Thursday, May 27, 2010

Remember This Catch From 19 Years Ago? A Current Mets Coach Does

Nineteen years ago today, an outfielder for the Vancouver Canadians of the Pacific Coast League made this catch against the Portland Beavers to permanently etch his name onto the list of phenomenal baseball catches:

The outfielder was Rodney McCray, who later on played for the Mets, collecting one hit in his only at-bat dressed in the orange and blue during the 1992 season.

This catch was replayed ad nauseum on ESPN and other outlets, and deservedly so, as it is amazing that McCray held on to the ball after running through the poorly constructed (and non-padded) outfield wall.

However, have you ever wondered which Portland Beavers batter connected on the long drive that immortalized the hard-headed McCray?

It was none other than current Mets third base coach Chip Hale!

What, you didn't think the only connection this catch had to the Mets was that the player who caught it had one career at-bat for the Mets, did you? If you did, then you must not be a regular Studious Metsimus reader.

Walter William Hale (more commonly known as Chip) was an infielder for Minnesota's Triple-A team in Portland when he became the answer to a trivia question that people still can't answer.

It became the one thing he was known for before becoming the Mets third base coach this year, as he had an uneventful major league career (652 career at-bats, 7 HR, 78 RBI over seven years spent with the Twins and Dodgers).

So now when someone asks you about the Rodney McCray catch, you can shock that person with your baseball knowledge by telling him that the man currently waving in Luis Castillo to limp home from second base on a single is the same man who hit that famous ball in 1991.

You can shock him some more by mentioning that Rodney McCray's teammates on the Canadians included a little weakling named Sammy Sosa, former Mets Danny Heep and John Cangelosi, and current Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu.

Nineteen years have gone by since current Met Chip Hale sent former Met Rodney McCray through a wall. Now he's sending Mets players through opposing catchers. Good to see some things never change.

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