Robin Ventura only played three seasons with the New York Mets, but he quickly became one of the club’s most popular players. The two-time All Star joined WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts Friday afternoon to reminisce about his time in Queens.
At the start of the interview, Roberts complimented Ventura for being one of the best free agent signings in Mets’ history and asked the former third baseman why he chose to come to New York in 1999.
At first, Ventura was concerned Edgardo Alfonzo wouldn’t want to move from third base to second, but Bobby Valentine and general manager Steve Phillips assured him, Fonzy was willing to make the switch. Surprisingly, Ventura also said Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez helped influence him to sign with the Mets.
“I ran into Tino at some point,” Ventura told Benigno and Roberts. “And he was the one that said, ‘they got a really good thing going on over there and I think that would be a good spot for you.’ So it kind of stuck in my head a little bit, they were really the leaders of where I wanted to go and who I wanted to play with.”
“Albert was just intense when he got to the park, he’s really one of the smarter hitters I ever played with,” Ventura said. “Albert used to write down on 3x5 cards, every pitch he saw, who the pitcher was, who the catcher was, the situation. Really smart and diligent about keeping track of pitchers he saw and the pitches he got.”