Molitor, Mets meeting for first time

Twins manager had never faced New York, even as player

Molitor, Mets meeting for first time

NEW YORK -- As a player, coach and manager, Paul Molitor had been in uniform for well over 3,000 Major League games before Friday.

Not one of them had been against the Mets.

You wouldn't think that's possible, but it is. Molitor has been an American Leaguer throughout his career, and he played almost entirely in the era before Interleague Play. In his five previous seasons as a Major League coach or manager, his teams never had the Mets on the schedule.

"That's the second time this year I've had a first," Molitor said. "When we went to Atlanta, it was the first time I'd been there."

Unless baseball expands or a team moves, there won't be any more firsts. The Mets were the only one of the 30 big league teams Molitor had yet to face.

While the Mets were an unfamiliar opponent, Bartolo Colon wasn't. Colon, the Mets' starting pitcher on Friday night, took the bump for the Cleveland Indians on Sept. 27, 1998, at the Metrodome in the final game of Molitor's playing career. Molitor went 1-for-3 that day against Colon before getting a hit against reliever Doug Jones in his last big league at-bat.

Molitor faced 1,033 different pitchers during his 21-year Hall of Fame playing career. They include a current general manager (Jerry Dipoto of the Mariners), a fellow manager (John Farrell of the Red Sox) and various coaches and broadcasters.

Only one of the 1,033 -- Colon -- is still pitching.

"It's not often when the manager has more career at-bats against a guy than anyone in the batting order," Molitor quipped.

Molitor is almost right. He was 2-for-8 in his career against Colon. His starting catcher Friday, Kurt Suzuki, had 13 previous at-bats (and five hits) against Colon.

No one else in the lineup had as many as Molitor, though.

Danny Knobler is a contributor to based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.