John L. Fischer, Contributor:
Ask yourself this question: Why do I watch baseball?
In recent years, those of us who have endured the Mets’ struggles have probably asked similar questions – no doubt, replete with plenty of unprintable words and phrases. If, though, you watch the game to identify with the players, you’ll be happy to know that one of the real “good guys” in Mets’ lore will soon be inducted into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame. Joined by fellow Mets’ great, Rusty Staub, and three others, a true fan favorite will soon get his due.
Want a hint?… Faster than a speeding bullet…more powerful than a locomotive…able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. No? Okay, here’s another one: Has anyone seen the nemesis/tormentor of 300-game winner and surefire Hall of Famer, Randy Johnson?
In his 5-year Mets’ career, “Super Joe” McEwing played in 500 games, appearing at every position — except pitcher and catcher — while batting .240 in 1048 at bats. While stats surely define the game we love, McEwing somehow always succeeded in transcending the numbers.
By the way, McEwing faced Johnson more than any other pitcher in his career. In 46 plate appearances, he picked up 11 hits (five doubles, one home run) and 4 RBI, good for a .250 batting average and .676 OPS. You remember him being a lot better than that against Randy, don’t you?
Blessed with a combination of all the intangibles that fans seem to love, many will always think of McEwing as the ultimate super sub, the wild card in the deck, the guy who fans always rooted a little louder for. It always seemed like he was trying just a little bit harder than everyone else.
Everyone knows a Major League team can’t win with 25 Joe McEwings on the roster. But sometimes it’s fun to root for a guy like him to play a game like this.
After retiring as a player in 2006, McEwing – no surprise to anyone — became a minor league manager. He was named the Single-A Manager of the Year in both 2009 and 2010, for Chicago White Sox affiliate, the Winston Salem Dash. These days, Super Joe serves as 3rd base coach for the big club, reuniting with former Mets’ teammate, and White Sox’ manager, Robin Ventura.