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Countdown to Mets Fantasy Camp 18 Days to Go.

Every year for the last 3 years as Spring gives way to Fall, Mets season merges into NY Rangers season, I have been able to keep the baseball side of my brain occupied with thoughts of Mets Fantasy Camp. This year more so then ever, in the past I have simply gone down to cover the week long camp as a reporter, this season I am headed down to actually participate as a player. Each year I have tried to find unique ways of counting down the days until camp and sharing them with Mets fans, So this year I will do the countdown by Jersey numbers, When possible I will post my 3 favorite Mets who have worn that number, some numbers are harder then others.

Darryl Strawberry

Although every time I think of Straw,I think of what might have been, instead of truly appreciating what was, Straw was truly the Mets first homegrown legit power hitter. Despite all his off-field issues he never failed to hit less then 26 Home runs in each of his 8 seasons as a New York Met.While Dave Kingman hit moon shots Straw's were missiles,His Home runs got out of Shea so quickly and usually caused destruction on whatever part of the Scoreboard they would hit. I can tell the precise day and time of my favorite Darryl Strawberry Home Run, and so can anyone else who saw it ,why you ask? Because on Oct. 1, 1985 - The digital clock behind the bleachers in right-center at Busch Stadium read 10:44 when Darryl Strawberry's 11th-inning blast off left-handed St. Louis reliever Ken Dayley hit it. The homer, estimated at 440 feet, gave the Mets a 1-0 victory .

Moises Alou

In spite of the fact that in an interview in 2004, Moises Alou, , revealed that he pees on his hands to harden the skin and prevent calluses, he is still one of my favorite Mets to play less the 103 games as a Met, his 102 injury plagued games were surrounded ny the most amazing display of hitting I ever saw by a NY Met, .342 over 102 games,a .507 slugging percentage. If not for his injuries Alou's name would be mentioned in Hall of Fame talk, the guy had 332 career dingers, over 1200 RBIs and a lifetime .303 average over 17 seasons. Too Bad the Mets didn't get him 10 years earlier.

Darryl Hamilton /Benny Ayala

A first, I couldn't narrow it down to only 3 so this time there is a tie, First Darryl Hamilton, an absolute steal by the Mets in the 1999 Trade the brought Darryl and Chuck McElroy from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Brian McRae, Rigo Beltran and Tom Johnson on July 31, 1999. Darryl was a key part of the Mets 1999 run as he hit .339 down the stretch with some big hits and then in 2000 against the Giants in the Playoffs as well. He is listed first as he had a bigger impact then Benny Ayala did as a Met, but Met fans of a certain age hold a special place in their hearts for Benny as for many of us as he was the first Met to homer in his first major league at bat and you always remember your first, Benny is one of just over 100 players to accomplish that feat, 3 other Mets have gone on to do it as well, Mike Fitzgerald,Kazuo Matsui and Mike Jacobs.Benny Would go on to hit 37 more but only 2 more as a Met, he did get a World Series ring with the Orioles.

Mets who wore #18

Felix Mantilla

Pumpsie Green

Dennis Ribant

Gary Kolb

Al Luplow

Joe Moock

Duffy Dyer

Jim Gosger

Dave Marshall

George Theodore

Benny Ayala

Joel Youngblood

Darryl Strawberry

Bret Saberhagen

Jeff McKnight

Jeff Barry

Kevin Roberson

Takashi Kashiwada

Craig Paquette

Todd Haney

Darryl Hamilton

Jeff D'Amico

Art Howe

Marlon Anderson

José Valentin

Moises Alou

Jeremy Reed

Ryota Igarashi

Tim Teufel

By: Mark Rosenman

WLIE 540 AM SPORTSTALKNY Host and Producer

Follow us on Twitter @sportstalkny

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