Elliot Maddox – His New York Mets Career 1978-1980

Elliot MaddoxThe Mets signed Elliot Maddox, an 8-year veteran who could play both the infield and outfield, as a free agent on November 30, 1977.  After starting the 1978 season on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring he made his Met debut on April 25 as a pinch hitter for Mike Bruhert; he reached on an error.  On April 28 he made his first start as a Met playing right field and recording his first hit, an 8th inning single in the Mets 5-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.  Maddox went onto appear in 139 games playing both the outfield and 3rd base and hit .257 with 2 home runs and 39 RBIs.  His first home run came on June 28 against the Chicago Cubs, a 2- run shot in the 9th inning that tied the game.  Unfortunately, the Mets lost the game in the 10th inning.  Maddox also enjoyed 2 4-hit games on August 9 and August 20.

Maddox returned in 1979 and appeared in just 86 games and batted a .268 with a home run and 12 RBIs.  He drove in 2 runs in the Mets 6-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on June 24. He hit his only home run on September 24, a solo shot in the Mets 3-1 win over the Chicago Cubs,

In 1980 Maddox appeared in 130 games as the Mets regular 3rd baseman and batted .246 with 4 home runs and 34 RBIs.  On May 28 he hit a double with the bases loaded in the 8th inning that drove in 3 runs and tied the game at 5;the Mets went on to win 6-5 against the St. Louis Cardinals.  He also drove in 3 runs on the Mets 6-0 win over the Atlanta Braves on July 17.

The Mets released Maddox following the season ending his career.

In 335 games over 3 seasons Maddox hit .255 with 7 home runs and 85 RBIs.

While with the Mets Maddox wore number 21.

Elliot Maddox also played for the following teams:
Detroit Tigers – 1970
Washington Senators – 1971
Texas Rangers = 1972,1973
New York Yankees – 1974-1976
Baltimore Orioles – 1977

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Kevin Kobel – His New York Mets Career 1978-1980

Kevin KobelThe Mets purchased the contract of left-handed pitcher Kevin Kobel from the Milwaukee Brewers on December 6, 1977.  After starting the 1978 season in the minors Kobel made his Mets debut on May 20.  He pitched the final 2/3 of the 11th inning in the Mets 9-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.  Splitting time between the bullpen and the starting rotation he appeared in 33 games and posted a 5-6 record with a 2.91 ERA.  As a starter he went 4-4 with a 3.52 ERA in 11 starts.  As a reliever he went 1-2 with a 1.82 ERA.  He earned his first win on July 8 against the Chicago Cubs.  As the starter he lasted 6 1/3 innings as the Mets won 7-0.   He also pitched a complete game 2-hitter on September 9

Kobel started the 1979 season on the disabled and joined the Mets on April 29.  He became a member of the starting rotation and finished the season 6-8 with a 3.51 ERA.  The highlight of his season occurred on June 16 when he pitched a complete game 3-hit shutout against the Atlanta Braves. 

He appeared in 14 games in 1980, all but one as a reliever, and posted a 1-4 record with a 7.03 ERA.  The Mets traded him to the Kansas City Royals on June 17.

In 76 appearances over 3 seasons Kobel went 12-18 with a 3.58 ERA.

While with the Mets Kobel wore number 49.

Kevin Kobel also played for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1973,1974 and 1976

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John Pacella – His New York Mets Career 1977,1979,1980

John PacellaBrooklyn native John Pacella was drafted by the Mets in the 4th round of the 1974 amateur draft. The right-handed pitcher spent 4 seasons in the minors before joining the Mets as a September call-up in 1977. He made his Major League debut on September 15 against the Philadelphia Phillies; he pitched the final two innings and allowed two unearned runs in the Mets 8-2 loss. He appeared in 2 more games and pitched a total of 4 innings and posted a 0.00 ERA.

After spending 1978 and 1979 seasons in the minors, Pacella got another September call-up in 1979. This time he appeared in 4 games, 3 as a starter, and posted a 0-2  record with a 4.41 ERA.

Pacella spent the entire 1980 season with the Mets. He appeared in 32 game splitting time between the bullpen and starting rotation. He finished with a 3-4 record and a 5.14 ERA. He earned his first career win on June 27 against the Philadelphia Phillies. As the starting pitcher he threw 6 innings and allowed 5 hits and 2 runs as the Mets won 3-2.

Pacella’s biggest claim to fame as a Met was that do to his unusual delivery and speed of which he threw the ball his hat would often fall of his head after a pitch.

Following the season Pacella was traded to the San Diego Padres along with Jose Moreno in exchange for Randy Jones.

In 39 career games for the Mets Pacella posted a 3-6 record with a 4.83 ERA.
While with the Mets Pacella wore number 20.

John Pacella also played for the following teams:
Minnesota Twins – 1982
New York Yankees – 1982
Baltimore Orioles – 1984
Detroit Tigers = 1986

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Juan Berenguer – His New York Mets Career 1978-1980

Juan BerenguerThe New York Mets signed Juan Berenguer, a native of Panama, as an amateur free agent in 1975. After working his way up through the minors, winning 24 games over 3 seasons, he made his Major League debut on August 17, 1978 starting against the San Diego Padres. Berenguer struggled pitching just 3 innings and allowing 5 runs as the Mets lost 9-2. He would pitch in five games for the Mets in 1978 but struggled losing two games and posting an 8.31 ERA.

Berenguer returned to the Mets as a September call up in 1979 and showed signs of promise. He started 5 games and posted in 2.93 ERA. On September 28th he pitched his best game as a Met to earn his first Major League victory. He defeated the St Louis Cardinals allowing 2 runs over 7.1 innings in the Mets 6-2 victory.

Berenguer spent the 1980 season with the Mets triple A affiliate Tidewater Tides but struggled posting a disappointing 9 and 15 record. He returned to the big club in September and pitched six games out of the bullpen. He struggled posting a 5.79 ERA with an 0-1 record.

Right before the start of the 1981 season the Mets traded Berenguer to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Marvell Wynne and John Skinner.

Berenguer pitched in sixteen games for the Mets, eight as a starter and eight out of the pen and posted a 1-4 record with a 4.75 ERA.

While with the Mets Berenguer wore number 48 in 1978 and number 43 in 1979 and 1980.

Juan Berenguer also played for the following teams:
Kansas City Royals – 1981,1992
Toronto Blue Jays – 1981
Detroit Tigers – 1982-1985
San Francisco Giants – 1986
Minnesota Twins – 1987-1990
Atlanta Braves – 1991-1992

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Alex Trevino – His New York Mets Career 1978-1981,1990

Alex TrevinoAfter spending five seasons in the minors, Alex Trevino made his Major League debut on September 11, 1978 when he replaced John Stearns at catcher in the 9th inning, He would go on to appear in 6 games for the Mets and batted .250 (3 for 12).  He recorded his first big league hit on September 29 a 6th inning single in the Mets 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs.  The next day he went 2 for 4.

Trevino spent the entire1979 with the Mets playing mostly catcher but also seeing time at 3rd and 2nd base.  He hit .271 with 20 RBIs.   On June 11 he drove in 2 runs in the Mets 3-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds.   His most productive game came on August 14 when he went 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs in the Mets 18-5 win over the Atlanta Braves.

In 1980 he appeared in 106 games and batted .256 with 37 RBIs.  On June 28 his 8th inning single tied the game against the Philadelphia Phillies.  The Mets would win in the 9th inning, He also drove in 2 runs in the Mets 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 12.

In 1981 jet appeared in just 56 games and batted .262 with 10 RBIs.  Following the season, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds along with Greg Harris and Jim Kern in exchange for George Foster.

Trevino returned to the Mets when they signed him as a free agent on August 3. 1990.  He appeared in 9 games and batted .300 (3 for 10) with 2 RBIs before being placed on waivers in September. 

In 256 career games for the Mets Trevino batted .262 with 69 RBIs.

While with the Mets Trevino wore number 29 from 1978-1981 and number 9 in 1990.

Alex Trevino also played for the following teams:
Cincinnati Reds – 1982-1984, 1990
Atlanta Braves – 1984
San Francisco Giants – 1985
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1986,1987
Houston Astros – 1988-1990

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Frank Taveras – His New York Mets Career 1979-1981

Frank TaverasEleven games into the 1979 season the Mets acquired shortstop Frank Taveras from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for fellow shortstop Tim Foli and minor leaguer Greg Field.  As the Mets everyday shortstop and primary leadoff hitter Taveras appeared in 153 for the Mets in 1979 and hit .263 with a home run and 33 RBIs.  He tied the Mets single season record of 9 triples in a season and set the teams single season record with 42 stolen bases. A record that would be broken three years later by Mookie Wilson with 58.   His only home run came on August 18th against the Cincinnati Reds was just the second of his career and would be the last one he would hit. It was notable because it was also the only home run he hit that went over the fence.  

Taveras returned in 1980 and appeared in 141 and batted a career best .279 with 25 RBIs and 32 stolen bases, second to Lee Mazzilli’s 41.  He enjoyed five four hit games with his most productive game coming on August 5th against the Montreal Expos when he also drove in three runs.  He was also named the National League player of the week for the week ending May 25 when he hit .667 (16 for 24) with four RBIs and four runs scored.

His numbers dipped in 1981 as he hit just .230 with 11 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.  Following the season, the Met traded Taveras to he Montreal Expos in exchange for pitcher Steve Ratzer.

In 378 games over three seasons Taveras batted .263 with a home run and 69 RBIs while stealing 90 bases.

While with the Mets Taveras wore number 11.

Frank Taveras also played for the following teams:
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1971,1972,1974-1979
Montreal Expos – 1982

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Neil Allen – His New York Mets Career 1979-1983

Neil AllenIn the infancy of the modern closer role Neil Allen served in that capacity for the Mets from 1979 to 1983. But he will go down in Mets history not for the 69 games he saved but for being the central piece in arguably the greatest trade in Mets history. On June 15, 1983 Neil Allen was traded to the St Louis Cardinals along with fellow pitcher Rick Ownbey for a first baseman by the name of Keith Hernandez. Yes, the Keith Hernandez who would go on to be the leader of the 1986 World Championship team.

Neil Allen was drafted by the Mets in the 11th round of the 1976 amateur draft. Initially a starting pitcher he made his Major League debut with the Mets on April 15th, 1979 against the Philadelphia Phillies, he would suffer the loss allowing 3 runs over 6 innings. Allen would go on to lose five straight decisions before the Mets moved him into the bullpen. Allen found a home in the Mets bullpen where he won 6 games and saved another 8 over the remainder of the season.

Neil Allen became a permanent member of the Mets bullpen in 1980 eventually becoming the teams closer. He saved 59 games over the next three seasons, often keeping the fans on the edge of their seats. His best season came in 1980 when he saved 22 games.  He was twice named National Player of the Week, first for the week ending on July 6, 1980 when he saved 2 games and posted a 0.00 ERA in three appearances.  The second time came in 1981 for the week ending on August 23 when in 3 appearances he saved 2 and won the other.

In 1983 the Mets were experimenting with returning Allen back into a starter when Cardinals General Manager Whitey Herzog called them to see if they would be interested in Keith Hernandez and the rest as they say is history.

In five seasons with the Mets Allen appeared in 223 games and posted a 25 and 40 record with 69 saves and a 3.54 ERA.

While with the Mets Allen wore number 46 from 1979-1980 and number 13 from 1981-1983.

Neil Allen also plated for the following teams:
St. Louis Cardinals – 1983-1985
New York Yankees – 1985, 1987, 1988
Chicago White Sox – 1986, 1987
Cleveland Indians – 1989

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Jeff Reardon – His New York Mets Career 1979-1981

Jeff ReardonBefore he became one of the games top closers Jeff Reardon served as a middle reliever for the Mets. He made his Major League debut with the Mets on June 17, 1979 against the Atlanta Braves. He pitched one inning and was the winning pitcher. Following the game, he was sent back down to the minors. He was recalled in August and finished out the season with the Mets. He recorded his first career save on September 28 against the Cardinals.

Reardon spent the entire 1980 season with the Mets. He appeared in 61 games, the most on the staff, and posted an 8-7 record with 6 saves and 2.61 ERA. He returned to the Mets in 1981 but was traded in the middle of May along with Dan Norman to the Montreal Expos in exchange for outfielder Ellis Valentine. At the time Reardon was 1-0 with 2 saves with a 3.45 ERA. It would go down as one of the worst trades in franchise history. Valentine a former All-Star never regained his stroke with the Mets and Reardon would retire with 367 saves, at the time the second most in baseball history.

Jeff Reardon appeared in 97 games for the Mets, all out of the bullpen. His record was 10-9 with 10 saves and a 2.65 ERA.

While with the Mets Reardon wore number 45 in 1979 and 1980 and number 44 in 1981.

Jeff Reardon also played for the following teams:
Montreal Expos – 1981-1986
Minnesota Twins – 1987-1989
Boston Red Sox – 1990-1992
Atlanta Braves – 1992
Cincinnati Reds – 1993
New York Yankees – 1994

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Wally Backman – His New York Mets Career 1980-1988

Wally BackmanA hardnosed gritty player Wally Backman symbolized the feistiness and tenacity of the great Met teams of the mid 80’s especially the 1986 World Championship team.

Wally Backman started his Met career as a September call up in 1980 and would spend parts of the next four seasons with the Mets. During that span he showed signs of promise but could never stick with the big club, injuries also played a factor. When not playing in New York Backman spent much of the time with the Mets Triple A affiliate the Tidewater Tides. It was with Tidewater where Backman caught the eye of manager Davey Johnson who liked his style of play. When Johnson was named the manager of the Mets in 1984, he immediately made Backman his starting second baseman and leadoff hitter. He became a fan favorite due to his hardnosed style of play, leading the league in dirty uniforms. Backman would hit .280 while also stealing 32 bases as the Mets surprised many and won 90 games for their first winning season since 1976.

In 1985 he hit .273 with 1 home run and 38 RBIs and led the team in stolen bases with 30. During the month of August, he enjoyed a 14-game hitting streak.

In 1986, Backman’s struggles against left-handed pitching forced Davey Johnson to platoon him with Tim Teufel. But he still managed to hit a career best .320 while batting in the number two spot in the lineup setting the table for the Mets big hitters, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and Darryl Strawberry, as the Mets ran away and hid in the National League and won the World Series.

During the 1986 League Championship Series, he hit just 0.238 but was in the middle of some of the most pivotal moments.  In game 3, with the Mets trailing 5-4 entering the 9th inning Backman led off with a bunt single.  He beat out the bunt when he lunged past Astros first baseman Glenn Davis.  Two batters later he scored on Len Dyktra’s walk off home run.  In game 5 with the game tied in the 12rh inning, he led off with an infield single and would eventually come around to score the winning run on Gary Carter’s single.  During the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, he hit .333 (6 for 18) and drove in one run.

Backman’s production began to fall off in 1987 and by 1988 and with the emergence of Gregg Jefferies and Keith Miller from the Mets minor league system he became expendable. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins following the 1988 season in exchange for three minor league prospects.

Backman hit .283 over his 9-year career with the Mets, playing in 765 games.

In 2010, Wally Backman returned to the Mets organization as manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones, their single A minor league affiliate.  He went on to manage their double A affiliate the Binghamton Mets.  He also managed their Triple A affiliate in both Buffalo and Las Vegas from 2012-2016.

While with the Mets Backman wore number 28 in 1980 and number 6 from 1981-1988.

Wally Backman also played for the following teams:
Minnesota Twins – 1989
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1990
Philadelphia Phillies – 1991,1992
Seattle Mariners – 1993

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Jerry Morales – His New York Mets Career 1980

Jerry MoralesJerry Morales was originally signed by the Mets as an amateur free agent in 1966.  After spending 3 seasons in their minor league system he was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 1969 expansion draft.  Morales returned to the Mets on October 31, 1979 when he was acquired along with Phil Mankowski from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Richie Hebner

Morales singled in his first at-bat with the Mets on Opening Day 1980 against the Chicago Cubs.  He got off to a fast start with the Mets, hitting safely in his first 6 games while driving in 6 runs.  For the season Morales appeared in 94 games hitting .254 with 3 home runs and 30 RBIs. 

Some highlights of Morales’ season included driving in the winning run in the 10th inning on May 14 against the Cincinnati Reds.  On July 23rd against the Houston Astros he drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the 9th inning.  He hit a home run in the Mets 4-3 win over the Montreal Expos on August 7th.  Three days later he hit another home run in the Mets 7-1 win also against the Montreal Expos.

Following the season Morales signed with the Chicago Cubs as a free agent.

While with the Mets Morales wore number 17.

Jerry Morales also played for the following teams:
San Diego Padres – 1969-1973
Chicago Cubs – 1974-1977,1981-1983
St. Louis Cardinals – 1978
Detroit Tigers – 1979

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