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Friday, December 20, 2019

Tito Navarro's first major league hit came when it mattered - his only major league hit

Originally published April 30, 2018
Tito Navarro failed to get a hit in his first 11 major league at bats in 1993. Then, put into the 10th inning of a September game against the playoff-chasing Braves, Navarro knocked a single that proved the game-winner, according to The Associated Press.

"That first hit was slow in coming, but I guess it came at a good time," Navarro told The AP afterward. "Maybe the Giants will buy me a steak dinner."

Navarro's first major league hit came when it mattered. His last did, too, because that hit proved to be his only one in the bigs. Navarro battled back from shoulder injury to make the Mets that year. He played in 12 games, got that one hit, and didn't make it back again.

Navarro's career began in 1987, signed by the Mets as an amateur free agent out of his native Puerto Rico.

He started with the Mets at rookie Kingsport. He hit .244 in 54 games. He made high-A Pittsfield in 1989, then single-A Columbia in 1990. He hit .314 over 136 games at Columbia as he stole 50 bases.

Navarro then made AA Williamsport for 1991. He hit .288 there while stealing 42. Then came his shoulder issues. He missed all of 1992 to surgery, but came back in 1993 to play at AAA Norfolk.

He hit .282 at Norfolk, with 19 steals. He then won a trip to Queens in September. He went 0 for 5 in his debut and 1 for 17 overall.

As the Mets closed in on 100 losses in a forgettable season that year, though, Navarro found no shame in playing for them, he told The New York Times.

"No," he told The Times. "That's the big show. Not too many can play in that league, not from Puerto Rico."

Navarro finished out the season. He returned for one more season in the minors, but another injury, a leg injury, helped end his career.

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