From First to Last: Forgotten Met Lastings Milledge and His Journey in Baseball

John MontegomeryContributor IJanuary 30, 2011

Lastings "Thrilledge L Milz" Milledge
Lastings "Thrilledge L Milz" MilledgeChris Trotman/Getty Images

Anyone who has been watching the Mets this decade remembers him, a.k.a. the guy with the weird name (he also went by Thrilledge and L-Milz). The Mets took him in the 2003 draft with their 12th pick after he was passed on due to his sex allegations with a minor.

No doubt controversial, he was hyped up as a major part of the future of the Mets team, a replacement for Floyd/Green in the future. He was raw, but packed immense talent and promise.

His talent, however, preceded his judgment. For all the talk and hype of him being the right fielder of the future for the Mets, he simply could not keep his act and brutish behavior together.

He celebrated too openly and was not afraid of a fight, berating other players and acting on his tough-guy persona. This eventually culminated in an unknown player or players leaving a note on his locker that read, "Know your place, rook."

It was certainly unfortunate. He had a respectable start to his 2007 campaign with decent numbers all around. Unfortunately, his end was clear when word got out that he appeared on a rap song titled "Bend Ya Knees" which featured fairly profane language.

Mets ownership was not pleased. They immediately issued a statement against the support of such views and language, but it was clear that a divergence had occurred. This eventually culminated in him being traded during the 2007 offseason to the Nationals for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider.

Milledge never quite became the player that so many thought he could. He didn't quite prosper in Washington, eventually being traded to Pittsburgh during the 2009 season.

He spent all of 2010 with the Pirates, playing in 113 games but not much to show for it (.277/.332). His power also waned, as he muddled in only four home runs and 34 RBI in 379 plate appearances.

Following the end of the season, the Pirates decided not to re-sign him and he is now currently a free agent looking for any team to cling on to. It doesn't help that even the Pirates decided against re-signing him, which would have cost them just $1 million.

Since his departure from Pittsburgh, a Dec. 13, 2010 scuffle certainly has not aided him in his search of a new team. During a Venezuelan winter league game, he got into a fight, adding another insult to his otherwise quiet career.

And now, as a free agent, he waits to see what his career has in store for him. As a former first-round pick he had many expectations and was a player whom I enjoyed and was hoping great things for (I actually own his player tee).

In the end, Milledge remains a prime example of a young athlete who, like so many before him, have failed to live up to their full potential.

He can still salvage a future, however; after all, he is only 25 and he has more than enough time to reestablish himself and seek to claim the lofty expectations of himself so many years ago.