If there’s one team that doesn’t need any kind of curse, no matter how offbeat and silly, it’s the New York Mets. According to multiple reports, the Mets have something called the “Santa Curse” that afflicts any player on the team who dons St. Nick’s outfit for the team’s annual children’s Christmas Party.
According to the New York Daily News, the jolly jinx dates back to 2004, when Mike Cameron played Santa at the party only to suffer an injury a few short months later in a horrible outfield collision with Carlos Beltran.
This year, Mets second baseman David Murphy (above) was charged with the task of playing Santa. And despite rumors swirling about a possible trade from the team, Murphy shrugged off any notion that there is a jinx tied to Santa Claus.
“You’re lucky if you get through 162 games without going on the DL,” said Murphy, who played in 161 games in 2013. “I’ve (played Santa) before.”
Murphy, who previously played Santa in 2011 and emerged unscathed, may nevertheless want to defer to the historical trend of injuries, maladies and bad luck that has befallen those who have portrayed Kris Kringle at the annual event.
The Year: 2009
The Santa: Jeff Francoeur
The Fallout: The affable Francoeur seemed a perfect choice for Santa after raking in his first few months after a trade to New York. He scored points for his jolliness, before hitting just .237 for the Mets in 2010 and losing his starting job to Angel Pagan. Frustrated with his production, the Mets eventually dealt Francoeur to the Rangers, who cut him after the season.
The Year: 2010
The Santa: David Wright
The Fallout: Making his second career appearance as Santa, Wright suffered a stress fracture in his lower back the following April, struggled while attempting to play through the pain, and ultimately spent more than two months on the disabled list. The resulting career lows in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging were only half the story; Wright also endured fallout from owner Fred Wilpon’s critical comments about him in the New Yorker magazine.
The Year: 2011
The Santa: Daniel Murphy
The Fallout: Perhaps Murphy ended the curse once and for all? It was not until after tearing ligaments in both knees that Murphy played Santa in 2011, still recovering from the second injury. Though he recovered to play a full healthy season in 2012, Murphy did not enjoy the same type of success that he had in 2011.
The Year: 2012
The Santa: John Franco
The Cameo: R.A. Dickey
The Fallout: The Mets wised up in 2012, using a former player instead of a current one for their Santa. It didn’t matter. Despite not receiving an original invite, Dickey attended the party as well, using it as a platform to express disappointment with his contract negotiations. A week later, the Mets traded him to the Blue Jays.
Yep, it sure seems like a curse (the entire rundown can be found here).
And as mentioned above, Anna Benson has played a tangential role in the alleged “Santa Curse.”
In 2005, Anna’s husband, pitcher Kris Benson, played Santa. And of course, Anna being Anna, she showed up in a very revealing and inappropriate Mrs. Claus outfit as escort to her hubby.
Yowsers. For a children’s party, even. Yamma hamma.
And yep, Kris Benson was traded one month later to the Baltimore Orioles. Although it’s hard to say for sure which component prompted the trade: Kris’ performance on the field or Anna’s cleavage off of it. Hard to say, really.
Then again, in light of recent events involving the Bensons, perhaps wearing a Santa suit played only a minor role in the couple’s descent into dysfunction.