1991 NOBODY BEATS THE WIZ RICH PUIG
Forty years ago, the Mets had a Puig of their own.
The club selected middle-infielder Rich Puig with the 14th overall pick in the 1971 amateur draft.
The Red Sox were next on the clock, and used the 15th pick on a young outfielder from Hanna High School in Anderson, South Carolina by the name of Jim Rice.
Puig moved up the minor-league ladder in a steady but unspectacular fashion. His best showing was as a 20-year old in Class A Visalia in 1973, where he hit .292 with 14 home runs.
He split time between Victoria and Tidewater the following season, doing enough at AAA to earn a September call up.
Puig made his big-league debut against the Cubs on September 13, 1974, replacing Wayne Garrett at 3rd base after Duffy Dyer had pinch hit for Garrett and tied the game with a single in the bottom of the 9th. Puig came up to bat in the bottom of the 11th with the Mets down 4-3, and struck out facing Jim Todd.
Puig’s brief run with the Mets would not get much better than that. He logged 11 plate appearances during that final month of the 1974 season, reaching base only once, via a free pass from Expos’ hurler Dennis Blair. He never made it back to the majors, retiring at the age of 23 after a tough season with the White Sox AA affiliate in Knoxville.
Eleven years after selecting Puig in the first round, the Mets spent another first-round pick on a player from Puig’s alma mater, Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Florida. Dwight Gooden went 157-85 for the team, and in 1986 helped lead them to their most-recent championship as of this writing…