Jim Bethke – His New York Mets Career 1965

Jim BethkeThe Mets signed right-handed pitcher Jim Bethke as an amateur free agent prior to the 1964.  After spending the 64 season in the minors, Bethke made his Major League debut as an 18-year-old rookie on April 12, 1965.  He pitched a scoreless 9th inning in the Mets 6-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Three days later he earned his first win against the Houston Astros.  He pitched the final 2/3 of an inning before the Mets won the game on a Bobby Klaus walk-off home run.

In his only season in the Majors Bethke appeared in 25 games, all out of the bullpen, and posted a 2-0 record with a 4.28 ERA.   He pitched in the Mets minor league system through 1970

While with the Mets Bethke wore the following numbers 41,28 and 36.

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Warren Spahn – His New York Mets Career 1965

Warren SpahnWarren Spahn, the winningest left-handed pitcher in baseball history, was sold to the New York Mets by the Milwaukee Braves prior to the 1965 season.  Though his best days were clearly behind him the Mets were hoping to squeeze a few wins out of him while he mentored some of their young pitchers by serving as a player-coach.  In his Mets debut on April 14th against the Houston Astros, Spahn pitched eight strong innings but suffered a no decision in a game the Mets would lose 7-6 in extra innings.  He would win his next two starts and it appeared that Spahn still had some gas left in the tank.  But it suddenly became apparent that wasn’t the case, as he lost five of his next eight starts.  With his record at 4 and 12 and an ERA of 4.36 the Mets released Spahn on July 22nd.  He was picked up by the San Francisco Giants where he finished out the season.  He retired following the season.   

Spahn won 363 games during his career and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. He was the second player inducted into the Hall who had played for the Mets, the first was Yogi Berra.

While with the Mets Spahn wore number 21. 

Warren Spahn also played for the following teams:
Boston Braves – 1942,1946-1952
Milwaukee Braves – 1953-1964
San Francisco Giants – 1965

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Gary Kolb – His New York Mets Career 1965

Gary KolbThe Mets acquired Gary Kolb from the Milwaukee Braves on July 21, 1965 in exchange for Jesse Gonder.  He made his Met debut on the same day against the Pittsburgh Pirates as the leadoff hitter and starting centerfielder.  He went 0 for 4 as the Mets won 1-0.  Kolb would appear in 40 games for the Mets in 65 playing mostly in the outfield.  He batted .167 with a home run and 7 RBIs.  His one home run came on August 6th against the Chicago Cubs, a three-run shot that drove in all three runs in a 4-3 loss.

Following the season Kolb was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates along with Dennis Ribant in exchange for Don Cardwell and Don Bosch.

While with the Mets Kolb wore number 18.

Gary Kolb also played for the following teams:
St. Louis Cardinals – 1960,1962,1963
Milwaukee Braves – 1964,1965
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1968,1969

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Roy McMillan – His New York Mets Playing Career 1964-1966

Roy McMillanRoy McMillan, a former All-Star and gold glove shortstop, was nearing the end of his career, when the Mets acquired him from the Milwaukee Brewers on May 8, 1964 in exchange for pitcher Jay Hook.  He made his Met debut on May 9th as the starting shortstop and went 0-3 at the plate.  He would finish out the season as their everyday shortstop, he hit .211 with a home run and 2 RBIs.  His one home run came on September 7, a two-run shot in the Mets 7-5 victory over the Houston Colt 45’s.

McMillan returned in 1965 and led the team in game played with 157 (at the time a franchise record) while also leading the team with 106 singles.  For the season, he hit .242 with a home run and 42 RBIs.   His most productive streak occurred from August 16-28 when he hit .333 with 8 RBIs over 14 games.

In what would be his last season as a Major League player, McMillan saw less playing time in 1966 appearing in just 76 games.  He hit just .214 with a home run and 12 RBIs.  Despite his low batting average, he did have a few highlights at the plate for the season.  On May 29 against the Dodgers he drove in the winning run in the 9th inning with a single.  He hit his last career home run on July 20 against future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal of the San Francisco Giants.  It broke a 1-1 tie in the 8th inning in a game the Mets would win in 10 innings.

For his Mets career McMillan appeared in 346 games and hit .226 with 3 home runs and 79 RBIs.

McMillan returned to the Mets and served as coach from 1973-1976.  He even served as interim manager in 1975 following the firing of Yogi Berra. In 53 games his record was 26-27.

While playing for the Mets McMillan wore number 11.

Roy McMillan also played for the following teams:
Cincinnati Reds – 1952-1960
Milwaukee Braves – 1961-1964

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Dave Eilers – His New York Mets Career 1965,1966

Dave EilersThe Mets purchased right-handed pitcher Dave Eilers from the Milwaukee Braves on August 18, 1965.  He made his Met debut on August 22nd pitching a scoreless 9th inning in the Mets 7-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.  He would go on pitch in 11 games for the Mets for the remainder of the season, all out of the bullpen.  He finished with 1-1 record and 4.00 ERA in 18 innings.  His one victory came on August 24th against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he pitched a scoreless 9th inning in the Mets 4-3 win.

Eilers returned to the Mets in 1966 appearing in 23 games before being demoted to the minors.  Once again, he would post a 1-1 record with 4.67 ERA.

Following the season Eilers was drafted by the Houston Astros in the minor league draft ending his tenure with the Mets

EIlers appeared in 34 games with a 2-2 record and 4.44 ERA.

While with the Mets Eilers wore number 38.

Dave Eilers also played for the Milwaukee Braves in 1964 and 1965 and the Houston Astros in 1967.

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Jim Hickman – His New York Mets Career 1962-1966

Jim HickmanThe New York Mets drafted Jim Hickman, a career minor leaguer with the St Louis Cardinals, in the 1961 expansion draft.  An original Met he would play a total of five seasons for New York before being traded to the Dodgers following the 1966 season.  While with the Mets he was a steady player who put up some solid power numbers despite not hitting for much of an average.  He also became a walking trivia answer as he became the first Met to accomplish several feats.

Hickman made his Met as well as his Major League debut on April 14, 1962 as a pinch hitter for pitcher Al Jackson. For the record he popped up to shortstop.  He would eventually become a regular member of the Mets starting lineup, playing all three outfield positions.  He didn’t hit for much of an average, just .245, but put up some decent power numbers in his first season, 13 home runs (3rd most on the team), 18 doubles with 46 RBIs.

In 1963, he hit just .229 but managed to lead the team with 17 home runs and 6 triples. But his biggest accomplishment occurred on August 7th at the Polo Grounds when he became the first player in franchise history to hit for the cycle in the Mets 7-3 victory over the St Louis Cardinals.  It was a natural cycle meaning he hit a single, double, triple and home run in that order, at the time he was just the sixth player in Major League history to record such a feat.   Hickman also became the answer to another trivia question a month later when he became the last player to hit a home run at the old Polo Grounds, the Mets home stadium during their first two seasons.

His numbers over the next two seasons were more of the same, in 1964 he hit .257 with 11 homers and 57 RBIs and in 1965 he hit .236 with 15 home runs and 40 RBI’s.  In 1965, he accomplished another first in Met history when he became the first player to hit three home runs in a game on September 3rd against the St Louis Cardinals, the Mets won the game 6-3.

Hickman missed a majority of the 1966 season with a wrist injury, appearing in only 58 games.  Following the season, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with Ron Hunt in exchange for Tommy Davis and Derrell Griffith. 

His final Met numbers were a .241 average with 60 home runs and 210 RBIs in 624 games.

 While with the Mets Hickman wore number 9 from 1962-1965 and numbers 27 and 6 in 1966.

Jim Hickman also played for the following teams:
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1967
Chicago Cubs – 1968-1973
St. Louis Cardinals – 1974

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Billy Cowan – His New York Met Career 1965

billy cowanBilly Cowan, who had hit 19 home runs with the Cubs in 1964, was acquired by the Mets in exchange for George Altman prior to the 1965 season. He went 0-4 in his Met debut and went on to hit just .179 for the season splitting time between 2nd base, shortstop and the outfield.  The highlight of his brief Met career came on June 28th and 29th when he hit home runs in back to back games.  He would hit 3 homers on the season with 9 RBIs before the Mets traded him to the Milwaukee Braves on August 5th in exchange for two players to be named later. The Braves would eventually send Ernie Bowman and Lou Klimchock to compete the trade.

He would play seven more seasons splitting time between the majors and the minors before retiring after the 1971 season. 

While with the Mets Cowan wore number 3.

Billy Cowan also played for the following teams:
Chicago Cubs – 1963,1964
Milwaukee Braves – 1965
Philadelphia Phillies – 1967
California Angels – 1969-1972
New York Yankees – 1969

Charley Smith – His New York Mets Career 1964,1965

Charley SmithA week into the 1964 season the Mets acquired Charley Smith from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Chico Fernandez and Bobby Catton.  Smith made his Met debut the next day in the 7th inning as a defensive replacement for third baseman Rod Kanehl.  Two innings later he popped out to third base in his first at bat as a Met.  Smith would start his Met career 0 for 25, before getting his first hit on May 3rd.  From that day on Smith settled in as the Mets regular third baseman, though he also played a handful of games at shortstop and the outfield.  He led the Mets with 20 home runs while hitting .239 with 58 RBIs. The highlight of his season came on August 17 when he went 2 for 4 with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs in the Mets 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Charley Smith returned as the Mets regular third baseman in 1965 and hit .244 with 16 home runs and led the team with 62 RBIs.  But he also led the team with 123 strikeouts.   

Following the 65 season the Mets traded Smith to the St. Louis Cardinals along with Al Jackson in exchange for former All-Star Ken Boyer. 

In 262 games over two seasons Charley Smith hit .242 with 36 home runs and 120 RBIs. 

While with the Mets Smith wore number 1.

Charley Smith also played for the following teams:
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1960,1961
Philadelphia Phillies – 1961
Chicago White Sox – 1962-1964
St. Louis Cardinals – 1966
New York Yankees – 1967,1968
Chicago Cubs – 1969

Darrell Sutherland – His New York Mets Career 1964-1966

Darrell SutherlandAfter spending one year in the Philadelphia Phillies minor league system, the Mets selected right handed pitcher Darrell Sutherland off waivers prior to the 1964 season.  After starting the 1964 season in the minors, Sutherland made his Major League debut with the Mets on June 28th against the Milwaukee Brewers.  He started the game and lasted just 1/3 of an inning allowing three hits and five earned runs.  He would appear in ten games for the Mets, four as a starter, before being shipped back to the minors in August.  For the season, he went 0-3 with 7.76 ERA in 26 2/3 innings.

Sutherland once again started the 1965 season in the minors. He returned to the Mets on August 8th and pitched remarkably well for the remainder of the season.  In 18 appearances, two as a starter, he won 3 and lost 1 while posting a 2.81 ERA in 48 innings.  His first career win came on August 10th against the Houston Astros when he pitched four innings of relief without allowing a hit in a game the Mets would win 1-0. 

In 1966, he split time between the majors and the minors appearing in 31 games for the Mets all out of the bullpen.  He posted a 2-0 record but his ERA 4.87 in 44 1/3 innings. 

1966 would be his last season with the Mets, he spent the entire 1967 season in the minors with the Williamsport Mets, their double A affiliate, where he posted a 6-3 record with 4.11 ERA.  From there he moved on to the Cleveland Indians organization. 

In 59 games for the Mets Sutherland posted a 5-4 record with 4.69 ERA in a 119 innings.  Each of his 5 victories came in relief while each of his 4 losses came as a starter.

While with the Mets Sutherland wore number 47 in 1964, number 43 in 1965 and number 46 in 1966.

Darrel Sutherland also played for the Cleveland Indians in 1968.

 

Frank Lary – His New York Mets Career 1964,1965

frank-laryThe Mets purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Frank Lary from the Detroit Tigers on May 30, 1964.  The former All-Star made his Met debut the following day pitching two innings of scoreless relief in what at the time was the longest game in Mets history.  The game which the Mets lost 8-6 was the second game of a doubleheader and lasted 23 innings.  Lary would go on to pitch in 13 games for the Mets splitting time between the bullpen and starting rotation.  He won 2 and lost 3 while posting a 4.55 ERA.  

Following a two-hit shutout victory on July 31st against the Houston Colt 45’s the Mets traded Lary to the Milwaukee Braves in exchange for reliever Dennis Ribant.  He finished out the season with the Braves only to return to the Mets when they purchased his contract during the off-season.

Lary pitched in 14 games for the Mets in 1965, once again splitting time between the bullpen and starting rotation.  He posted a 1-3 record with 2.98 ERA. His one victory came on May 24 against the Philadelphia Phillies when he allowed 1 run and 3 hits over 8 innings. 

The Mets once again traded Lary in the middle of the season, this time to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Jimmie Schaffer. He finished out the year with the White Sox before retiring following the season.

Overall Frank Lary pitched in 27 games for the Mets over two seasons and posted a 3-6 record with a 3.77 ERA.

While with the Mets Frank Lary wore number 17.

Frank Lary also played for the following teams:
Detroit Tigers – 1954-1964
Milwaukee Braves – 1964
Chicago White Sox – 1965