Bob Hendley – His New York Mets Career 1967

Bob HendeyLeft-handed pitcher Bob Hendley was acquired from the Chicago Cubs on June 12, 1967 in exchange for Rob Gardner and Johnny Stephenson. Prior to joining the Mets Hendley had pitched 7 seasons and had won 45 games during his career.

Hendley made his Mets debut on June 17 and pitched an inning of scoreless relief in the Mets 9-1 loss to the Cubs. Hendley finished out the season with the Mets and appeared in 15 games making 12 starts and 3 relief appearances. He posted a 3-3 record with a 3.44 ERA. His three victories came in three straight starts from July 13 to July 23. His best outing came on July 23 when he pitched a complete game four hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers, out pitching future Hall of Famer Don Drysdale.

Following the 67 season Hendley had elbow surgery; he remained in the Mets organization for two seasons but never made it back to the majors. He pitched the 1968 season for the Jacksonville Suns and the 1969 season with the Tidewater Tides. He retired following the 1969 season.

While with the Mets Hendley wore number 33.

Bob Hendley also played for the following teams:
Milwaukee Braves – 1961-1963
San Francisco Giants – 1964,1965
Chicago Cubs – 1965-1967

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Tommy Davis – His New York Mets Career 1967

Tommy DavisTommy Davis, a Brooklyn native, played 8 seasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers where he hit .304 and won two National League Batting titles, when the Mets acquired him in a trade prior to the 1967 season along with Derrell Griffith in exchange for Ron Hunt and Jim Hickman. He singled in his first at bat as a Met on Opening Day and went on to become the Mets best hitter for the 1967 season. Playing left field, he led the Mets in just about every offensive category including hits (174), doubles (32), home runs (16), RBIs (73), and average (.302). His 174 hits and 32 doubles at the time set single season franchise records.

Twice he hit two home runs on a game on July 13 in the Mets 7-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds.  His second came on August 12 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, a 6-1 Mets victory.

Despite his hugely successful year with the Mets, he was traded following the season to the Chicago White Sox. At the time many fans questioned the trade, but two years later the name Tommy Davis was forgotten as the two players the Mets acquired, Tommie Agee and Al Weis, helped the Mets win the World Series.

Tommy Davis would go on to play another nine seasons, but despite still maintaining a healthy average he was unable to stick with one team and bounced around among eight different teams.

While with the Mets Davis wore number 12.

Tommy Davis also played for the following teams:
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1959-1966
Chicago White Sox – 1968
Seattle Pilots – 1969
Houston Astros – 1969,1970
Oakland A’s – 1970,1971
Chicago Cubs – 1970,1972
Baltimore Orioles – 1972-1975
Kansas City Royals – 1976
California Angels – 1976

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Ed Charles – His New York Mets Career 1967-1969

Ed CharlesThe Met acquired 3rd baseman Ed Charles from the Kansas City A’s on May 10, 1967 in exchange for Larry Elliot.  He made his Met debut on May 12 as the starting 3rd baseman and number 3 hitter, he hit a sacrifice fly in his first at bat to drive in a run and finished the game 2 for 4 as the Mets lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 7-5.   Nicknamed “The Glider” due to his slick fielding and smooth base running he served as the Mets primary 3rd baseman appearing in 101 games.  He batted .238 with 3 home runs and 31 RBIs.   He had two four hit games for the Mets in 1967, on May 22 against the Los Angeles Dodgers and August 17 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

Charles returned in 1968 and was one of the most productive hitters on the team.  He hit .276 while leading the team in home runs with 15 and driving in 53 RBIs.  On May 20 he hit two home runs including the walk off game winner in the Mets 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He also hit two home runs in the Mets 5-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on June 6

In the Mets Championship season of 1969, he split the 3rd base job with Wayne Garrett with Charles playing against lefties and Garrett against righties.  He hit just .207 with 3 home runs and 18 RBIs.  On May 31 his 3-run home run helped propel the Mets to a 4-2 win over the San Francisco Giants.  He also hit a home run on September 24 against the St. Louis Cardinals, the game which clinched the National Eastern Division for the Mets. 

During the postseason Charles did not appear in the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves.  He did start 4 games in the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.  He batted just .133 (2 for 15).  Both his hits came in game 2 including a single in the 9th inning that started the Mets game winning rally.  He eventually scored the winning run on a single by Al Weis.  The Mets went on to win the Series in five games.

Following the season, the Mets released Charles and he decided to retire a winner.  In 3 seasons with the Mets Charles appeared in 279 games and batted .249 with 21 home runs and 102 RBIs.

While with the Mets Charles initially wore number 24 before switching to number 5

Ed Charles also played for the Kansas City A’s from 1962-1967.

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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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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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Wes Westrum – New York Mets Manager 1965-1967

Wes WestrumWhen Casey Stengel was forced to step down as Met manager in 1965 due to a broken hip the Mets named Wes Westrum the second manager in franchise history. Westrum a former catcher with the New York Giants was serving as pitching coach at the time.

Westrum managed the final 68 games of the 1965 season and under his guidance, the Mets went 19 and 48. In 1966, his first full season, Westrum led the Mets to a 66 – 95 record, a 16 game improvement, and though it still marked the Mets 5th consecutive losing season it also marked the first time the Mets didn’t lose 100 games and the first time they didn’t finish in last place; they finished in 9th. Though they were not expected to win a World Series heading into 1967, there were still many who expected the Mets to build on the previous year’s 9th place finish. However, the Mets did not show much improvement and Westrum sensing that he was not going to be retained for the 1968 season resigned with 11 games left in the season. At the time, the Mets were 57 and 94 and fully entrenched in last place.

Westrum’s final record with the Mets was 142 and 237.

While managing the Mets Westrum wore number 51 in 1965 and number 9 from 1966-1967

Wes Westrum also managed the San Francisco Giants in 1974 and 1975.

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Ralph Terry – His New York Mets Career 1966-1967

Ralph TerryThe Mets purchased the contract of right-handed Ralph Terry from the Kansas City A’s on April 6, 1966.  Terry was a former All-Star and World Series MVP having won the award as a member of the New York Yankees in 1962.  Unfortunately for the Mets his best days were behind him.

He made his Met debut on August 11, 1966 as the starting pitcher.  He lasted 5 1/3 innings and gave 4 runs as the Mets lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5, he was credited with a no-decision.  It was his only start on the season as he was sent to the bullpen where he finished out the season.  He made 10 relief appearances and posted a 0-1 record with a 4.74 ERA.

The Mets released Terry on November 30, 1966 only to resign him on April 12, 1967.  He made two relief appearances for the Mets in April before once again being released on May 16, ending his career. He posted 0-0 record with a 0.00 ERA in 3 1/3 innings.

In 13 games for the Mets Terry posted a 0-1 record with a 4.18 ERA in 28 innings.

While with the Mets Terry wore number 38.

Ralph Terry also played for the following teams:
New York Yankees – 1956,1957, 1959-1964
Kansas City A’s – 1957-1959, 1966
Cleveland Indians – 1965

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Bud Harrelson – His New York Mets Playing Career 1965-1977

Bud HarrelsonTypical of the shortstops of his era, Bud Harrelson was diminutive player with a strong glove and weak bat who anchored the Mets infield for 13 seasons.

Harrelson made his Major League debut on September 2, 1965 as pinch runner in the Mets 4-3 loss to the Houston Astros.  He appeared in 19 games and hit just .108 (4 for 37). He recorded his first league hit on September 19, a first inning single against the Chicago Cubs

He started the 1966 season in the minors before joining the Mets in August.  He appeared in 33 games and batted .222 with 4 RBIs.

1967 would be Harrelson’s first full season in the majors as the Mets everyday shortstop, a role he would remain in for the next decade.  He initially struggled as the everyday shortstop committing 21 errors over the first two months.  He settled down and committed just 11 over the next four months.  He hit .254 with a home run and 28 RBIs.   His first career home run came on August 17 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, it was an inside the park job that tied the score in the 8th inning in a game the Mets would win 6-5.

Injuries and a military obligation limited Harrelson to 111 games in 1968.  He hit just .219 with 14 RBIs.  He did finish with a .972 fielding percentage, the 3rd highest in the league.

During the Mets World Championship season in 1969, he solidified the Mets infield, taking away would be hits and turning double plays.  He hit .248 with 24 RBIs.  He was the offensive hero in the Mets 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on April 15.  He went 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs.  He also drove in the winning run with a walk-off single in the 10th inning on May 28.  On September 23 he once again hit a walk off single to win the game, this time in the 11th inning against future Hall of Famer Bob Gibson.

During the postseason he hit .182 with 3 RBIs in the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves.   In the World Series he hit .176 with 2 RBIs against the Baltimore Orioles but his stellar defense played a huge role as the Mets went on to shock the world and win their first championship.

Harrelson got off to a fast start in 1970.  He started off with a 6-game hitting streak and hit safely in 30 of his first 35 games.  During that stretch he hit his second career home run and the first that actually cleared the fence, a solo shot in the Mets 6-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on April 17.   He earned his first All-Star game selection and had a 54-game errorless streak from June until August.  For the season he hit .243 with a career best 42 RBIs.

In 1971 he earned his 2nd All-Star game selection, this time as the starting shortstop, and won his 1st and only Gold Glove Award.   He had a 10-game hitting streak in April and a 12-game streak in May.  On May 15 he went 4 for 5 with 3 RBIs in the Mets 9-5 win over the Pirates.  He had another 4-hit performance on August 5 against the Atlanta Braves, he drove in the only run as the Mets lost 2-1.  He finished with a .252 average and 32 RBIs.     

Injuries limited Harrelson to 115 games in 1972, he hit .215 with a home run and 24 RBIs.  He did lead the team in stolen bases with 12 and on base percentage with .313.

Injuries once again limited Harrelson in 1973, he appeared in just 106 games.  He was hitting .268 on June 4 when he was lost for a month with a fractured hand.  During the month of September, he hit safely in 22 of 27 games and batted .280 as he helped the Mets win the Eastern Division Title.  He finished the season with a career best .258 average with 20 RBIs.

 

Fight
Bud Harrelson and Pete Rose Fight During Game 3 of the 1973 NLCS

During the 1973 NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds he hit just .167 (3 for 18) with 2 RBIs as the Mets won the series in 5 games.  But he is most remembered for his actions in game 3.  With the Mets leading 9-2 in the 5th inning and on the verge of taking a 2-1 series lead a frustrated Pete Rose slid hard into Harrelson with what some consider a cheap slide trying to break up a double play.  Harrelson got up into Rose’s face and the next thing all hell broke loose as the two players got in a fight which eventually led to both benches being emptied.  When order was restored neither player was ejected but Met fans began got throw objects at Rose when he took his position in leftfield.  The game had to be halted and the Mets were told by the league office that they would have to forfeit if order was not restored.  Many Met players pleaded with the fans who eventually relented, and the Mets went on to win the game and the series.

 

The Mets lost the 1973 World Series in 7 games to the Oakland A’s with Harrelson hitting .250 with an RBI.

Harrelson got off to a fast start in 1974 recording three hits on Opening Day and hitting safely in 13 of his first 20 games.  He was hitting .279 at the end of April but injuries once again took their toll and he hit just .227 for the season with a home run and 13 RBIs.   He missed a majority of the 1975 season with a knee injury, appearing in only 34 games and batting just .219 with 2 home runs.

He rebounded slightly in 1976, hitting .234 in 118 games with a home run and 26 RBIs.  He struggled for the entire 1977 season and hit just .178 for the season and following the season the Mets decided to part ways with Harrelson by trading him to the Philadelphia Phillies. 

In 13 seasons and 1,322 game Harrelson batted .234 with 6 home runs and 242 RBIs.

Following his playing career Harrelson would go on to become a coach for the Mets in 1982 and 1985-1990.  He also managed the Mets in 1990 and 1991.

In 1986 he was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame.

While with the Mets Harrelson wore number 3.

Bud Harrelson also played for the following teams:
Philadelphia Phillies – 1978,1979
Texas Rangers – 1980

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