIs 596 walks & a .357 on base %. At third base he played 889 games posting a 968 fielding %. 

In ten seasons at second base he played 549 games posting a .986 fielding % making just 33 errors in 2416 chances.

Retirement: He played for the Long Island Ducks (2007), the Mexican league (2008) Japan with the Yomiuri Giants (2009) & in Newark with the Bears along with Armando Benitez in 2010.

Mike Piazza Mets Hall of Fame Induction 2013
Fonzie must be recognized as one of the best Mets all time top players & was greeted warmly at the closing ceremonies of Shea Stadium in 2008.

All Time Mets List: Alfonzo is 5th in Hits on the Mets All Time list. He is 6th in doubles , 7th in RBIs, 10th in Mets Games Played & HRs. He is 4th in all times Mets games at second base.

Honors: In July 2012 he represented the Mets at the MLB All Star Fan Fest. Later that year he was on hand at Citi Field, supporting Mike Piazza as he was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. 

In 2014 he was bench coach for the Brooklyn Cyclones inder Tom Gamboa. He was considered for the Mets hitting instructor job but did not get the job. 

After Gamboa retired, Alfonzo took over as Cyclones manager as well as serving as a Mets roving coach. In September of 2019 he led the Brooklyn team to a New York Penn. League Championship.

Honors: In 2016 he was on hand with John Franco & Rusty Staub raising the Mets NL Eastern Champion Flag. Alfonzo returned to honor his buddy Mike Piazza that summer when Piazza's #31 was retired by the Mets at Citi Field.

In 2017 his son Daniel Alfonzo was selected by the New York Mets in the 38th round, out of Bayside High School.