Player Spotlight: Abraham Nunez

Same name, same difference

This is the story of two guys named Abraham Nunez who, after a chance encounter on a train, got an apartment together and shared experiences in love, loss, and punk rock music.  Wait, no, that was the plot to the anime Nana.  This story is about the Abraham Nunez who didn’t play for the Mets and the Abraham Nunez who, well, didn’t really play for the Mets.  Should have stuck with the punk rock romantic drama…

Abraham Nunez the non-Met was the player to be named later in the 1999 Brad Penny +2 for Matt Mantei trade that looks mind-boggling in hindsight.  Penny had three seasons with the Marlins that were worth about as much as Mantei’s entire run with the Diamondbacks.  The throw-ins in the trade, Abraham Nunez and Vladimir Nunez, were utterly worthless.  After a disappointing cup of coffee in 2002, Abraham had a disappointing half season with the Marlins in 2004, after which he was traded to the Royals, where he had another disappointing half season to finish his career.  To his credit, he never played for the Mets.  That’s more than I can say for the other Abraham Nunez.

Abraham Nunez the not-really-Met was a player to be named later in a 9-player trade between the Blue Jays and Pirates in 1996.  Despite getting six of the nine players in the deal, the Pirates got almost nothing of value, having only a few seasons of adequacy from Craig Wilson to show for it; three of the others never even made the majors.  The Blue Jays didn’t fare much better with one decent season from Orlando Merced, a terrible season from Carlos Garcia, and a mix of mediocrity from Dan Plesac.  Nunez lasted 8 seasons with the Pirates and was completely unremarkable.  After his release from Pittsburgh, Nunez had a career year in St. Louis, which he turned into a two year, $3 million deal in Philadelphia, where he was a disaster.  At least he has that going for him.

This Abraham Nunez came to the Mets in 2008 after 11 seasons in the majors and a total of 0.0 bWAR.  Picked up in the bargain bin after his release from the Brewers, Nunez must not have been expected to do much, because he sure didn’t.  He made his Mets debut in San Diego on June 5 as a pinch hitter.  He grounded out to short.  The results were completely different when he came in to pinch hit three days later.  That time he popped out to short to end the inning.  And so ended the major league career of all Abrahams Nunez.

So why does any of this matter?  Both Abraham Nunezes have game-used bat cards and I, um, bought the wrong one first.  The wrong Abraham Nunez, like every other prospect in 2001, had a bat card in a 2001 Donruss product (plus at least one autograph, but I didn’t fall for that…).  This can be excused because he had not yet begun to suck.  The right Abraham Nunez, like every other player in the late ’90s, had an autograph card in a Donruss Signature product.  His rise to competence was commemorated in 2005 with a bat card in 2005 Donruss Champions.  And that’s the place that Abraham Nunez has in my collection.

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