While joking that "the Internet keeps me alive," Ventura denies reports that he and Ryan later became friends. "I've never met him," he says.
Though Ventura badly injured his ankle during a spring training exhibition in 1997, he enjoyed one of his most productive seasons two years later, batting a career-high .301 with 32 home runs and a career-high 120 RBIs for the Mets.
By the time he was traded from the Yankees to the Dodgers in 2003, however, he was mostly a role player.
Two years later, he was virtually immobile without a cane.
"People with post-traumatic arthritis are miserable," notes Bugbee, his doctor. "You don't realize it until you live with it