The Mets purchased the contract of Brooklyn born Joe Pignatano from the San Francisco Giants on July 13, 1962. Pignatano or “Piggy” as he was affectionately known finished out the season serving as the Mets backup catcher. He appeared in 27 games and hit .232 with 2 RBIs. His most famous at-bat occurred during his final plate appearance of the season and of his career when he hit into a triple play. Cubs 2 baseman Ken Hubbs caught his pop fly and then caught Richie Ashburn and Sammy Drake on the bases.
Pignatano played the next two seasons in the minors before retiring in 1964. He returned to the Mets in 1968 as a member of Gil Hodges coaching staff and served as a Mets coach through the 1981 season. He was known for maintaining a tomato garden in the Mets bullpen. He started the tradition in 1969 when the Mets won the World Series and continued it throughout his tenure as Met coach.
While playing for the Mets Pignatano wore numbered 5.
Joe Pignatano also played for the following teams:
Brooklyn Dodgers – 1957
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1958-1960
Kansas City A’s – 1961
San Francisco Giants – 1962