**Another in my continuing series of “if only things that happened in MLB ’08 were real...”**
NEW YORK, April 6, 2011 -- Years from now, people will scan the box score from this routine Mets loss to the Braves, and be unable to pick out the historic event. Some people may be struggling to do that right now. But look up and down the Mets lineup, and you’ll come across this line:
Reisinger, C 2 1 0 1
That’s 2 at-bats, 1 run scored, 1 RBI, and -- most importantly -- 0 hits. And with that (“that” being a fly out, a hit-by-pitch, a sac fly, and a 4-3 groundout), the greatest streak in MLB history has come to an end.
“It had to end eventually,” said Mets second-year catcher Adam Reisinger. “It wasn’t like I was going to end my career on a 15-hundred game hit streak or something.”
At one point though, it certainly seemed possible. When Reisinger reached 40 games last summer, the media crush was tremendous. When he tied Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game streak, even the road crowd in Cincinnati gave him a standing ovation. And when he passed DiMaggio two days later in Wrigley Field, the stadium erupted as if they’d won the World Series (something the Cubs still haven’t done in more than a century).
Eventually the streak stretched to 78 games to end the 2010 season. Then, without warning, the Cubs released their rookie sensation.
“They wanted me to come to spring training and compete for a job,” explained Reisinger during the offseason.
With former all-star Victor Martinez and former PCL MVP Geovany Soto also on the roster, there was a log-jam behind the plate in Chicago. And with Derrek Lee at 1st, moving Reisinger was out of the question -- unless it was a move to Iowa, and back to Triple-A.
“I told them I wouldn’t report to Iowa, so they gave me two options,” Reisinger said. “They said I could come to spring training and compete for a job, or they’d release me and I’d be free to sign anywhere.”
Reisinger and his agent agreed that with Chicago having so much money invested in Martinez and Soto, there was little chance at the 24-year-old earning a fair shot at a job. So on November 14, 2010, the NL Rookie of the Year, the man with the 78-game hit streak, was out of a job.
Quickly, the New York Mets, the team that originally signed Reisinger out of Towson University, stepped in.
“I never wanted to trade the kid in the first place,” said Mets manager Willie Randolph. “But when he became available, I told Omar [Minaya, the Mets GM] to make him our top offseason priority.”
Reisinger had a standout spring training with New York, and hit safely in the first two games of 2011, before finally taking an 0-fer. Still, his manager had nothing but praise for his young catcher.
“Here’s a kid who’s working on the greatest streak of all-time, and he still finds a way to just do his job,” Randolph said. “We only score 2 runs, and he scores one of them a drives in the other. That’s the sign of a true big leaguer.”
As for how he’ll commemorate the streak, Reisinger has an idea.
“Maybe I’ll wear number 80 next season,” said the catcher, who was forced to change from number 33 to 36 this season with New York -- and has worn 7 different numbers in his 4-year professional career. “Maybe then I won’t have to change it anymore.”