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Mets pitcher Matt Harvey’s hometown knew he would be special

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GROTON – Mystic native Matt Harvey has won both of his playoff games he started in, in leading the Mets to their first World Series in 15 years.

The three-time all state former pitcher for Groton’s Fitch High School is still remembered 20 years later.

“Matt was frequently found in the corner of the gym going through his wind-ups acting like he was on the mound pitching to kids and, you know, when you are in kindergarten, a lot of kids aren’t necessarily thinking that far in advance,” said Mike Porter, a physical education teacher and junior varsity baseball coach at Fitch who was Matt’s gym coach when he was younger.

Harvey’s catcher when Fitch won a state championship 10 years ago noticed one physical trait of the 6-foot-4 Harvey that’s helped him: long fingers.

“They just engulfed the baseball,” said Brian McGugan. “Anytime you have that kind of control of the ball you can do things that other people can’t do with the baseball.”

McGugan, like most in Groton, are incredibly proud, especially for who he is off the field.

“I have an 11-year-old son that really looks up to him.”

The place to be during the World Series is the Voodoo Grill in Mystic. The owner is a lifelong Mets fan, and when Matt Harvey is home he often hangs out there. 

“This can’t be any more exciting for me,” said Wes Clark, who has owned the Voodoo Café for 16 years. “The World Series, a local kid, from our high school being a star in the World Series. It’s just a lot of fun!”

High atop the wall above the bar at the Voodoo hangs a signed number 33 Harvey jersey with his signature on it.

Clark was not at the bar the night Harvey signed the jersey, but was told “he was here one night and a couple locals said ‘hey Matt, Wes is a big Mets fan. You want to sign this jersey for him?’ and he said sure. So they brought it down and he wrote a nice little message on it for us and we hung it back up. We put it out of reach so no one will snatch it on us.”

Staff Sgt. McGugan , Harvey’s high school friend and catcher who is a helicopter mechanic for the Army National Guard, leaves Groton next week for a 9-month deployment in Kuwait.

“I’m actually having a going away party tomorrow and he’s going to try to get there because they should be off,” said McGugan of Harvey.

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