Baseball fans remember Edgardo Alfonzo for his stellar defense and his magic moments, like hitting a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning for New York Mets’ 2000 National League championship team.
Moments like those exemplified Alfonzo and the Mets of that era.
Just a year earlier, the second baseman was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as part of what the magazine dubbed “The Best Infield Ever.” Alfonzo, or “Fonzie,” as he’s known to teammates and fans, was the best defensive second baseman at the time, and part of a Mets infield that included John Olerud, Rey Ordonez and Robin Ventura.
In 1999, they lost in the National League Championship Series to the Atlanta Braves.
But a year later, minus John Olerud, Alfonzo was in the World Series facing their cross-town rivals, the New York Yankees.
“When I went to the World Series here in New York, that was the best moment that I’ve had in my career,” Alfonzo told Fox News Latino. “My whole career in New York is something [I think about every day].”
Even though the team lost in five games, the 2000 Mets players are cult heroes and part of Mets lore.
Alfonzo, along with Mets legends such as John Franco, who was on that 2000 team, and Mookie Wilson, will represent New York City yet again this year – as ambassadors for the Mets, who will host the All-Star Game at Citi Field this year.
Alfonzo, 39, of Venezuela, left New York in 2002 to play for the San Francisco Giants for three seasons before splitting a season between the Los Angeles Angels and Toronto Blue Jays. But he is still identified by fans and himself as a New York Met and still lives in the city.
“The time that I played here my kids were going to school, I have two boys,” said Alfonzo. “We like the city. We decided to stay here.”
He said he’ll never forget the big break he got in New York.
“This is the team that gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues,” he said.
Alfonzo first made the Mets All-Star team as a big leaguer in 2000. He said he remembers the time fondly and expressed excitement for this summer’s All-Star Game.
He said he admired current Mets captain and first baseman David Wright.
“[David] is becoming a great player right now,” said Alfonzo. “My favorite now is David.”