Michael James Nickeas (born February 13, 1983) is a Canadian former professional baseball catcher. Nickeas played four seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays.
Nickeas with the Buffalo Bisons in 2013
|Born: February 13, 1983|
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
|September 4, 2010, for the New York Mets|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 10, 2013, for the Toronto Blue Jays|
|Runs batted in||19|
|Representing United States|
|Pan American Games|
|2003 Santo Domingo||National team|
|Representing Great Britain|
|European Baseball Championship|
|2007 Montjuïc||National team|
Nickeas was born in Vancouver, while his father played for the Vancouver Whitecaps of the NASL. His father, Mark, is from England, and his mother is American. He grew up in California and graduated from Westlake High School in Westlake Village, California. Nickeas led his high school team to the Mamonte League Championship in 2000 and 2001 and was the MVP his senior year of high school in 2001.
Nickeas played three years for the Georgia Tech baseball team. He was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 5th round of the 2004 draft. He played for the USA youth team, junior national team and the USA National team, becoming only the second player in USA baseball history to play on 3 teams. In 2007, he switched his allegiance to Great Britain and played for the team in the 2007 European Baseball Championship. He was voted to the tournament's all-star team as the British team finished as silver medalists.
Nickeas started his pro career with the Spokane Indians of the Northwest League. He batted .288 with 10 HRs and 55 RBIs for Spokane. In 2005, he played for the Rangers' Double-A affiliate, Frisco RoughRiders. He batted for a .202 average with five home runs and 24 runs-batted-in in 68 games, but Baseball America named Nickeas the best defensive catcher in the Rangers minor league system.
New York MetsEdit
On August 30, 2006, he was traded to the New York Mets for outfielder Víctor Díaz. In 2007, he split time between the "High A" St. Lucie Mets and Double-A Binghamton Mets and in 2008, he split time between Binghamton and the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs.
Nickeas earned his first promotion to the major leagues on September 2, 2010. He made his major league debut the same day on Jenrry Mejía's first major league start on September 4, 2010 as he was the Mets catcher against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. On September 29, he got his first two major league hits against the Milwaukee Brewers. He hit his first major league home run April 21, 2011, off Houston Astros pitcher J.A. Happ.
On May 1, 2011 he was sent down to the minors as Ronny Paulino came up to the Mets.
For the beginning of the 2012 Mets season, Nickeas played as a backup catcher for Josh Thole. On May 26, 2012, Nickeas hit a grand slam at Citi Field, scoring Ike Davis, Vinny Rottino, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. On July 25, Nickeas was once again sent down to the minors as Rob Johnson came up to the Mets. He was recalled on September 1 due to rosters expanding.
On November 9, Nickeas signed a minor league deal with the Mets with an invitation to spring training. He had elected free agency after being outrighted off the 40-man roster.
Toronto Blue JaysEdit
On December 17, 2012, the Mets traded Nickeas, R.A. Dickey, and Josh Thole to the Toronto Blue Jays for Travis d'Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, John Buck, and Wuilmer Becerra. He was assigned to the Buffalo Bisons, the Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate, for whom Nickeas had previously played, when it had been the Mets' Triple-A affiliate. On August 8, 2013, it was reported that Nickeas has been hit with a pitch, resulting in a non-displaced hairline fracture on his forearm. Up to his injury, Nickeas had played 49 games for the Bisons, and batted just .166 with 1 home run and 11 RBI. His contract was selected by the Blue Jays on September 3 after the Bisons season ended, and the major league rosters expanded. Nickeas made only one appearance with the Blue Jays in 2013, coming in as a defensive replacement against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on September 10. He did not make a plate appearance, and was outrighted to Buffalo on October 4.
Nickeas was invited to 2014 spring training, and sent to minor league camp on March 24, 2014. He spent the entire 2014 season with the Buffalo Bisons, batting .207 in 49 games. On March 9, 2015, it was reported that Nickeas had retired from baseball and gone back to school at Georgia Tech.
- "Mike Nickeas Bio". Mets.com. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- Martino, Andy (September 3, 2010). "Mike Nickeas finally reaches the major leagues as September call-up catcher for New York Mets". Daily News. New York.
- McCullough, Andy (November 9, 2012). "Mets backup catcher Mike Nickeas agrees to minor-league deal". The Star-Ledger.
- "Dickey trade to Blue Jays official". foxsports.com. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- "Bisons start with experienced roster". The Buffalo News. April 1, 2013. Archived from the original on April 5, 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- "Buffalo Bisons Banter: Bisons grab lead of wild-card, Mike Nickeas fractures arm". BlueBirdBanter.com. August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
- Lott, John (September 2, 2013). "Blue Jays call up Ricky Romero, Kyle Drabek and three others for September". National Post. Archived from the original on September 3, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- "Blue Jays option Anthony Gose to Herd". Buffalo Bisons. March 24, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- "Mike Nickeas Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
- "Jamie Campbell on Twitter". Twitter. March 9, 2015. Retrieved March 9, 2015.