Two former New York Mets players retired this week, bringing an end to solid, if only occasionally spectacular, careers.
Heath Bell, 37, was in camp with the Washington Nationals this spring. He walked five and gave up seven hits while allowing four earned runs in 6.1 innings in Grapefruit League competition, and was not expected to earn a spot in the Nationals’ bullpen.
For the three-year period between 2009 and 2011, Bell was an All-Star closer for the San Diego Padres. He led the National League with 42 saves in 2009.
I’ll remember Bell for two things: first, his entrance to the 2011 All-Star Game.
Second, for signing autographs for fans at nearly every Mets game I went to at Shea Stadium in 2005.
John Buck, 34, was in camp with the Atlanta Braves and was actually having a pretty good spring – he went 8 for 25 I. 12 games, with four doubles and a home run. Nevertheless, it didn’t look like he was going to make the Braves and he decided that he’d rather spend more time with his family.
Buck was only a Met for about four months in 2013, coming over to New York as a throw-in from the R.A. Dickey trade and leaving in the deal with Marlon Byrd that brought Vic Black and Dilson Herera to the Mets. While Buck’s Mets numbers don’t look all that special, he got off to a fast start in 2013 that made many – including me – think he might have a shot at representing the Mets in the All-Star Game.
Best wishes to both men in whatever awaits them.