Some may consider this article pointless due to the lack of value that Josh Thole has brought to the team with the exception of perhaps indirectly a Cy Young Award. However, in some ways, he did have a few great moments that will always hold a special place in many Mets fans’ hearts. My father, in my opinion, stated the exact definition of him: “that catcher who seems to drop everything.”
June 8th 2005:
This the day that I will judge Omar Minaya by – not all the pointless signings, but this draft day. The day that numerous Mets core players past and present were drafted: Mike Pelfrey, Jonathan Niese, Bobby Parnell, Pedro Beato, Jeremy Hefner – yes, I’m aware he was later drafted by the Padres – and Thole. He would also make his debut for the GCL Mets later that season.
He would play for Kingsport in 2006 and finish with underwhelming numbers: 1 HR 12 RBI .606 OPS. In 2007, he actually made the jump to St. Lucie and finished with somewhat impressive numbers for a slap hitter: .267 BA .372 OBP. Keep in mind that during this time the Mets didn’t care at all for the future behind the plate with Paul Lo Duca continuously tearing it up. Fun fact: Juan Lagares played with Thole the entire season together on the Savannah Sand Gnats.
The Mets let go of Lo Duca prior to the 2008 season and it became an instant scramble to find the next catcher for the Mets with there being only one answer: Josh Thole. He, for once, did not disappoint in St. Lucie: 5 HR 56 RBI .300 BA .382 OBP .427 SLG 25 2B. The 2008 season for the Mets was a complete train wreck offensively behind the plate.
After somewhat of a breakout season in 2008, much was expected from him and he spent spring training with the major league team. If one remembers, he was spoken of very highly by Dan Warthen. Nevertheless, he still started the season in the minors and completely tore up the league: .328 BA .395 OBP .430 SLG 29 2B.
Sep 3, 2009:
In retrospect this could be called D-day for Mets fans, but at the time it seemed that the team found a great 2/8 hole hitter and a wonderful defensive player behind the plate. He went 2-5 with a double in his debut. The team would actually lose nine consecutive games that he played in after his debut, but he still remained a lone bright spot on a disastrous team finishing with a good batting average: .321.
Minaya made one of his more questionable moves during the offseason after 2009 by signing Rod Barajas forcing Thole to the minors. In my opinion, this probably put Thole in a position where he hit a low in confidence. He wasn’t as effective in Buffalo: .267/.353/.420.
Jun 25, 2010:
Thole was called back up to the major leagues and wasn’t exactly the same, but he still played better than most catchers the Mets had that season.
Oct 1, 2010:
On this day, the Mets sent Pat Misch and the Nationals sent Jordan Zimmerman to the mound and they both performed wonderfully. The game was tied until the bottom of tenth when Thole finally seemed to break through to the major leagues with a dramatic walk-off homerun from the amazing Tyler Clippard. He finished with decent numbers considering the rest of his Mets career: .277/.357/.366. During the offseason Sandy Alderson made no move to acquire another full time catcher to eventually take over for Thole, much to the liking of most Mets fans.
Josh Thole wasn’t exactly what the Mets had hoped for from their starting catcher. Over the course of a full season, while he played quality defense and was able to catch the future ace R.A. Dickey, he really didn’t take over the position with Ronny Paulino becoming a hit machine for the first few weeks. He finished with underwhelming numbers: .268/.345/.344. Nevertheless he was still named the opening day catcher in 2012.
Apr 5–29, 2012:
During this time it appeared Thole had finally figured out the major leagues. He had gotten on base in every game but one and peaked when he hit a monster homerun in Colorado.
May 7, 2012:
This day really ended what Thole could possibly have been during his Mets career. Late in the game against the Phillies Ty Wiggington rammed into Thole as hard as he could resulting in Thole leaving the game with a concussion.
Ah, the best day in Mets history. Thole returns from the disabled list and catches Johan Santana’s no-hitter. This day will always make Thole one of the most special catchers in Mets’ history.
This trade could go down as one of the greatest trades that has ever occurred in Queens, but while everyone was pouting about the loss of Dickey many were celebrating the loss of Thole. Thus marks the end of Thole’s Met career.
While everyone remembers Thole as the personal catcher of a Cy Young winner and the man who seemed to be swinging a noodle every time he stepped up to the plate, he should be remembered as a catcher who did have his great moments.