Brock Pemberton – His New York Mets Career 1974,1975

Brock PembetonAfter spending three seasons in the minors, first-baseman Brock Pemberton was called up to New York when rosters expanded in September 1974.  He made his Major League debut on September 10 against the Montreal Expos as a pinch hitter for pitcher Bob Apodaca, for the record he struck out.  The next day in the longest game in franchise history, he recorded his first big league hit, a 25th inning pinch hit single against the St. Louis Cardinals.  He would appear in 11 games for the Mets in 1974. He hit .182 (4 for 22) with one RBI.  His one RBI came on a pinch hit single on September 26 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pemberton returned as a September call up in 1975 but went 0 for 2 in two pinch hit opportunities.

He spent the entire 1976 season with the Mets Triple A affiliate, the Tidewater Tides, before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals long with Leon Brown for minor league Ed Kurpiel on December 9, 1976.

While with the Mets Pemberton wore number 2.

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Jerry Cram – His New York Mets Career 1974,1975

Jerry CramThe Mets acquired right-handed pitcher Jerry Cram from the Kansas City Royals in a minor league deal on February 1, 1973.  Cram would not make his Met debut until 1974 when he pitched 1 1/3 inning of scoreless relief on August 11 in the Mets 10-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.  He would finish out the season in the Mets bullpen appearing in 10 games and posting a 0-1 record with 1.61 ERA.  The highlight of his season occurred on September 11th against the St. Louis Cardinals. In a game that would go on for 25 innings, Cram pitched 8 scoreless innings.  However the Mets lost in the 25th inning 4-3.

Cram appeared in 4 games for the Mets in 1975 before being sent back to the minors.  In his 4 games he went 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA.

Following the season the Mets trade Cram back to the Kansas City Royals.  In 14 appearances over two seasons Cram posted an 0-2 record with a 2.30 ERA.

While with the Mets Cram wore number 38.

Jerry Cram also played for the Kansas City Royals in 1969 and 1976.

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Ike Hampton – His New York Mets Career 1974

Ike HamptonAfter spending four seasons in the Mets minor league system catcher Ike Hampton finally made his Met debut on September 12, 1974.  He pinch hit for first baseman John Milner and flew out to centerfield.  He made three more pinch hit appearances but failed to get a hit but did manage to drive in a run with a sacrifice fly on September 26 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

During Spring Training in 1975 the Mets traded Hampton to the California Angels in exchange for pitcher Ken Sanders. 

While with the Mets Hampton wore number 20

Ike Hampton also played for the California Angels from 1975-1979.

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John Strohmayer – His New York Mets Career 1973,1974

John StrohmayeerThe Mets purchased the contract of right handed pitcher John Strohmayer from the Montreal Expos on July 16, 1973.  He made his Mets debut the same day pitching one inning of relief against the Atlanta Braves in an 8-6 loss.  He appeared in another six games for the Mets in 1973 but with no success.  In ten innings, he posted an 8.10 ERA.  Strohmayer spent the 1974 season pitching for the Tidewater Tides, their Triple A affiliate.  He posted a 2-4 record with the Tides in 39 games.  He returned to the Mets in September and pitched in just one game, pitching the final inning in a 12-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs. 

In eight games over two seasons for the Mets John Strohmayer pitched 11 innings and posted a 7.36 ERA.

While with the Mets Strohmayer wore number 39.

John Strohmayer also played for the Montreal Expos from 1970-1973.

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Randy Sterling – His New York Mets Career 1974

Randy SterlingAfter spending six seasons in the Mets minor league system right-handed pitcher Randy Sterling finally got the call to join the big club as a September call-up in 1974.  He made his Major League debut on September 16 as the Mets starting pitcher against the Montreal Expos. He pitched five no-hit innings on his way to his first Major League victory.  His next start wouldn’t be as successful as he allowed 5 runs, 2 of which were earned, in 1 2/3 innings.  Sterling made one more appearance in a Met uniform pitching 2 innings of relief on September 28. It would be his final Major League appearance.

Sterling finished the season 1-1 with 4.82 ERA.  He returned to the minors in 1975 pitching the entire season with the Tidewater Tides before retiring.

While with the Mets Sterling wore number 35.

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Jack Aker – His New York Mets Career 1974

Jack AkerJack Aker was a journeyman pitcher when the Mets purchased his contract from the Atlanta Braves on June 14, 1974. Aker made his Met debut two days latter pitching one inning of relief in the Mets 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He allowed one run and one hit

Jack Aker recorded his first win as a Met on June 24th against the Chicago Cubs pitching two innings of scoreless relief as the Mets defeated the Cubs by a score of 5 to 4.

He would appear in 24 games for the Mets, finishing the season with a 2-1 record and 2 saves while posting a 3.48 ERA. 

His stint with the Mets would be his last in the majors as the Mets released him following the season.  But Jack Aker remained with the Mets organization managing in their minor league system with the Visalia Mets in 1975, Lynchburg Mets 1976-1980 and with the Tidewater Tides in 1981 and 1982.

While with the Mets Aker wore number 22.

Jack Aker also played for the following teams:
Kansas City A’s – 1964-1967
Oakland A’s – 1968
Seattle Pilots – 1969
New York Yankees – 1969-1972
Chicago Cubs – 1972,1973
Atlanta Braves – 1974

Benny Ayala – His New York Mets Career 1974,1976

Benny ayala.pngKnown as a power hitter in his native Puerto Rico Benny Ayala was signed as an amateur free agent by the Mets on January 28, 1971.  After three seasons in the minors where he showed promise as a power hitter with 45 home runs Ayala was called up to the show in 1974.  On August 27, 1974 he made his Major League debut and hit a home run in his first at bat off of Tom Griffin of the Houston Astros.  He became the first player in Mets history to hit a homer in their first Major League at bat. Unfortunately that would be the highlight of his career in Flushing.

Ayala would finish out the 74 season with the Mets playing in 23 games and hitting .235 with two homers and eight RBI’s.  After failing to make the team out of Spring Training in 1975, Ayala would play the entire 75 season with the Tidewater Tides, the Mets AAA affiliate.  He returned to the big club in 1976 but would last only 22 games hitting just .115 with a homer and two RBI’s. and was sent back down to the minors where he finished out the season.   Ayala did not return to the Mets and was traded to the St Louis Cardinals prior to the 1977 season in exchange for Doug Clarey

In 45 games for the Mets Ayala hit .202 with three homers and ten RBI‘s. 

While with the Mets Ayala wore number 18.

Benny Ayala also played for the following teams:
St. Louis Cardinals – 1977
Baltimore Orioles – 1979-1984
Cleveland Indians – 1985

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Rich Puig – His New York Mets Career 1974

rich-puigA former first round draft pick known more for his glove than his bat, second baseman Rich Puig spent four seasons in the Mets minor league system before finally getting the call to join them as a September call up in 1974.  He made his Major League debut on September 13 and struck out in his only at bat.  He would appear in 3 more games for the Mets but went 0 for 10 at the plate managing just one walk.  He returned to the minors in 1975 and spent two more seasons there before finally retiring. 

While with the Mets Puig wore number 6.


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Bob Apodaca – His New York Mets Career 1973-1977

bob-apodacaBob Apodaca made his Major League debut with the Mets on September 18, 1973, exactly four years later he pitched in his last big league game.  In between Apodaca showed promise as a relief pitcher but injuries sidetracked a once promising career.  

In his five seasons with the Mets Apodaca pitched in 184 games, all but 11 out of the bullpen.   He won 16 games while losing 25 and saved another 26.  He also posted a very respectable 2.86 ERA over 361.1 innings.  His best season with the Mets occurred in 1975 when he led the team with 13 saves and posted a 1.49 ERA in 84.2 innings. 

Apodaca blew out his elbow during Spring Training in 1978.  After missing the entire 1978 and 1979 seasons the Mets released him on December 11, 1979 ending his big league career.  He attempted a comeback in 1981 with the Jackson Mets, their Double A affiliate, but that lasted just six games.

Following his playing career Apodaca spent over a decade as a pitching coach in the Mets minor league system.  He eventually worked his way back to the majors serving as the Mets pitching coach from 1996-1999.

While with the Mets Apodaca wore number 34.





Bob L. Miller – His New York Mets Career 1962,1973,1974

bob-l-millerRight handed pitcher Bob L. Miller was selected by the Mets in the 1961 expansion draft from the St Louis Cardinals.  Miller, who had mild success with the Cardinals, was one of two Bob Millers on the Mets 1962 roster.  To avoid any confusion Mets Manager Casey Stengel called Bob L. Miller, “Nelson”, though no one really understood why he chose that name when he could have just referred to him as Righty Miller since the other Miller was a left hander.   I guess just a case of Casey being Casey.

“Nelson” was the better of the two Millers, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at his record.  Bob Miller made his Mets debut on April 21st starting against the Pittsburgh Pirates, a game he would lose 8-4.   He would go on to pitch in 33 games for the Mets in 1962, splitting time between the starting rotation and the bullpen, losing his first 12 decisions.  His only win of the season came in his last appearance of the year, a complete game victory over the Chicago Cubs where he allowed just one run in the 2-1 victory.  He finished the season with a 1-12 record and 4.89 ERA in 143 2/3 innings pitched.

Despite his record the Los Angeles Dodgers saw something they liked and traded for Miller in the off-season in exchange for infielders Tim Harkness and Larry Burright.  In his first season in LA he finished with a 10-8 record.  After five seasons with the Dodgers, in which he helped the Dodgers win a World Championship in 1965, Miller bounced around from the Minnesota Twins to the Cleveland Indians to the Chicago White Sox to the Chicago Cubs to the San Diego Padres to the Pittsburgh Pirates and finally the Detroit Tigers before finding his way back to the Mets in 1973, winning 57 games along the way.

With the Mets in the midst of a pennant race in 1973 they purchased Miller’s contract from the Detroit Tigers on September 23rd, he would appear in just one game for the Mets throwing one inning of scoreless relief against the Montreal Expos on September 26th, a game the Mets lost 8-5.  The Mets would eventually reach the World Series, but Miller was ineligible for the postseason roster.

Bob Miller returned to the Mets for the 1974 season and led the pitching staff in appearances with 58, all out of the bullpen.  He had a solid season as a middle reliever posting a 2-2 record with two saves with a 3.58 ERA in 78 innings pitched. 

After the Mets released Miller following the season he retired from pitching. His final Met numbers were a 3-14 record with a 4.41 ERA in 222 2/3 innings pitched over 92 games.

While with the Mets Miller wore number 24 in 1962 and number 30 in 1973 and 74.

Bob L. Miller also played for the following teams:
St, Louis Cardinals – 1957, 1959-1961
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1963-1967
Minnesota Twins – 1968,1969
Cleveland Indians – 1970
Chicago White Sox – 1970
Chicago Cubs – 1970
San Diego Padres – 1971,1973
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1971,1972
Detroit Tigers – 1973