Juan Samuel
vs. the Mets
Juan Samuel
vs. Other Teams
Game Log Memories of
Juan Samuel
Juan Samuel
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 130 of 1043 players
Juan Milton Samuel
Born: December 9, 1960 at San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Height: 5.11 Weight: 170

Juan Samuel was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on February 16, 2006, and June 4, 2010.


First Mets game: June 19, 1989
Last Mets game: September 30, 1989

Share your memories of Juan Samuel


I have nothing nice to say about Juan Samuel. He hated New York and we hated him right back. He tried to replace Dykstra and Mookie and failed miserably. Good riddance.

Sorriano Valezquez
I remember watching the Mets play the Phillies one Sunday afternoon eating a bowl of chili. After the game, Bob Murphy came on and announced the trade of Dykstra, McDowell for Samuel. I choked and actually had a chewed kidney bean pass out my nose. That guy played as bad as that bean looked when it fell into my bowl.

January 17, 2001
It's "sam clam disco" time! Tied with jeff kan't and booby bo as the cruelest Mets joke of all time!

Won Doney
March 16, 2001
The trade for him ranks up their with the trade for Jim Fregosi. How could they have possibly have traded away Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell for a second baseman turned outfielder?

March 18, 2001
I admit, I thought it was a good trade at the time. Did he ever have a good week for the Mets?

Richard Kissel
March 30, 2001
From the second I heard that the Mets traded Lenny Dykstra for Juan Samuel, it saddened me. It became clear that the 1986 Mets were dead and buried. Simply an idiotic trade.

Jim Alderson
April 7, 2001
Why!?!?!?! Someone just please tell me why I had to suffer the convulsions that came when I heard about this trade. You know the retarded character in There's Something About Mary? And how he freaks out and beats people up when they touch his ears? That's me when someone so much as mentions the name Juan Samuel. Not to mention the temporary fits of Torret's Syndrome. *%>#$! McIlvaine! The worst Mets trade ever.

May 9, 2001
The only smart thing the Mets did with Samuel was ship him out of town quickly to L.A. for Mike Marshall and Alejandro Pena. It didn't take long for the Mets brass to realize their mistake. Mets fans knew immediately, though.

After trading for Samuel, Davey Johnson said "We just traded for the best player in the National League." Poor judge of talent, Davey. The Lenny Dykstra & Mookie Wilson trades put the Mets organization into a downward spiral that lasted almost a decade.

Trevor B
March 1, 2002
This was the first Met trade I remembered as a kid. When I heard about it I was extremely upset. I hated it from day 1. Samuel was a bust while Dykstra became one of the best hitters in baseball for the Phillies.

Larry Burns
May 29, 2002
An awful trade that hurt the Mets for years. Juan was another great 2nd bagger who came to the Mets and blew (the other being Carlos Baerga). Losing Dykstra ripped a hole in the soul of the Mets. My only fond memory of Juan was when he got the game winning hit against the Reds when the stands were chanting "Diiiiiiii-ble!" at their resident douche, Rob Dibble.

I don't believe he had much of a post-Mets career. I once thought I saw him on a landscaping crew in my neighborhood, but I was mistaken. Overall, a huge disappointment.

June 7, 2002
Was that not the dumbest trade in team history? Dykstra reached his prime with Philadelphia in the five seasons after the trade, becomming one of the top players in the game, while the only thing Samuel improved was his jherri-curl, and the only thing he brought to the Mets was his ability to make fans feel sick to their stomachs!

August 8, 2002
One of the worst players ever to wear the Mets uniform. I remember the NY Post having some dumb headline in the Sports pages that said "It's JUAN-derful" on the day of that ill-fated trade with the Phillies.

His only shining moment as a Met was during that brawl with Rob Dibble in which I think he wanted to fight him in the parking lot after the game - after a beanball.

Mr. Sparkle
November 6, 2002
I can't believe I have never before commented on Juan Samuel. That's probably because I have tried to blot him out of my memory banks. I always hated Samuel when he was with the Phillies. He was a pesky player with some power at second and always seemed to wreak havoc against the Mets. I remember the day of the trade, I was at my parents house watching the game while everyone else was outside. I think it was after the game was over that they made the announcement. I was half devastated that they traded Nails and half optimistic that they got this all star second baseman. Deep down I knew it was a bad move but I tried to understand. As we all know this turned out to be arguably one of the worst trades if not the worst trade in Mets history. Samuel was sent to centerfield where he was a joke defensively, not that he was very good at second, and a very soft bat in the line up. Dykstra went onto stardom and we got a preview of Carlos Baerga. This guy is definitely one of the all time worst Mets. He was nothing compared to how he played in Philly. I still shudder, as do many Mets fans, every time I hear his name.

January 24, 2003
I can still hear Frank Cashen saying, "Juan Samuel is an impact player". The trade was worse than the Ryan trade, because Ryan, who had been in the bigs for 4 years, just looked like he wasn't going to pan out at the time. Why they thought they could turn a bad fielding second baseman into a good center fielder was beyond me. Why they thought a guy who struck out a lot but did not walk would be a good lead off hitter was beyond me. Why they thought a guy who hit a few homers at the Vet would at "dead air distant fences" Shea was beyond me. I don't follow the Mets closely anymore, and my alienation began with this trade.

May 5, 2003
The Mets played the Phillies at the Vet the day the trade happened. I know 'cause I was there with my family. We were stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland at the time and we heard about the trade on in the car on the radio after the game. My 5-year old son burst into tears hearing that Lenny was gone. Still breaks me up to think about it. Baseball people should roast for their lack of understanding of how their "business deals" affect the people that really count - the fans!

This was the start of the Mets' unfathomable effort to turn infielders into centerfielders. Just a few weeks after this deal, the Mets unloaded Mookie and Mazzilli. Juan Samuel couldn't spell "centerfield", let alone play it. What the hell were Frank Cashen and Dave Johnson thinking?

And after this abominable failure, they still tried to make Keith Miller and Howard Johnson center fielders! You gotta be a baseball insider to run the Mets? I don't think so. Baseball insiders have been the bane of the Mets since 1986.

Bob P
May 6, 2003
I will say one thing in defense of Juan Samuel and the Mets front office: the Mets did not make him an outfielder.

Samuel came to the Phillies in 1983 as a second baseman, and he was the Phils' regular 2B from 1984-1988. But he did play three games in the outfield in 1988, and then the Phils went out and got Tommy Herr to be their second baseman prior to the start of the 1989 season. Samuel shifted to CF full time at that point, and in fact, his fielding stats were not too bad. His fielding percentage and range factors were both better than the league average for center fielders in 1989.

Samuel turned out to be a big bust in his half season with the Mets. In hindsight it was a bad deal, but I must say at the time I thought it was OK. I wasn't thrilled with losing another member of the '86 team, but I thought Samuel was a decent player.

He did wind up hanging on in the majors for 16 years until 1998(!), even though he was a part-timer his last seven seasons.

With the Phillies Samuel was always among the NL leaders in doubles, triples, runs scored, extra-base hits, and, yes, strikeouts.

Samuel always had low walk/high strikeout totals, but he did lose his batting skills quickly and at a young age. That leads me to believe that he was probably several years older than he claimed to be, even though I have no proof of that.

September 16, 2003
I remember yelling like crazy when Samuel hit a long drive to the warning track in his first Met at-bat. I thought the trade MIGHT pan out, inasmuch as he was supposed to be better than Sandberg in 1987. Of course, he was finished by '89, although (little-known fact), he DID come back to be an All-Star in 1991.

I remember him and Straw going into the Reds' locker room looking for a fight with Dibble and Charlton after Dibble beaned Samuel.

January 15, 2004
Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell for this guy? The thing is, he was pretty good when he first came combining good speed and power - but a lead-off hitter shouldn't strike out 150 times a season.

Tony P
January 23, 2004
Worse trade to me then the Ryan trade when the got rid of Lenny for Samuel. Made even worse than part of the reason they did this was - and then "converted" him to an outfielder was to make room for Gregg Jeffries in the infield.

From what I've heard he's a very good guy and had a great career...just not with the Mets!

February 2, 2004
In 1987, I interviewed a Negro League veteran for my newspaper, and asked him about modern ballplayers. He talked about his favorites, and his least favorites. One of his least favorites was Juan Samuel. He said that Samuel could run, but had a poor batting eye and no defensive abilities. I remembered that.

When Samuel came to the Mets, I'd watch a fly ball to go left and Samuel streak off in pursuit of it -- to right.

Tom Shannon
May 22, 2004
Wasn't there some beef between Juan and Ron Darling that sprung from a minor league incident? I remember Steve Zabriskie talking about this the day that the Mets traded for him.

Best Juan memory: Dropped a pop-up with 2 outs and the bases loaded on a windy afternoon at Candlestick. The replay showed that he didn't even have his glove on properly (his thumb was sticking out of it)!

July 7, 2005
If my memory serves me correct, it was Juan Samuel who poked a liner to Darryl Strawberry on May 11, 1985 with Darryl hurting his wrist on that play, ending up costing the Mets at least a Division Championship that year. Another bad memory about Juan Samuel, I must say...

Lifelong Fan
July 10, 2005
The Mets front office had the problem of having Mookie and Lenny, so they trade them BOTH?!? Duh. Then they get this punk who used to hang out in Washington Heights with low-lives and say that NYC is not a place he wants his kids to be. Made no effort to play well. You could tell Carter just wanted to kick his butt. Never forgave himself for letting this jerk bluff him off second.

scott mccafferty
August 27, 2005
The trade for Samuel shocked me then and still shocks me today. What a front office blunder. Dykstra was a sparkplug to the offense and McDowell was solid in the pen. Just another bewildering trade by the Mets. I'm glad Samuel didn't hang around long. He just didn't seem like a Met from day one.

Russell Heim
September 23, 2005
I think the only positive contribution Juan Samuel made to the Mets (besides leaving) was in a fight against the Reds. It started when one of the Nasty Boys (either Charlton or Dibble) hit Tim Teufel. In the midst of the on-the-field brawl that erupted, I saw Juan Samuel drop kick one of the Reds players. An interesting aside, Pete Rose was still managing the Reds and he didn't leave the dugout. This was a few weeks before his suspension. I got a big laugh in the Shea Stadium men's room after the game when I wondered aloud if Pete had bet ten bucks on the Mets to win the fight.

Inz 41
December 26, 2005
I remember having just finished playing a Sunday doubleheader at Christopher Morley Park with my Valley Stream Liners team. I was going to my car with Liners' 1b Bill McMillen. We put away the equipment, got in, turned on the radio, and the Met game is on.

I'm pulling out of the lot, and then comes the announcement, "The Mets have traded centerfielder Lenny Dyksta and relief pitcher Roger McDowell to the Phillies for Juan Samuel." We both paused, then simultaneously yelled back, "AND...?!" But no other name was mentioned. Just Samuel. We figured maybe they just forgot to say the other name, right? There had to be an "AND..." in there somewhere. That's it, they just forgot to mention the other name. It had to be Von Hayes or someone else, anyone else, coming over from the Phillies. But no that was it. If it was April 1st, I would have said, "Good One!" But, no, it was June.

Inz 41 Part II
December 29, 2005
Two star players for a bad second baseman who makes the Dodger's Mike Marshall look like a contact hitter.

You start to speculate. Dykstra and McDowell must have really done something bad, the story was about to break, and they had to dump them. Had to be. Now, obviously, Mookie Wilson will play center, and Samuel takes over at second, so the 2b platoon days are over, right? Wrong! Wilson was traded right after that for a relief pitcher named Jeff Musselman. They tell us Samuel is the new CENTER FIELDER!

Now, I'm now looking around for Rod Serling and the "Twilight Zone" camera crew.

This ranks with other pathetic Met trades. Amos Otis for Joe Foy. Nolan Ryan (plus Leroy Stanton and 2 minor leaguers!) for Jim Fregosi. Tom Seaver for "The 3 Stooges" plus Shemp. It just never stops.

After the season, when the plan failed miserably, the Mets picked up 2 more headaches when they traded Samuel away for Mike Marshall and Alejandro Pena. Funnier because Dave Magadan, after years of waiting, was the new starting first baseman and that's where Marshall played, so he was thrilled to come here. Plus, compared with Marshall, now Dave Kingman seemed like a contact hitter.

I remember the Daily News having the back page "Two For Juan" and the Post had "Juan For Two". Either way, you just gotta "Juan-der" what the Mets were trying to do. We were definitely "entering another dimension". There was SIGHT, SOUND, but no MIND.

Jonathan Stern
February 1, 2006
Can you believe it? Samuel is now the new manager of the Binghamtom Mets. I guess everyone is entitled to a second chance, but could Samuel have turned off Mets Country more than he did in 1989? Amazin'.

Mr. Sparkle
February 1, 2006
I really like when the Mets hire ex Met players to manage in the minors but did they have to hire Juan Samuel in Binghamton? One of the most hated Mets of all time by just about every Met fan out there, and they give him the job over Wally Backman. Does this mean he could possibly manage at Shea some day? Has the whole world gone INSANE?

February 8, 2006
Juan Samuel back with the Mets organization !? Well, there must a reason for hiring him, and certainly his last connection with the Met organization could not have helped him at all, which suggests to me that he has turned into a new man now, at least different from what we remember in 1989.

So, for the time being, I would not mind Juan Samuel back at Shea down the road, as long as he would not go out of his mind and try to make a comeback to take over Carlos Beltran's position.

Brian Carter
August 20, 2006
I remember I was ten years old when I heard about the trade. It felt like a lighting bolt went through my heart. I couldn't watch the Mets for two months. I was shocked. It felt like a ghost came out of nowhere and took a swing at my knees with a bat. I really liked Lenny Dyskstra. We should have a Juan Samuel baseball card demolition night, where we can burn his baseball cards on the field. I don't care if it's 2006, that trade still bothers me.

September 1, 2006
A couple of years ago, I was struck by lightening, and I thought, "This is exactly what it must have been like to learn that the Mets traded Dykstra for Samuel." No, really!

October 25, 2006
When the trade was made Davey Johnson said "we just got the best player in baseball".

I think it is safe to say that Johnson was incorrect.

March 16, 2007
I remember the day the Mets got Juan Samuel and thought it was a fair trade. I guess the Mets kinda got the last laugh. Sure Dykstra had a couple of good years with the Phillies but the last three years of Dykstra's Phillies career totaled 186 games and the Phillies paid him $18 Million for those three self-induced painful years.

Not sure if the Mets got the "best player in the National League" that day as Davey called him but they certainly got the best player in THAT trade. Roger McDowell's 12-17 record for the Phillies didn't get the Phillies anywhere either.

Career Hits: Samuel 1,600 Dykstra 1,298.

Diamond Dave
March 31, 2007
Juan Samuel as a Met was a bad deal he was in decline and Phillies knew it. I as at Shea for his Met Home debut. I loved Lenny but of course wanted Juan to do well since he was now going to play every day. He was either 0-3 or 0-4 that Tuesday afternoon day game an omen of things to come. Another in a long line of Mets deals when they traded for or signed a former "star" past his prime. Mets got hosed on that Samuel deal: Lenny was dealt with Roger and led them to the SERIES with 3 great years for Phillies, so who cares if JS had 1600 career hits? Samuel stunk for the Mets. Case closed.

Feat Fan
March 31, 2007
Typical of the Mets, got him on the decline and gave up on Dykstra (and his bad habits) who was on the up climb. This guy was some kind of talent early on: speed, power, aggressive and appeared to be heading for a long and distinguished career. Bounced around a bit but did author a long career and better than average numbers.

Mr. Sparkle
March 31, 2007
Come on! Juan Samuel was horrible as a Met. His best days were behind him. Yes, Dykstra's career ended prematurely and he had injuries but he was a stud in Phillie for a good 3 years. And McDowell was a relief pitcher where wins and losses are not as important as saves and holds. You can't compare career stats of Samuel and Dykstra to defend this horrible trade.

Charles Biggs
October 13, 2007
After the Trade for Juan Samuel the Mets were officially a team in ruins. I was so upset I felt something had to be done. Being a season ticket holder I was really upset!! And I wanted to get McIlvaine gone! I wanted to make an unforgettable statement that every fan and media outlet would see!

I made two huge banners and hung them next to each auxiliary scoreboard ! Left field read "Who's to Blame?" Right Field read "McIlvaine!" The banners were up the entire game, and after the game the Front Office sent crews to personally remove and destroy my banners. One of the guys sent to remove them told me, "You better get out of here. They are pi@#ed off and they wanna get you."

The next day Newsday wrote about the banners in the game notes and asked McIlvaine what he thought of the banners. His response was "It's not just one person to blame!"

October 15, 2007
Philly fan here. I remember the day the trade was announced. I was disappointed at first till I heard who we would be getting in return! Dykstra and McDowell!?? I liked Juan but he had long since stopped being productive. I hated Dykstra with a passion until he came to Philly. Dykstra always seemed to murder the Phils and now he was ours!

I always thought Sammy would have been better had he been kept at second base. It was somebody's brilliant idea to move him to the outfield.

May 17, 2008
The trade was not Samuel's fault; it was McIlveyne's.

I was at the Reds game and here is how it went down. After Teufel charged the mound and the brawl ensued, something took place between Samuel and Dibble in the crowd. When the fight broke up, Dibble and Samuel were jawing at each other from across the diamond. Dibble then charged Samuel. Samuel gave him a couple of juke moves and put his cleat in Dibble's chest. The benches proceeded to clear again.

PS - It was Strawberry in the hallway calling out Dibble.

July 22, 2008
I am a native New Yorker, now transplanted in Boston. However, I am will always be a die hard Mets Fan. Tonight, while watching the Sox/Rays game that developed into a bench clearing brawl, I started thinking about those two Met games in '89 against the Reds right before the All-Star break that culminated in the Juan Samuel homer off of Dibble. At first I couldn't remember the year, so I did a wild card Yahoo search and came across the UltimateMets BB and lo and behold, there were these posts about Samuel and that game. Unbelievable! I was a HUGE Dykstra fan. Was at his last home game as a Met. (He caught a ball in CF horizontal, then was later thrown out of the game.) And likewise was stunned when the announcement of the Samuel trade was made after the Phillies game. I remember feeling like that sucker who picked door #2 on Let's Make a Deal and hears "WAAAA WAAAA" as the door opens on a Goat. Amazing to learn after all these years that many others had the same reaction, and as many still remember it so vividly.

September 18, 2008
I remember my cousin coming in and saying "Yes, the Mets got Juan Samuel!" and I said for who and he tells me Dykstra and McDowell! I just about wanted to kill him for bringing me such wonderful news! My cousin loved Samuel and I didn't like him at all. Dykstra was a favorite of mine and how can you not like Roger? I felt like going to Shea and finding the genius who made this ridiculous trade and kicking his butt! To this day, I hate thinking of all the guys we traded to Philly, our division rival such as Tug McGraw, Dykstra, Brogna, McDowell. How could they be so stupid? I am boiling right now thinking of it!

December 19, 2008
Horrific time in my childhood Mets memories...Samuels stats SUCKED before the trade, and his career ended after it. Horrible, horrible trade.

Robert Ford
May 16, 2010
Growing up as a Mets fan in the Bronx, I disliked the trade as much as most of you did, although I was at a Mets game against the Cubs that Juan won with a ninth- inning single.

However, I was the radio broadcaster for the Binghamton Mets from 2005-2008 and got to know Samuel quite well when he managed Binghamton in 2006. He's a fantastic baseball man and a great guy. His players that season would've run through a wall for him and he commanded everyone's respect. One of the most impressive men I've met in the game.

Of course, being a Mets fan, I had to ask Sammy about the trade. Before the '89 season, Phillies GM Lee Thomas approached him and asked if he would move to center because the Phillies had a chance to get Tommy Herr to play second. Samuel agreed because he wanted to stay with the Phillies and playing the outfield was the way to do that (or so he thought). He'd just bought a house in South Jersey that off-season. So, you can imagine how betrayed he felt when the Phillies traded him to the Mets during the '89 season. Those who say Samuel seemed like he never wanted to be in New York are half-right. After all, this was a guy who had the rug swept out from under him by the Phillies.

After '89 ended, Sammy told the Mets he wanted to be traded unless he could move back to second base. Since Greg Jefferies was in the fold, the Mets chose the former option and sent him to the Dodgers, where he moved back to second and was an NL All-Star in 1991.

I now work in sports radio in Kansas City and still keep in touch with Sammy. He's the 3B coach for the Orioles and, whenever Baltimore's in town, we catch up. Yes, it was an awful trade by the Mets, but Sammy is one of my favorite people in baseball.

June 9, 2011
I remember how happy I was to say bye to Juan. Dykstra was the reason for our 1993 team going to the World Series. Come to think of it, that may have been the first time the Phillies really screwed you guys. I mean before 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, so far hahaha. 2007 must've been really, really brutal. Maybe you Mets fans shouldn't blame the Ponzi Scheme, maybe you should really blame Dykstra.

January 10, 2014
Can someone PLEASE exorcise this trade from my body? How can a club have TWO talented centerfielders in Dykstra and Mookie Wilson, then trade them BOTH in the SAME YEAR, to be replaced with a career second baseman? Only in Mets Universe...

'89 was the Mets season that left me physically sick as I watched the club tank in a division race they could very well have won, while Dykstra, McDowell, Wilson, and Mazzilli were all sent to other teams. After all of the dust cleared, Juan Samuel, a workmanlike but very unspectacular player who hated New York, was the last man standing.

While Samuel wasn't the guy who made the Phillies trade, I still harbored a LOT of hatred for him. He was like an evil alien who landed on our peaceful shores. His bat was terrible (struck out a ridiculous number of times for a spray hitter) and his fielding...well, best to forget that as much as I can.

I remember Lenny coming back to Shea for his first game against the Mets and tripling. That made me very happy. Wilson and Mazzilli also played for Toronto in the playoffs that year. Keep tearing up those trades, Mets.

Hot Foot
January 24, 2014
I remember the trade like it was yesterday. I was swimming in my backyard pool with my best friend John, and John's dad appeared at the backyard fence, and he yelled over to us- "The Mets just traded Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell to the Phillies for Juan Samuel!" John and I looked at each other in disbelief, and then I shouted "WE GOT JUAN SAMUEL!" and we both started celebrating. That's all I remember.

Now it sounds inexplicable that this happened, but back then, I saw Juan Samuel as a power hitting second baseman who would steal a lot of bases. I had no idea he was going to play center field. As for Roger and Lenny, I suppose I took them for granted by the summer of 89.

I remember I went to a Mets game shortly after Samuel joined the Mets and his picture was on the program for that series, but I don't remember anything about his play for the Mets; those memories have been blocked out.

Phil A. Buster
October 9, 2017
In 1984, Juan was Dwight Gooden’s biggest competitor for National League Rookie of the Year. His league-leading 19 triples and rookie leading 19 triples and rookie-record 72 stolen bases made him a candidate for the award. However, Samuel also led all N. L. players by making 33 errors and striking out 168 times. He came up more than a bit short in comparison to Gooden that year.

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