“I guarantee you that Darrell Ceciliani will make it to the major leagues,” said then Cyclone Manager and former New York Met Wally Backman midway through the 2010 season.
“I know major league talent and Ceciliani has what it takes to play ball at the big league level,” stated Backman on the Cyclones’ 2010 MVP Sterling Award winner’s chances of making it “the show.”
After re-uniting with his Brooklyn MVP five years later at Triple-A Las Vegas, Manager Wally Backman had the satisfaction of delivering the news of Ceciliani’s New York Met call-up on the road in Tacoma, Washington while the Ceciliani family was visiting from their ranch in Madras Oregon.
With the Mets needing a left-handed outfielder on the bench, Ceciliani got the call-up to Citi Field hitting .336 with five home runs for the Las Vegas 51s. Getting into his first game as a pinch-hitter on May 19 against the Cardinals’ pitching ace Michael Wacha, Ceciliani reached first safely for his first major league hit on a bounding infield chop to second base.
Although glad to have reached base safely for his debut, Ceciliani admitted that he never envisioned his first big league hit to be like that.
“He’s worked real hard since he’s got here,” said Met Manager Terry Collins. “It’s not easy to come off the bench and to be productive after playing everyday at Triple-A.” Besides getting some clutch hits off the bench, Ceciliani is also helping the Mets with his defense in the outfield, a part of the game that Ceciliani as a 19-year-old showcased in centerfield at Brooklyn’s MCU Park.
Inserted to lineup in left field to give Michael Cuddyer a rest, Ceciliani rallied the Mets for a comeback win this past Sunday June 14. Trailing the Braves 8-3 in the fourth inning, Ceciliani hit his first major league home run into the right field upper deck to spark a seven-run rally for a 10-8 win over Atlanta to allow the Mets to keep a slim first place lead over the second place Washington Nationals.
“It was such a great feeling,” stated Ceciliani on his first major league home run. “Fortunately, I got a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it.”
When asked whether his performance over the past few weeks confirms that he belongs at the big league level, Ceciliani answered, “Definitely.” The 24- year-old Oregon off-season ranch hand also went on to say, “The organization has the belief in me to come up here to play, and I just want to make the most of my opportunities.”