Jose Cardenal – His New York Mets Career 1979,1980

Jose CardenalOn August 2, 1979, the Mets purchased the contract of Jose Cardenal from the Philadelphia Phillies between games of a doubleheader.  He was a member of the Phillies for game one and then the Mets for game two, though he did not appear in either game.  He made his Met debut on August 4 against the Montreal Expos as the team’s leadoff hitter and right fielder.  He went 2 for 4 with 2 doubles and an RBI as the Mets won 3-2.  He appeared in 10 more games and batted .297 with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs before a fractured hand ended his season.

Cardenal returned to the Mets in 1980 and appeared in 26 games, mostly as a pinch hitter and batted just .167 with 4 RBIs before being released on August 13. 

In 37 games over 2 seasons Cardenal batted .228 with 2 home runs and 8 RBIs.

While with the Mets Cardenal wore number 6.

Jose Cardenal also played for the following teams:
San Francisco Giants – 1963,1964
California Angels – 1965-1967
Cleveland Indians – 1968,1969
St. Louis Cardinals – 1970,1971
Milwaukee Brewers – 1971
Chicago Cubs – 1972-1977
Philadelphia Phillies – 1978,1979
Kansas City Royals – 1980

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Dock Ellis – His New York Mets Career 1979

Dock EllisThe New York Mets acquired right-handed pitcher Dock Ellis from the Texas Rangers at the June 15th trade deadline in 1979 for fellow pitchers Mike Bruhert and Bob Myrick. Ellis was very successful pitcher and former All-Star with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the early part of the 70’s but he was also known for erratic and volatile behavior.  He threw a no-hitter with the Pirates in 1970, but admitted years later that he was high on LSD at the time. 

He made his Met debut on June 18th and pitched a solid game allowing two runs over six innings, but would suffer a no decision in a game the Mets would lose 3-2 in 18 innings.   From that point on Dock Ellis did show signs of his former self but for the most part pitched like someone who had little left in the tank.  In 17 games, 14 of which he started, Ellis posted a 3-7 record with an astronomical ERA of 6.04.

Since the Mets did not plan on bringing Ellis back for the 1980 season, they sold him to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who were in the middle of a pennant race with the Montreal Expos, on September 21st.   He pitched in a handful of games for the Pirates before retiring after the season.   

While with the Mets Ellis wore number 35. 

Dock Ellis also played for the following teams:
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1968-1975,1979
New York Yankees – 1976,1977
Texas Rangers – 1977-1979
Oakland A’s – 1977

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Wayne Twitchell – His New York Mets Career 1979

Wayne TwitchellPrior to the 1979 season the Mets signed right-handed pitcher Wayne Twitchell as a free agent.  A former All-Star with the Phillies Twitchell was nearing the end of his career when the Mets signed him. 

Twitchell made his Met debut on April 7 against the Chicago Cubs.  He pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed 2 runs in the Mets 9-4 victory.  Twitchell would go on to appear in 33 games for the Mets in 1979 posting a 5-3 record with a 5.23.  All but two of his appearances were out of the bullpen. 

On August 19, the Mets sold Twitchell to the Seattle Mariners where he finished out the season.

While with the Mets Twitchell wore number 36.

Wayne Twitchell also played for the following teams:
Milwaukee Brewers – 1970
Philadelphia Phillies – 1971-1977
Montreal Expos – 1977,1978
Seattle Mariners – 1979

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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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Kelvin Chapman – His New York Mets Career 1979,1984,1985

Kelvin ChapmanAfter spending three seasons in their minor league system Kelvin Chapman earned his way on to the Major League roster following a phenomenal spring training in 1979.  He made his debut as the Mets starting second baseman.  He got his career off to a fast start, singling in his first at-bat, and hitting safely in his first three games.  But than his bat went cold and with his average at just .150 he was demoted to the minors in the middle of May. Chapman spent the remainder of the season in triple-A before returning to the big club as a September call-up.

Chapman spent the next four seasons playing exclusively for the Tidewater Tides, the Mets top minor league club.  He finally returned to big club in 1984 serving as a part-time player and pinch hitter and put up decent numbers, hitting .289 with 3 home runs and 23 RBIs.  Chapman returned to Mets in 1985 but once again struggled at the plate and was demoted back to the minors halfway through the season with his average at just .174.

The Mets released Chapman following the 1985 season ending his pro baseball career.  Chapman appeared in a total of 172 games for the Mets and hit .223 with 3 home runs and 34 RBIs.

While with the Mets Chapman wore number 10 in 1979 and number 11 in 1984 and 1985.

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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

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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

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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Ray Burris – His New York Mets Career 1979,1980

Ray BurrisRight-handed pitcher Ray Burris was picked off waivers by the Mets from the New York Yankees on August 20, 1979. He made his Met debut on August 24th against the Cincinnati Reds and pitched 7 scoreless innings allowing just two hits,  but the Mets lost the game 1-0.  Burris would appear in three more games for the Mets in 1979 before being placed on the disabled list with a fractured wrist. He went 0-2 with a 3.32 ERA.,

Burris returned to the Mets in 1980 as a member of their starting rotation and posted a 7-13 record with a 4.02 ERA.  His best outing came on June 28 against the Philadelphia Phillies, he allowed just one run over nine innings but thanks to the Mets anemic offense suffered a no decision as the Mets won in extra innings 2-1.  Despite being on the disabled list for the month of July Burris did lead the Mets staff in games started (29) and innings pitched with 170 1/3.

Following the season Burris left the Mets and signed as a free agent with the Montreal Expos.  In 33 starts for the Mets he posted a 7-15 record with a 3.94 ERA.

While with the Mets Burris wore number 26 in 1979 and 34 in 1980.

Ray Burris also played for the following teams:
Chicago Cubs – 1973-1979
New York Yankees – 1979
Montreal Expos – 1981-1983
Oakland A’s – 1984
Milwaukee Brewers – 1985,1987
St. Louis Cardinals – 1986

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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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