Ken Henderson – His New York Mets Career 1978

Ken HendersonThe Mets acquired Ken Henderson, a 13-year veteran outfielder, from the Texas Rangers as part of a multi-player multi-team trade on December 8, 1977.  He made his Mets debut as their Opening Day right fielder in 1978 and went 1 for 3 with an RBI.  Three days later Henderson went 2 for 3 with a home run and 3 RBIs in the Mets 6-0 victory over the Cubs.  But than his season came to a sudden halt, on April 12 Henderson injured his foot when he ran into the wall chasing a fly ball.   The injury landed him on the disabled list.  When he came off the DL on May 19, the Mets traded him to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for relief pitcher Dale Murray.

In seven games for the Mets Ken Henderson batted .227 (5-22) with a home run and 4 RBIs. 

While with the Mets Henderson wore number 20.

Ken Henderson also played for the following teams:
San Francisco Giants – 1965-1972
Chicago White Sox – 1973-1975
Atlanta Braves – 1976
Texas Rangers – 1977
Cincinnati Reds – 1978,1979
Chicago Cubs – 1979,1980

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John Stearns – His New York Mets Career 1975-1984

John StearnsAcquired from the Philadelphia Phillies prior to the 1975 season along with Del Unser and Mac Scarce in exchange for Tug McGraw, Don Hahn and Dave Schneck, John Stearns would go on to catch 678 games in a Met uniform (4th most in team history) and be selected to four different All-Star teams.    The heart and soul of some pretty bad Met teams; Stearns never let the Mets place in the standings affect his play. 

After two seasons serving as backup to Jerry Grote, Stearns became the Met fulltime catcher in 1977.  He took full advantage of the situation, leading the team with 25 doubles and tying for the team lead with 12 home runs.  For his efforts, he was selected to be the Mets lone representative in the All-Star game.  He continued his strong play in 1978 and even broke the National League record for most stolen bases by a catcher in a season with 25.  Stearns would play four more season as the Mets catcher, earning three more All-Star appearances in 1979, 1980 and 1982, before a rash of injuries took their toll forcing him to cut his career short just as the Mets had turned the corner and became one of the top teams in the league.  

During his 10 years with the Mets Stearns hit .259 with 46 HR’s and 312 RBI’s.  Stearns would return to the Mets in 2000 and 2001 serving as a coach.  He also spent two seasons managing in the Mets minor league system, 2003 with the Binghamton Mets and 2004 with the Norfolk Tides.

While with the Mets Stearns wore number 16 in 1975 and 1976 and number 12 from 1977-1984.

John Stearns also played for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1974.

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Pat Zachry – His New York Mets Career 1977-1982

Pat ZachryOn June 15, 1977, the New York Mets traded their most popular player in franchise history, Tom Seaver.  In return they received four players, Dan Norman, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and right-handed pitcher Pat Zachry. The year before Zachry had won the National League Rookie of the Year as a member of the Cincinnati Reds.  Zachry would pitch six seasons for the Mets but would never make Met fans forget Tom Seaver.

Pat Zachry made his Met debut on June 17, 1977 against the Houston Astros.  He pitched six innings and allowed four runs all but one earned and suffered the loss in the Mets 7-1 defeat.  Zachry would finish the season with a 7-6 record and 3.76 ERA in 19 starts.

In 1978 Zachry enjoyed his finest season with the Mets, he started out the season 10-4 and was named to the National League All-Star team, he did not appear in the game.  However, following the All-Star break Zachry was lost for the season when he fractured his foot.  The injury occurred on July 24 in a fit of rage.  After giving up a hit to Pete Rose to extend his hitting streak to 37 games, Zachry was pulled from the game.  When he reached the dugout he angrily attempted to kick a batting helmet but missed and kicked the dugout step instead and fractured his left foot.

In 1979, an elbow injury limited him to just 7 starts, though he did manage to post a 5-1 record.  In 1980 despite being named the National League pitcher of the month for July, a month that saw him go 4-0, he suffered through a 6-10 season though he did post a very respectable 3.01 ERA.  It would be the first of three straight losing seasons including a 1981 season in which he led the league with 14 losses.  During his final season with the Mets in 1982 he did flirt with pitching the first no-hitter in franchise history against the Chicago Cubs on April 10.  He lost his bid with two outs in the 8th inning.   It was the highlight of his season, a season which saw him lose his spot in the starting rotation.

Following the season the Mets traded Zachry to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  In his six seasons with the Mets Pat Zachry posted a 41-46 record with a 3.63 ERA.

While with the Mets Zachry wore number 40.

Pat Zachry also played for the following teams:
Cincinnati Reds – 1976,1977
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1983,1984
Philadelphia Phillies – 1985

Butch Benton – His New York Mets Career 1978,1980

Butch BentonCatcher Butch Benton was drafted by the Mets in the first of round of the 1975 amateur draft (6th overall). However, he never lived up to expectations and spent the bulk of his Met career in the minors.

After spending four seasons in the minors Benton finally made his Major League debut on September 14, 1978 as a pinch hitter for pitcher Roy Lee Jackson, he flew out to centerfield.  He finished out the season with the Mets appearing in 4 games.  He batted .500 (2 for 4) with both of his hits coming on the last day of the season.

Benton wouldn’t return to the majors until the middle of the 1980 season.  He rejoined the Mets in July and went on to appear in 12 games.  He hit just .048 (1 for 21).

The Mets partied ways with Benton prior to the 1981 season selling him to the Chicago Cubs.  In parts of two seasons with the Mets the former number one pick appeared in 16 games and batted .120 (3 for 25).

While with the Mets Benton wore number 15 in 1978 and 19 in 1980.

Butch Benton also played for the Chicago Cubs in 1982 and the Cleveland Indians in 1985.

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Willie Montanez – His New York Mets Career 1978,1979

willie montanezWith his snatch catches and slow home run trot in which he shuffled his feet and jumped on each base Willie Montanez was the very definition of a hot dog during his 14-year career.  His brief tenure with the Mets was no different.

The Mets acquired Montanez on December 8, 1977 as part of a multiplayer four team trade.  As their everyday first baseman in 1978 he quickly became a fan favorite not only for his colorful antics but more so for his productivity at the plate.  He hit just .256 but managed to lead the team with 17 home runs, 96 RBIs and 32 doubles.  His most productive game occurred on May 24 against the Pittsburgh Pirates when he went 3 for 4 with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs.

Montanez returned in 1979 but did not enjoy the same success.  He was hitting just .234 with 5 home runs and 47 RBIs when the Mets made the decision to part ways with him.  He was traded to the Texas Rangers on August 12 in exchange for Ed Lynch and Mike Jorgensen.

Montanez appeared in 268 games for the Mets and hit .247 with 22 home runs and 143 RBIs. 

While with the Mets Montanez wore number 25.

Willie Montanez also played for the following teams:
California Angels – 1966
Philadelphia Phillies – 1970-1975,1982
San Francisco Giants – 1975,1976
Atlanta Braves – 1976,1977
Texas Rangers – 1979
San Diego Padres – 1980
Montreal Expos – 1980,1981
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1981,1982

Lenny Randle – His New York Mets Career 1977-1978

When the Mets acquired Lenny Randle from the Texas Rangers, he had just finished serving a 30 game suspension for punching manager Frank Luccchesi.  Obviously no longer welcomed in Texas, the Rangers started looking for a trading partner and found one with the Mets.  The Mets needing a leadoff hitter traded minor leaguer Rick Auerbach to the Rangers for Randle’s services.

Lenny RandleDespite his baggage, the trade turned out wonderfully for the Mets, at least for the first season.  Randle enjoyed the finest season of his career batting out of the leadoff position and playing third base.    He led the Mets in hitting with a .304 average and set the franchise record for most stolen bases in a season with 33.  He also led the team in runs (78), hits (156), triples (7), on-base percentage (.383) and total bases (207).

Randle was also the hero in the Mets longest game of the season, on July 9 against the Montréal Expos Randle hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 17th inning to win the game.  It was one of five home runs he would hit on the season.

Unfortunately his second season in New York was nothing like the first.  In 1978, his average plummeted to .233 and he stole only 14 bases.  However, he did drive in 35 runs.

Randle lost his starting third base job to Richie Hebner during Spring Training in 1979 and the Mets decided to release him prior to the season. 

In his two seasons with the Mets Randle hit .272 with 7 home runs and 62 RBIs. 

As a bit of trivia, Lenny Randle was the batter on July 13,1977 when the entire city of New York was paralyzed by a massive blackout.

While with the Mets Randle wore number 11. 

Lenny Randle also played for the following teams:
Washington Senators – 1971
Texas Rangers – 1972-1976
New York Yankees – 1979
Chicago Cubs – 1980
Seattle Mariners – 1981,1982

Gil Flores – His New York Mets Career 1978,1979

Gil FloresThe Mets acquired outfielder Gil Flores from the California Angels on July 28, 1978 in exchange for a player to be named later.  The next day the Mets sent Pepe Mangual to the Angels to complete the trade.  Flores initially reported to the Tidewater Tides, the Mets triple-A affiliate, before getting the call to New York in September.  Flores made his Met debut on September 5th against the Pittsburgh Pirates pinch-hitting for Jerry Koosman.  For the record, he reached on an error by the shortstop.  He would go on to appear in 11 games hitting .276 with a 1 RBI.  He recorded his first hit as a Met on September 9th, as the Mets leadoff hitter, he singled to open the game.

Flores spent the entire 1979 with the Mets, serving mainly as a pinch hitter and late inning defensive replacement.  In 70 games, he hit just .194 with a home run and 10 RBI’s.  His only home run was a solo shot on August 19th against the Cincinnati Reds.

1979 would be his last year with the Mets, but he did remain in the organization.  He spent the next 5 seasons playing in the minors for the Tidewater Tides.

In 81 games over 2 seasons Flores hit .213 with 1 home run and 11 RBI’s.

While with the Mets Flores wore number 17.

Gil Flores also played for the California Angels in 1977.

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Dan Norman – His New York Mets Career 1977-1980

Dan NormanDan Norman was acquired by the Mets in the infamous Tom Seaver trade on June 15, 1977 along with Pat Zachry, Steve Henderson and Doug Flynn.  Following the trade the Mets immediately shipped Norman to the minors where he played for the Tidewater Tides before getting the call to join the big club in September. 

Norman made his Major League debut on September 27 as pinch hitter for Lenny Randle, he struck out.  The next day as the Mets starting right fielder Norman recorded his first big league hit, a 4th inning single.  Norman would appear in 7 games for the Mets in 1977 and hit .250 (4-16).

Norman returned to Tidewater in 1978 where he spent the season before once again joining the Mets in September.  Norman hit his first major league home run on September 6 against the Montreal Expos.  He would hit 4 home runs including a 2-homer game against the Phillies on September 15.   Norman also drove in 10 runs in 19 games. 

Norman once again started the 1979 season with the Tidewater Tides before getting called up in in the middle of July.  Norman finished out the season with the Mets and hit .245 with 3 home runs and 11 RBIs in 44 games.   

Norman spent the entire 1980 season with the Mets serving primarily as a pinch hitter but he hit just .185 with 2 home runs and 9 RBIs.   He started off the 1981 season back in the minors before being traded to the Montreal Expos along with Jeff Reardon on May 29 in exchange for Ellis Valentine.

In 4 seasons with the Mets Dan Norman appeared in 139 games and hit .230 with 9 home runs and 30 RBIs. 

While with the Mets Norman wore number 33 in 1977 and 1979 and number 9 in 1979 and 1980.

Dan Norman also played for the Montreal Expos in 1982.

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Dwight Bernard – His New York Mets Career 1978,1979

dwight-bernardThe Mets drafted right-handed pitcher Dwight Bernard in the second round of the 1974 free agent draft.  He spent the next three seasons in the minors before making his major league debut on June 29, 1978 against the Pittsburg Pirates.  He pitched one inning of relief and allowed 2 hits and 1 run in the Mets 4-3 loss.  He spent the remainder of the season with the Mets appearing in 30 games, all but one out of the bullpen.  He finished with a 1-4 record and a 4.31 ERA.  His first major league victory occurred on September 10, 1978 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He pitched a scoreless 8th inning in the Mets 11-9 victory. 

His one start as a Met came on July 20th against the Houston Astros.  He allowed 2 runs over 4 innings as the Mets won 5-4.

Bernard started the 1979 season on the Mets Opening Day roster.  He appeared in 17 game before being demoted to the minors in the middle of May.  At the time of his demotion he had an 0-1 record with 4.50 ERA.  He returned to the Mets in August and finished out the season in New York.  Overall, he appeared in 32 games and posted a 0-3 record with a 4.70 ERA. 

Following the season the Mets traded Dwight Bernard to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for pitcher Mark Bomback.  In 62 games for the Mets he posted a 1-7 record with a 4.50 ERA.

While with the Mets Bernard wore number 28.

Dwight Bernard also played for the Milwaukee Brewers -1981,1982.