June 19, 2007

Santana of Another Kind

With Johan Santana pitching at Shea tonight, Met fans will no doubt be reminded (wink) of another Santana who once roamed the same territory Jose Reyes currently occupies; the enigmatic, Rafael Santana.

Wearing #3 for the Mets, Rafael was a key player on the 1986 World Series Championship team. Known mainly for his slick fielding, Rafael was a mainstay in the #8 spot. Night after night, when Davey Johnson filled out that lineup card, you knew Rafael would be penciled in just ahead of the pitcher. Hitting .218, with one HR (no doubt a torrid blast) and 28 RBI, Santana was intentionally walked 12 times, tying him for 10th that season.

While I don’t have any dramatic memories of Santana doing anything spectacular, ala Lenny, Mookie, Keith or Strawberry, I do recall a shocking excerpt from Jeff Pearlman’s hilariously entertaining book, “The Bad Guys Won!”

In it, Ed Hearn, backup catcher for the ’86 Mets, tells a ‘warm, fuzzy’ story about how a passed out Santana, fully exposed, urinated all over himself and on the back of Hearn’s seat. “Eight out of ten guys would have drilled him,” Hearn said, “I was nice enough to straighten him up in his seat.”

What’s your favorite memory of Rafael Santana? Share them here in the “comments” section.

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