Every year, the New York Mets hold a holiday party at Citi Field. One of the team’s players dresses up as Santa Claus to help provide some excitement for the children in attendance. Ordinarily being chosen to play Santa would be an honor, but that role has become cursed for the Mets. Kevin Plawecki is rumored to be donning the suit for the Mets this year, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports, following in the footsteps of Noah Syndergaard. Syndergaard, who will be at the holiday party again this year, played Santa a year ago before suffering a lat tear a month into the season. Let’s take a look back at the misfortune Mets’ Santas have suffered over the years (with an assist to NJ.com for tracking the curse’s history):
2004: The curse began in 2004, when outfielder Mike Cameron played Santa at the holiday party. Cameron shifted over to right field in 2005 to make room for Carlos Beltran, and the two ended up suffering a nasty collision in San Diego late in the season. The awkward outfield collision left Cameron with multiple facial fractures. Cameron wouldn’t play another game for the Mets as he was traded away after the season.
2005: Starter Kris Benson played Santa in 2005, but the real drama came from his wife Anna. Anna came dressed as Mrs. Claus in an inappropriate costume for the occasion, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by the Mets’ front office officials. Benson was traded to the Baltimore Orioles a few months later.
2006: David Wright played Santa in 2006 and managed to avoid the curse himself, batting .325 with 30 homers and 107 RBI’s in 2007. Unfortunately for Wright, the team suffered an epic collapse that he was right in the middle of, blowing a seven game lead with 17 to play to miss the postseason.
2007: After winning 15 games in 2007, the Mets asked starter John Maine to play Santa at the party. Maine had a rough year in 2008, winning only 10 games and dealing with several shoulder injuries that derailed a promising Mets’ career.
2008: Mike Pelfrey was chosen to play Santa after a solid rookie year in 2008, where he posted a 3.72 ERA. Things went horrifically wrong for Pelfrey in 2009, when he went 10-12 with a 5.03 ERA.
2009: The Mets went with veteran outfielder Jeff Francoeur as their Santa pick in 2009. Frenchy looked great after joining the team in a mid-season trade, batting .311 with 10 homers in just 289 at bats. That would be the highlight of Francoeur’s Mets’ career, as he batted just .237 for them in 2010. Francoeur would get dealt to the Texas Rangers late in the season.
2010: Perhaps feeling emboldened by dodging the curse in 2007, Wright chose to don the suit again in 2010. That would prove to be a mistake as Wright suffered through an injury plagued 2011 campaign, including a stress fracture in his lower back that sidelined him for two months.
2011: Daniel Murphy played Santa in 2011 and managed to avoid a true catastrophe from the Santa curse, but his statistical performance was down in pretty much every offensive category in 2012.
2012: The Mets apparently wised up by having former Met John Franco play the role of Santa, but the curse still managed to hit R.A. Dickey, who was attending the event playing one of Santa’s elves. Dickey, who had just come off a Cy Young Award in a 20 win 2012, chose the holiday party as the place to air his grievances about the lack of progress towards a contract extension. Team officials were angered that Dickey chose the holiday party to whine about his deal, and he ended up getting traded to the Toronto Blue Jays a few weeks later.
2013: After suffering few ill effects from the Santa curse in 2011, Daniel Murphy tested fate again by donning the red suit for a second time. Teflon Daniel thrived in spite of the Santa suit in 2014, making the All Star team for the first time and showing that he was curse proof.
2014: The Mets tabbed then closer Jenrry Mejia to play the role of Santa after his breakthrough 2014 campaign. Mejia only appeared in seven games in 2015 after drawing a pair of steroid suspensions, and he is currently in the midst of a lifetime ban from baseball after a third positive test in 2016.
2015: After the Mets’ World Series campaign in 2015, the team asked rookie starting pitcher Steven Matz to play the role of Santana. Matz got off to a fast start in 2016, going 7-1, but was never the same after an elbow injury emerged in June. The injury plagued Matz for the rest of the year, and the Mets shut him down after August 14th to undergo surgery.
2016: Undaunted by what happened to Matz a year earlier, the Mets tested their luck again by having another starting pitcher dress up as Santa. This time, ace Noah Syndergaard played the role of St. Nick after a strong 2016 season. The curse struck Thor early as he suffered a partial lat tear on April 30th that would sideline him until late September.
Unless Plawecki turns out to be the second coming of Daniel Murphy, he is likely doomed to some sort of curse by agreeing to play Santa at the Mets’ holiday party. It remains to be seen what form the curse will take, but it is worth keeping in mind if you feel compelled to select Plawecki in your fantasy drafts this spring.