Watch Rey Ordonez introduce himself to the world with a miraculous throw home from his knees
It was Mets Opening Day -- April 1, 1996. The Amazins were playing the Cardinals, and the team had some new faces on its roster: Lance Johnson, who signed as a free agent, Men In Black's Bernard Gilkey and some defensive wiz kid named Rey Ordonez:
Signed mostly for his glove, Ordonez -- who turns 46 today -- spent a few years in the Minors before getting the starting nod at shortstop for the '96 season. By the seventh inning, as expected, he hadn't done much with his bat. But with two outs in the top of the frame, and Royce Clayton trying to score on a Ray Lankford double, Ordonez introduced himself to the baseball world:
The New York Times had the throw listed as 150 feet from home plate -- something Ordonez brushed off as a play most others can make, too. The Mets would later rally for four runs to win the game, 7-6, helped by an Ordonez single.
Ozzie Smith, who was in his last year for the Cardinals, was asked about the play after the loss and told the Times:
"In the 18 years," the Cardinals shortstop said, alluding to his Major League career, "everybody that comes through is the next one. But this kid is smooth. He's everything he was billed as. It's safe to say he's the second coming of me."
Pretty tall order to live up to after one game. Although, Ordonez would win three straight Gold Gloves, rank among the 90's shortstop elites and make many other ridiculous plays before his career ran out and he moved to Jakku.