The New York Met acquired outfielder Mike Vail from the St. Louis Cardinals along with Jack Heidemann in exchange for Ted Martinez on December 11, 1974. In 1975, his first season in the Mets organization, Vail played for the Tidewater Tides and was named the International League Player of the year after hitting .342.
Vail was called up to the Mets in the middle of August and made his Major League debut on August 18, 1975. As a pinch hitter, he singled in his first big league at bat. From that point on Vail tore it up and was the hottest hitter on the team. He hit in 23 straight games, started with a 4 for 4 performance on August 25, to not only set the Mets franchise record but also set the Major League Rookie record. Vail hit safely in 33 of the 38 games he appeared in and finished the season hitting .302 average with 3 home runs and 17 RBIs.
The Mets were so convinced that they had found their new leftfielder that they traded Rusty Staub to the Detroit Tigers. Staub had driven in a club record 105 runs in 1975. But during the off-season Mike Vail injured his foot playing in a basketball game and was never the same player. The injury forced Vail to miss most of the 1976 season. When he was healthy he struggled at the plate hitting just .217 in 53 games.
A healthy Vail returned in 1977 but could not duplicate his earlier success. He hit a respectable .262 with 8 home runs and 35 RBIs in 108 games. Following the season the Mets sensing Vail would not be the player they once thought he would be sold his contract to the Cleveland Indians. He would go on to play another 7 seasons in the majors mainly as a pinch hitter.
In 199 games for the Mets over 3 seasons, Vail hit .262 with 11 home runs and 61 RBIs.
While with the Mets Vail wore number 31 in 1975 and number 6 from 1976-1977.
Mike Vail also played for the following teams:
Cleveland Indians – 1978
Chicago Cubs – 1978-1980
Cincinnati Reds – 1981,1982
Montreal Expos – 1983
San Francisco Giants – 1983
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1984