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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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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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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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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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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J. C. Martin His New York Mets Career 1968,1969

JC MartinThe Mets acquired catcher J.C. Martin from the Chicago White Sox along with minor leaguer Billy Southworth in exchange for Ken Boyer and Sandy Alomar on November 27, 1967. Martin made his Met debut as their Opening Day catcher in 1968 against the San Francisco Giants.  He went 1 for 4 as the Mets lost 4-3.  He also fractured his finger which forced him to miss a month of playing time.  When he returned to action in May he served as the backup catcher to Jerry Grote.  He appeared in 78 games and batted .225 with 3 home runs and 31 RBIs. 

Martin returned in 1969 and served in the same capacity as 1968.  In the Mets Miracle Word Championship season, he hit .209 with 4 home runs and 21 RBIs. 

In the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves he pinch hit twice. In game number one he singled and drove in two runs to cap a 5 run rally in the 8th inning to help solidify the Mets 9-5 win. 

Martin made one pinch hit appearance in the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.  His one at bat was one of the most memorable and controversial plays of the series.  It came in the 10th inning of game 4 with the game tied at 1.  With Rod Gaspar on second base representing the winning run Martin laid down on a perfect sacrifice bunt.  As he was running to first Oriole pitcher Pete Richert’s throw hit Martin on the left wrist and the ball ricocheted into foul territory.  Gaspar rounded third and scored the winning run.  The Orioles argued that Martin was out of the base line, but the umpires disagreed, and the Mets had a 3 games to 1 lead in the series.  The Mets won the next day and won the first World Series title in franchise history.

Martin’s bunt in the World Series turned out to be his last appearance in a Mets uniform as he was traded to the Chicago Cubs in the offseason in exchange for minor leaguer Randy Bobb.

In 144 games over two seasons Martin hit .219 with 7 home runs and 52 RBIs.

While with the Mets Martin wore number 9.

J.C, Martin also played for the following teams:
Chicago White Sox – 1959-1967
Chicago Cubs – 1970-1972

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Les Rohr – His New York Mets Career 1967,1968,1969

Les RohrLes Rohr is known for three things in Met history, he was the first player selected by the Mets in the 1965 amateur draft, he was the losing pitcher in the longest game in Met history (at the time), and he was the first and currently the only Met player born in England.

In the first ever amateur draft by Major League Baseball in 1965, left-handed pitcher Les Rohr was selected #2 overall by the New York Mets. However, he never lived up to his potential and appeared in just six games in three seasons for the Mets.

Rohr would not make his Met debut until 1967 when he was called up in September. On September 19th, Rohr took the mound as the Mets starting pitcher and earned his first win against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He pitched six innings and allowed three runs in the Mets 6-3 victory. He would lose his next start against the Houston Astros, but finished out the season by shutting out the Dodgers 5-0 and out pitching future Hall of Famer Don Drysdale. Unfortunately, it would be his last win in a major league uniform.

Rohr started the 1968 season with the Mets. He made his season debut on April 15th, pitching the final 2 1/3 innings of a 24-inning game against the Houston Astros, at the time the longest game in franchise history. Rohr surrendered the only run of the game and suffered the loss. He appeared in one more game as a starter on April 21st and lasted just 3 2/3 innings and suffered the loss. After the game, he was shipped down to the minors where he stayed for the next two seasons before being recalled on September 19th, 1969. He pitched just 1 1/3 innings and allowed three earned runs in the Mets 8-2 defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It would be Rohr’s last appearance as a major leaguer.

Rohr spent the 1970 season pitching in the Met minor league system splitting time between the Tidewater Tides and Memphis Blues before retiring. In six appearances for the Mets Rohr finished with a 2-3 record and 3.70 ERA in 24 1/3 innings.

While with the Mets Rohr wore number 31 in 1967 and 1968 and number 33 in 1969.

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Jerry Buchek – His New York Mets Career 1967-1968

Jerry BuchekThe Mets acquired utility player Jerry Buchek from the St. Louis Cardinals on April 1, 1967 along with Ed Bressoud and Danny Napoleon in exchange for Art Mahaffey and Tony Martinez.  He made his Mets debut on April 11, 1967, Opening Day, as there starting 2nd baseman.  He went 0 for 2 with a walk in the Mets 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He would go on to appear in 124 games for the Mets in 1967, mostly at 2nd base but also seeing time at shortstop and 3rd base.  He hit .236 with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs.

His first hit as a Met was a 2-run home run in the Mets 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 13.  Some other highlights of his 1967 season included a 9th inning 2 out pinch-hit home run on July 9 to tie the game against the Atlanta Braves.  A game the Mets would go on to win 5-4.  He hit two home runs in the Mets 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs on September 2.   He also hit two three run home runs on September 22 to propel the Mets to a 8-5 victory over the Houston Astros. However, Buchek did lead the Mets in strikeouts with a 101 in 1967.

Buchek returned to the Mets in 1968 but saw less playing time appearing in just 73 games.  Splitting time between the infield and outfield he hit just .182 with one home run and 11 RBIs.  His only home run was a 3-run shot in the Mets 7-3 win over the San Francisco Giants on June 14.

Following the season, he was traded back to the St. Louis Cardinals and eventually to the Philadelphia Phillies.  But his 1968 season would be his last in the majors.  In two seasons with the Mets Buchek appeared in 197 games and batted .219 with 15 home runs and 52 RBIs. 

While with the Mets Buchek wore number 1.

Jerry Buchek also played for the St, Louis Cardinals in 1961 and from 1963 to 1966.

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Larry Stahl – His New York Mets Career 1967,1968

Larry StahlThe Mets purchased the contract of Larry Stahl from the Kansas City A’s on October 17, 1966.  He made his Met debut on April 13, 1967 as a pinch hitter for Bud Harrelson, he grounded out to second.  Playing all three outfield positions Stahl would go on to appear in 71 games and hit .239 with 1 home run and 18 RBIs. His one home came on July 13 against the Cincinnati Reds, it was a three-run homer that gave the Mets a 7-0 in a game they would win 7-3.

Stahl started the 1968 season in the minors before getting recalled in July.  He hit safely in 15 of his first 21 games.  He would go on to appear in 53 games for the season, playing outfield and first base, and hit .235 with 3 home runs and 10 RBIs.  

Following the season Stahl was chosen by the San Diego Padres in the National League expansion draft.  In 124 games over two seasons he hit .237 with 4 home runs and 28 RBIs.

While with the Mets Stahl wore number 25.

Larry Stahl also played for the following teams:
Kansas City A’s – 1964-1966
San Diego Padres – 1969-1972
Cincinnati Reds – 1973

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Bill Connors – His New York Mets Career 1967,1968

Bill ConnorsThe Mets purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Bill Connors from the Chicago Cubs on August 20, 1967.  Two days later he made his Mets debut against the Philadelphia Phillies.  He pitched 2 innings of relief and allowed 2 earned runs in the Mets 11-4 defeat.  Connors finished out the season with the Mets and appeared in 6 games, 5 out of the bullpen and 1 as a starter.  He posted a 0-0 record with a 6.23 ERA.  In his only start on September 2nd Connors pitched against his former club, the Chicago Cubs, and lasted only 4 innings and allowed 4 runs.  But the Mets bailed him out and eventually won the game 5-4.

Connors started the 1968 season in the Mets minor league system before joining the club at the end of July.  He would appear in 9 games, all out of the bullpen, posting a 0-1 record with a 9.00 ERA.  His only decision came on July 24 against the Atlanta Braves.  He gave up 2 runs in the bottom of 10th inning in the Mets 3-2 loss.

1968 would be his last season in the majors.  Connors spent two seasons pitching in the Mets minor league system before retiring as a player.  He would than become the Mets batting practice pitcher in 1971 before serving as a Mets minor league pitching coach from 1972-1976.

In 2 seasons as a with the Mets Connors appeared in 15 games with a 0-1 record and 7.67 ERA.

While with the Mets Connors wore number 38 in 1967 and numbers 33 and 45 in 1968.

Bill Connors also played for the Chicago Cubs in 1966.

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