As quiet as Edgardo Alfonzo and Robin Ventura was …Rey Ordonez was not …flashy and splashy he made fans ohhhh and ahhhh with his outstanding defense in the field. His bat well…left a lot to be desired, but with out he left his mark with Met fans. Future shortstops that come in the Mets pipeline would be measured at least defensively against Ordonez.
Ordóñez made his major league debut in 1996. Ordóñez went on to win three consecutive Gold Glove Awards for his outstanding defensive play with the Mets. During the 1999 and 2000 seasons, Ordóñez set a Major League record for shortstops by playing 101 consecutive games without committing a fielding error. Furthermore, in 1999, Ordóñez committed only four errors while posting a .994 fielding percentage. It is arguably the best defensive single-season performance ever by a Major League shortstop based on the number of errors. Despite this high level of performance, analysis of Ordonez’s fielding shows that he did not have the same range as other great defensive shortstops, and his place among the top defensive shortstops of all time is subsequently debatable.
Though he rarely struck out and was capable of laying down sacrifice bunts, he was not a particularly effective hitter. Besides a career batting average of just .246, he was not a good base stealer, drew few walks and had almost no power. His lifetime OPS of .599 was almost 200 points lower than the Major League average (.782 in 2000, for example).
Ordóñez’s defensive play never truly recovered after fracturing his left arm on May 29, 2000, when attempting to tag the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ F.P. Santangelo out at second base, an injury that prevented the perennial Gold Glove contender from playing in the 2000 World Series (the Subway Series) against the New York Yankees. Given that he offered little offensively, with his defense diminished, his value as a player became drastically reduced. Ordóñez was taunted by unhappy Mets fans throughout the 2002 season, particularly because the much-heralded double play combination of him and Roberto Alomar failed to produce. In a year-end interview, Ordóñez lashed out, calling the Mets fans “stupid”, and took issue with the abundant criticism players would receive from fans for underperforming offensively or defensively.
Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday salutes Rey Ordonez.