New batterymates have prior history

New batterymates have prior history

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The man on the left appears quite familiar despite his considerably narrower face. The teenager to his left, wearing a cap and sunglasses, could be any adolescent who happened to coax a Dodgers player into posing for a photograph on one of the fields at Dodgertown some time in the early to mid-90s. The accommodating Dodger was one Pedro Martinez. The happy camper was Brian Schneider.

The photo was a conversation piece when Schneider brought it to the Mets' clubhouse Wednesday morning, having attached a hand-written request for an autograph to it. Without looking for it, Schneider's mother had discovered a souvenir from one of the annual week-long visits Schneider and his father took to visit the future catcher's grandmother in Vero Beach.

"We'd go every year, so I'm not sure when this is from," Schneider said. "I had a lot of pictures," including one with Mike Piazza and another with Roy Campanella which he still considers special.

Martinez enjoyed the photo as much as Schneider, identifying the figure on the left as "The Old Goat." He might have been as young as 21 when the photo was taken. And might have been as light as 154 pounds, he said. And the Dodgers thought he was too little to withstand the rigors of regular big league pitching.

And 2,673 2/3 innings later, Martinez is ready to begin his 17th big league season -- with Schneider as his catcher.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.