Al Jackson – His New York Mets Career 1962-1965,1968,1969

Al JacksonThe Met drafted left-handed pitcher Al Jackson from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1961 expansion draft.  He made his Mets debut as the starting pitcher in their third game in franchise history on April 14, 1962.  He allowed 6 runs over 7 innings as the Mets lost to the Pirates 6-2.   He earned his first win on April 29 when he pitched the first complete game shutout in franchise history against the Philadelphia Phillies.  He also pitched the first one-hitter in team history on June 22 against the Houston Colt 45.s.   Overall for the season he went 8-20 with a 4.40 ERA, the lowest on the team.  He also led the team with 4 shutouts and tied Roger Craig with 118 strikeouts. 

Jackson posted a 13-17 record with 3.96 ERA in 1963 leading the team in winds and strikeouts with 142. 

In 1964 he was named the Opening Day Starter, unfortunately he lost to the Phillies.  But he was the winning pitcher in the Mets first win at Shea Stadium when he pitched a complete game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 19.  He finished with a 11-16 record and a 4.26 ERA once again leading the team in wins.  He also led the team with 11 complete games and 3 shutouts. 

Even though he won only 8 games in 1965 he tied with Jack Fisher for most on the team.  But he also finished with the second most losses on the team with 20.  He once again led the team in strikeouts with 120 and shutouts with 3.   His best game came on May 4 when he beat the Phillies 2-1 while striking out 10 batters.

Following the 1965 season he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals along with Charley Smith in exchange for Ken Boyer.  He was traded back to the Mets on October 16, 1967 in exchange for Jack Lamabe

He appeared in 25 games for the Mets in 1968, 9 as a starter and the 16 out of the bullpen. He finished 3-7 with a 3.69 ERA. 

Jackson appeared in 9 games out of the bullpen in 1969 before his contract was sold to the Cincinnati Reds on June 13.  At the time his record was 0-0 with a 10.64 ERA.

In 184 career appearances for the Mets he posted a 43-80 record with a 4.26 ERA.

Jackson returned to the Mets organization in 1981 when he managed their minor league club the Kingston Mets.  He also served on the Mets coaching staff in 1999 and 2000.

While with the Mets Jackson wore number 15 from 1962-1965 and number 38 from 1968-1969.

Al Jackson also played for the following teams:
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1959,1961
St. Louis Cardinals – 1966,1967
Cincinnati Reds – 1969

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Chuck Taylor – His New York Mets Career 1972

Chuck TaylorThe Mets acquired right-handed pitcher Chuck Taylor from the St. Louis Cardinals along with Jim Beauchamp, Harry Parker and Tom Coulter in exchange for Art Shamsky, Rich Folkers, Jim Bibby and Charlie Hudson on October 18, 1971.  He made his Met debut on April 16 pitching a scoreless 9th inning in the Mets 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He appeared in 20 games, all out of the bullpen, and posted an 0-0 record with 2 save and a 5.52 ERA before being demoted to the minors at the end of June.  He recorded his first save on April 25 when he pitched the final two innings in the Mets 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres.  His second save came on May 16 against the Montreal Expos, he pitched the final 3 2/3 innings in the Mets 7-3 victory.

He was placed on waivers and claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers on September 13.

While with the Mets Taylor wore number 42.

Chuck Taylor also played for the following teams:
St. Louis Cardinals – 1969-1971
Milwaukee Brewers – 1972
Montreal Expos – 1973-1976
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Randy Tate – His New York Mets Career 1975

Randy TateThe Mets drafted right-handed pitcher Randy Tate in the 5th round of the 1972 amateur draft.  He made his Major League debut with the Mets on April 14, 1975 against the Philadelphia Phillies.  He gave 3 earned runs over 8 innings and received a no-decision as the Mets lost 4-3. He earned his first career win in his next start on April 20 when he gave up no runs in 6 innings as the Mets defeated the Chicago Cubs 4-3. 

Tate would appear in 26 games for the Mets in 1975, 23 as a starter, and finished with 5-13 record with a 4.45 ERA.  On August 4 he no-hit the Montreal Expos for 7 innings and struck out 13 batters.  But he lost the game when he gave up 4 runs in 8th inning.

1975 would be Tate’s only season in the majors, he spent the next two seasons pitching in the Mets minor league system. 

While with the Mets Tate wore number 48

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Charlie Neal – His New York Mets Career 1962-1963

Charlie NealThe Mets acquired Charlie Neal along with Willard Hunter from the Los Angeles Dodger on December 15, 1961 in exchange for Lee Walls.  He was the starting 2nd baseman and number 3 hitter in the first game in Mets history.  He went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs.   He drove in the first run in franchise history with a 3rd inning single that scored Richie Ashburn.  He also homered in the game but the lost 11-4. 

Neal got off to a strong start for the Mets during the month of April.  He led all Mets hitters with a .309 average with 3 home runs and 9 RBIs.  On April 28 he hit 2 home runs in helping the Mets defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-6. 

Neal would go on appear in 136 games for the Mets in 1962, mainly as there 2nd baseman while also playing shortstop and 3rd base.  He batted .260 with 11 home runs (4th most on the team) and 58 RBIs (3rd most).  He led the team in triples with 9.

He returned to the Mets in 1963 but hit just .225 with 3 home runs with 18 RBIs and was traded to the Cincinnati Reds along with Sammy Taylor in exchange for Jesse Gonder on July 1.   He did have a 4-hit performance in the Mets 10-3 win over the Houston Colt 45’s on May 2.

In 208 games he batted .248 with 14 home runs and 76 RBIs.

While with the Mets Neal wore number 4.

Charlie Neal also played for the following teams:
Brooklyn Dodgers – 1956,1957
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1958-1961
Cincinnati Reds – 1963

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Ron Taylor – His New York Mets Career 1967-1971

Ron TaylorRon Taylor or Dr. Ron Taylor as he is now known is considered by many to be the first closer in franchise history. The Mets purchased the Canadian natives contract in February of 1967 from the Houston Astros. Taylor would spend five seasons with the Mets appearing in 269 games all out of the bullpen.

Taylor made his Mets debut on April 13, 1967 pitching the ninth inning to close out the Mets 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Because the save was not an official stat in 1967 he was not credited with one, but it was a save nonetheless. He would pitch in 50 games for the Mets, the most on the staff, and record eight “saves.”

His best season came in 1969 when he was the Mets best reliever out of the pen helping the Mets to their first World Championship. Once again, he led the team in appearances with 59 while posting a 9-4 record with a team best 13 saves, which were now an official stat in Major League baseball. He continued his strong pitching in the postseason earning a win and a save in the Mets three game sweep of the Atlanta Braves in National League Championship Series. He appeared in two games for the Mets in the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles saving game two, the Mets first win of the series.

He continued to be the Mets best reliever in 1970 saving another 13 games while appearing in 57 games. But with the emergence of Tug McGraw in 1971 Taylor was slowly being pushed aside and though he appeared in 45 games he only saved two. Following the 1971 season the Mets sold his contract to the Montréal Expos. He would not appear in game for the Expos eventually finding his way to the San Diego Padres where he finished his career.

In his five seasons with the Mets Taylor appeared in 269 games while posting a 21 and 21 record with a 3.04 ERA. He officially earned 28 saves 49 if you count the 21 he earned in 1967 and 1968 when the save was not an official stat.

Following his retirement from baseball Taylor attended medical school eventually becoming the team physician for the Toronto Blue Jays.

While with the Mets Taylor wore number 42.

Ron Taylor also played for the following teams:
Cleveland Indians – 1962
St. Louis Cardinals – 1963-1965
Houston Astros – 1965-1966
San Diego Padres – 1972

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Hank Webb – His New York Mets Career 1972-1976

Hank WebbThe Mets drafted right-handed pitcher Hank Webb out of Copiague High School on Long Island in the 10th round of the 1968 amateur draft.   He made his Major League debut on September 5, 1972 against the Chicago Cubs; he pitched an inning of relief and allowed 2 runs as the Mets lost 3-0.  He made his first career start in the second game of a doubleheader on September 8 against the St. Louis Cardinals.  He threw 7 innings and allowed four runs and was credited with a no-decision as the Mets lost 5-0 in 13 innings.  Webb would appear in 6 games for the Mets in 1972 and finished with a 0-0 record and 4.42 ERA.

Webb spent the 1973 season in the minors but did appear in 2 games for the Mets in the month of May.  He allowed 2 runs in 1 2/3 innings for an ERA of 10.80.

He earned a September call-up in 1974 and appeared in 3 games, 2 as a starter, and posted a 0-2 record with a 7.20 ERA.  His first appearance on September 11 was a memorable one as it occurred in the longest game in franchise history.  Webb entered the game in the 25th inning and was the losing pitcher as his errant pick off attempt led to the winning run by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Webb once again started the 1975 season in the minors before joining the Mets in May.  He finished out the season in New York and appeared in 29 games splitting time between the bullpen and starting rotation.  He posted a 7-6 record with a 4.07 ERA.  He earned his first career win on June 8 against the Atlanta Braves when he pitched a scoreless 14th inning before the Mets won it in the bottom of the frame.   He earned his first win as a starter on July 7 when he pitched a complete game and allowed just 1 unearned run against the Atlanta Braves.   He also earned the win in his next start on July 27 when he pitched 9 innings and allowed just 1 run as the Mets defeated the Cubs 4-1 in 10 innings.  He earned his first and only career shutout on August 25 against the San Diego Padres. 

He started the 1976 with the Mets and appeared in 8 games before being demoted to the minors in May.  His record at the time was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA,

Following the 1976 season the Mets traded Webb to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  In 48 appearances for the Mets over 5 seasons Webb went 7-9 with a 4.42 ERA.

While with the Mets Webb wore number 42 in 1972, number 30 in 1973 and 1976 and number 29 in 1974.

Hank Webb also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977.

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Tom Gorman – His New York Mets Career 1982-1985

Tom GormanThe Mets acquired left-handed pitcher Tom Gorman from the Montreal Expos on August 4, 1982 in exchange for Joel Youngblood.  He reported to the minors before joining Mets in September.  He made his Met debut on September 18 by pitching 1/3 of an inning in the Mets 6-2 loss to the St Louis Cardinals.  He made one more relief appearance before getting the nod to start on September 30 against the Chicago Cubs.  He allowed 5 hits and 2 runs over 7 innings but suffered the loss as the Mets fell 3-1.

He started the 1983 season in the minors before getting promoted in June. He appeared in 25 games, 4 as a starter, and posted a 1-4 record with a 4.93 ERA. He lost all of his 4 starts.   He earned his only win on September 3 when he pitched the final 2 innings in the Mets 15 inning win over the San Diego Padres. 

He once again started the 1984 season in the minors.  He joined the Mets in May and went on to become one of the team’s most effective relievers.  Appearing in 36 games he posted a 6-0 record with a 2.97 ERA.  During the month of September with the Mets battling the Cubs for the division title he went 3-0 in 6 appearances with a 1.04 ERA.

He spent the entire the entire 1985 season with the Mets and was the winning pitcher on Opening Day.  He went on to appear in 34 games, all but one out of the bullpen, and finished with a 4-4 record with a 5.13 ERA.   His only start was a disaster coming in one of the worst losses in franchise history.  On June 11 against the Philadelphia Phillies he gave 6 runs in just 1/3 of an inning as the Mets went on to lose 26-7.

The Mets released Gorman just prior to the 1986 season.  In 98 games for the Mets he posted an 11-9 record with a 4.10 ERA.

While with the Mets Gorman wore number 29.

Tom Gorman also played for the following teams:
Montreal Expos – 1981,1982
Philadelphia Phillies – 1986
San Diego Padres – 1987

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Salty Parker – New York Mets Manager 1967

Salty ParkerSalty Parker is probably the least known manager in Mets history. When Wes Westrum stepped down as manager with 11 games left in the 1967 season, Salty Parker, whose real name was Francis, was given the job. Parker was a coach on Westrum’s staff at the time. He managed the final 11 games of the season and finished with a 4-7 record.

While managing the Mets Parker wore number 54.

Salty Parker also managed the Houston Astros in 1972

 

Billy Wynne – His New York Mets Career 1967

Billy WynneRight-handed pitcher Billy Wynne was signed by the Mets as an amateur free agent in 1965. He worked his way through the Mets minor league system before making his Major League debut with the Mets on August 6, 1967. He pitched one inning of scoreless relief in the Mets 4-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants. He would go on to pitch in six games for Mets over the remainder of the season, five out of the bullpen and one as a starter. In his only start on August 17 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he lasted just 1 1/3 innings and allowed three earned runs.

In his six appearances for the Mets Wynne posted a 0-0 record with 3.12 ERA in 8 2/3 innings. Following the season Wynne was traded to the Chicago White Sox with Jack Fisher, Tommy Davis, and Buddy Booker in exchange for Tommie Agee and Al Weis.

While with the Mets Wynne both number 38 and 35.

Billy Wynne also played for the following teams:
Chicago White Sox – 1968-1970
California Angels – 1971

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Jerry Grote – His New York Mets Career 1966-1977

Jerry GroteThe Mets acquired catcher Jerry Grote, known more for his defense than his offense, from the Houston Colt 45’s on October 19, 1965 in exchange for Tom Parsons.  He made his Met debut on Opening Day 1966 and would spend the next 12 seasons as the team’s primary catcher.  In his first season with the Mets he hit just .237 with 3 home runs and 31 RBIs.  He did deliver the game winning hit on June 12 with a pinch-hit single in the 11th inning against the Cincinnati Reds. 

Grote hit a 2-run homer on Opening Day in 1967.  It was one of the few highlights of the season as he struggled at the plate hitting just .195 with 4 home runs and 23 RBIs.  The other highlight of his season was a 4 for 5 performance in the Mets 9-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on June 24.

Grote got off to fast start in 1968, hitting .333 over the first month of the season.  He continued to show improvement at the plate and was named the starting catcher for the 1968 National League All-Star team.  He ended the season with a .282 average with 3 home runs and 31 RBIs.  But more importantly he helped groom the Mets young pitching staff of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Nolan Ryan. 

In 1969 Grote’s average dipped to .252 but he hit 6 home runs and drove in 40 runs both career bests.  But it was his skills behind the plate which proved his value.  He threw out 56.3% of would be base stealers, 2nd highest in the league.  He also guided the Mets young pitching staff, a staff that led the league in shutouts with 16 and posted the 2nd lowest ERA in the league, 2.99, as the Mets shocked the world and won the 1969 World Series.    In the World Series the Mets staff held the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles to a .146 batting average for the series.  Grote also got a couple of key hits in the series. In game 2 his 9th inning single prolonged the Mets rally as they went on to win 2-1.  In game 4 he led off the 10th inning with a double, he was replaced by pinch runner Rod Gaspar who eventually scored the winning run.

In 1970 he hit .255 with a 2 home runs and 34 RBIs and continued his strong play behind the plate leading the league in putouts with 855.   On April 22 he set the Major League record for most putouts by a catcher in a game with 20, it was the game in which Tom Seaver struck out 20 batters.  He also had a 4-hit performance in the Mets 7-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on July 8.

He put up similar numbers in 1971 batting .270 with 2 home runs and 35 RBIs while once again leading all catchers in putouts with 892.  He also led the team in doubles with 25.  On May 3 he recorded 4 hits and scored the winning run in the 11th inning against the Chicago Cubs. 

Injuries limited him to just 64 games in 1972 and he hit just .210 with 3 home runs and 21 RBIs.  However, he did have his only multi-homer game of his career on May 19, his 2 home runs helped propel the Mets to an 8-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Grote missed 2 months of action in 1973 with a fractured right arm.  When he returned in the middle of July he helped the Mets capture the Eastern Division title.  He finished the season with a .256 average with a home run and 32 RBIs.    His one home run was a grand slam and helped the Mets defat the San Diego Padres 7-0 on August 15.  He also had a 4-hit performance against the Cincinnati Reds on August 18.   The Mets reached the World Series but lost to the Oakland A’s in seven games.   Grote caught all 12 postseason games.  He recorded 8 hits in the World Series and batted .267.

During the first half of the 1974 season he batted .287 with 4 home runs and 27 RBIs to earn his 2nd All-Star appearance.  Injuries took their toll on Grote in the second half and he finished the season with a .257 average and 5 home runs and 36 RBIs.

In 1975 Grote hit a career best .295 with 2 home runs on 39 RBIs.  On July 4 his pinch-hit home run in the 9th inning propelled the Mets to a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.  He also led all National League catchers with a .995 fielding percentage.

Grote hit .272 in 1976 with a 4 home runs and 28 RBIs.  He enjoyed a 4-hit game on April 19 against the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Grote saw diminished playing time in 1977 with the emergence of John Stearns as the team’s regular catcher.  He appeared in 42 games. the lowest total of his Met career and batted .270 with 7 RBIs.  The Mets traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 31 in exchange for a couple of minor leaguers. 

In 12 seasons with the Mets Grote batted .256 with 35 home runs and 357 RBIs. 

Though he never won a Gold Glove he was considered to be the best defensive catcher of his era.  In fact Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, who many consider to be the greatest defensive catcher in history, once said of Grote, “If Grote and I were on the same team, I would be playing 3rd base.”

Jerry Grote was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1992.

While with the Mets Grote wore number 15.

Jerry Grote also played for the following teams:
Houston Colt 45’s = 1963,1964
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1977,1978, 1981
Kansas City Royals – 1981

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