Happy Birthday Tony Phillips

Today, April 25th, is the birthday of former super utilityman Tony Phillips, who played in 52 games for the Mets in 1998.

Phillips was picked up at the trade deadline from the salary-dumping Blue Jays and was supposed to be the Mets’ answer in the leadoff spot. He led off all but 8 games for the rest of the season, posting a respectable .351 OBP but a paltry .223 batting average with one stolen base and 25 runs scored while splitting time in the outfield corners. The Mets originally came very close to signing Phillips as a free agent prior to the beginning of the ’98 season, but were concerned about his age (38 at the time) and the fact he was busted for possession of rock cocaine during the previous summer. GM Steve Philllips offered him an incentive-laden, one-year, $500K contract that was refused.

The same day the Mets acquired Phillips, they also sent away Bill Pulsipher to Milwaukee and Bernard Gilkey and Nelson Figueroa to the Diamondbacks.

Other Mets whose birthday is today: Bob Johnson (4-25-1943), who pitched in two games for the ’69 Mets before getting sent to Kansas City — along with Amos Otis — in return for Joe Foy; Blaine Beatty (4-25-1964), who we profiled two years ago; and Brad Clontz (4-25-1971) a submarine-style pitcher who came to the Mets along with Hideo Nomo in June 1998 and pitched in two ballgames.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.