Bob Bailor – His New York Mets Career 1981-1983

Bob BailorThe Mets acquired Bob Bailor from the Toronto Blue Jays on December 12, 1980 in exchange for pitcher Roy Lee Jackson.  Bailor was a jack of all trades type of player, having the ability to play both the infield and outfield.  With the Mets over three seasons he would play 2nd, 3rd and shortstop as well as all three outfield positions.

Bailor’s Mets career did not get off to a great start as he started the 1981 season on the disabled list with a pulled ribcage muscle.  He made his Mets debut on April 29th against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  With the Mets trailing 10-0 he pinch hit for shortstop Frank Taveras in the 8th inning and flew out to centerfield.  The Mets used Bailor sparingly in 1981, as he appeared in just 51 games with 81 at bats.  He hit a respectable .284 with 8 RBIs.  He played a majority of his games at shortstop.

Bailor would appear in 110 games for the Mets in 1982 starting 86 of them.  He started the season playing a majority of the games at second base but with the emergence of Wally Backman, he started to see more time at shortstop and third base.  He hit .277 for the season and drove in 31 runs while stealing a career best 20 bases.

He started the 1983 season as the Mets everyday shortstop.  On April 13 he hit his one and only home run as a Met, a solo shot off of Sid Monge of the Philadelphia Phillies. But a sore rib cage muscle landed him on the disabled list in May.  When he returned from the DL he was used primarily as a back-up infielder.  He would appear in 118 games for the Mets in 1983 hitting .250 with one home run and 30 RBIs and 18 stolen bases.

During the off-season the Mets traded Bailor to the Los Angeles Dodgers with Carlos Diaz in exchange for Sid Fernandez and Ross Jones.

In 279 games for the Mets over three seasons Bailor hit .266 with one home run and 69 RBIs. 

While with the Mets Bailor wore number 4.

Bob Bailor also played for the following teams:
Baltimore Orioles – 1975,1976
Toronto Blue Jays – 1977-1980
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1984,1985

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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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Dave Kingman – His New York Mets Career 1975-1977,1981-1984

Dave KingmanDave Kingman was purchased from the San Francisco Giants prior to the 1975 season.   With the Mets in 1975 he quickly became a fan favorite and earned the nickname “Sky King” due in large part to his ability to hit tape measure home runs.  Kingman homered in his first game as a Met on Opening Day and would go on to set the Mets single season home run record with 36 round trippers.   But when he wasn’t hitting home runs he was striking out.  For the season, he hit just .231 while striking out 153 times but did drive in 88 runs, second most on the team to Rusty Staub.

Kingman followed up his first season with a similar one in 1976.  He bested his own home run record with 37 and was selected to his first All-Star team as the starting right fielder.  But like 1975 he hit just .238 and continued to rack up the strikeouts. 

After starting out the 1977 season with a .209 average Kingman was traded to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Bobby Valentine and Paul Siebert at the June 15th trading deadline.  It was the same day the Mets traded Tom Seaver in what became known as the “Midnight Massacre” to Mets fans.

Prior to the 1981 season Dave Kingman was traded back to the Mets from the Chicago Cubs as the organization attempted to appease their disgruntled fan base by bringing back some old fan favorites.   In his first season, back in New York Kingman hit 22 home runs but also led the league in strikeouts.  In 1982, he became the first player in franchise history to lead the league in home runs by hitting 37. But he also led the league in strikeouts with 156 and hit just .204 which was the lowest average for any single season home run leader in baseball history.  Kingman returned to the Mets in 1983 but when the Mets acquired first baseman Keith Hernandez at the trading deadline Kingman was relegated to the bench and used primarily as pinch hitter.  He hit just .198 with 13 home runs and 29 RBIs. 

The Mets released Kingman following the season.  During his Met career, he hit just .219 with 154 home runs and 389 RBIs.  At the time of his release he was the franchise’s all-time leader in home runs. 

While with the Mets Kingman wore number 26. 

Dave Kingman also played for the following teams:
San Francisco Giants – 1971-1974
California Angels – 1977
New York Yankees – 1977
San Diego Padres – 1977
Chicago Cubs – 1978-1980

Oakland A’s – 1984-1986

Scott Holman – His New York Mets Career 1980,1982,1983

Scott HolmanAfter spending four seasons in the Mets minor league system where he posted a 30 and 26 record mainly as a starter, Scott Holman was called up to the big club as a September call up in 1980.  He made his Major League debut on September 20th pitching one inning of scoreless relief in the Mets 9-6 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He would pitch in four games for the Mets in 1980 posting a 1.29 ERA in seven innings.

Scott Holman spent the entire 1981 season pitching for the Jackson Mets, the Mets double A affiliate where he posted a 4 and 9 record in 20 starts.  After posting a 10-8 record for the Tidewater Tides, the Mets Triple A affiliate, in 1982 Holman was called back to majors in September.  On September 17th, he made his first Major League start against the St Louis Cardinals.  Holman pitched four innings and allowed four runs and four hits to suffer the loss.  In his next start, he posted his first Major League victory by defeating the Chicago Cubs 5-2.  Than in his third start he posted his first complete game victory by defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1.  Holman would finish the season with a 2-1 record and 2.36 ERA.  

Based in large part to his strong finish to the 1982 season Scott Holman spent the entire 83 season with the Mets splitting time between the starting rotation and the bullpen.  Though he posted a respectable 3.74 ERA in 101 innings he finished with a 1-7 record.  His only victory came on June 5th when he defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 throwing 8 1/3 innings.

1983 would be his last season in the majors though he did spend two more seasons in the minors.  In 43 games for the Mets Scott Holman posted a 3-8 record with 3.34 ERA.

While with the Mets Holman wore number 26 in 1980 and number 28 from 1982-83.

 

 

Mike Bishop – His New York Mets Career 1983

mike-bishopMike Bishop, who had spent seven seasons in the California Angels minor league system without sniffing the majors, signed as a free agent with the Mets on January 10, 1983.  On April 16 against the St. Louis Cardinals he finally made his Major League debut as the Mets starting catcher, he went 0-3 with two strikeouts.  Bishop made two more starts for the Mets before being sent back down to the minors where he finished out the season.  During his second start, he recorded his only major league hit, a second inning double against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In his three starts for the Mets Bishop batted .125 (1 for 8).

While with the Mets Bishop wore number 11.

Ed Lynch – His New York Mets Career 1980-1986

ed-lynchOn August 12,1979, the New York Mets traded first baseman Willie Montanez to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Mike Jorgensen and a player to be named later.  A month later the Rangers shipped minor league pitcher Ed Lynch to the Mets to complete the trade.  Ed Lynch would pitch for the Tidewater Tides, the Mets top minor league team in 1980 where he posted a 13-6 record with a 3.15 ERA, splitting time between the bullpen and starting rotation   He was called up to the majors toward the end of the season and made his Major League debut on August 31st.  It was not a success as he pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief and allowed 4 hits and 4 earned runs.  His next appearance came as a starter on September 13th when the Mets decided to give the young right hander a shot at ending their 13-game losing streak.  Lynch would pitch 6 strong innings against the Chicago Cubs allowing just 1 run to earn the victory and end the Mets losing streak.   He would finish out the season with a 1-1 record and 5.12 ERA in 19 1/3 innings.

Lynch would return to Tidewater to start the 1981 season, after posting a 7-6 record in 15 starts he was promoted back to the Mets.  Once back in New York Lynch won just 4 games while losing 5 but put up a very respectable 2.91 ERA for a very bad Met team.  Having proved he could pitch at the Major League level, his minor league days were over and starting in 1982 Lynch became a permanent member of the Mets pitching staff.  Over the next 4 seasons he helped turn the Mets from perennial cellar dwellers to one of the top teams in the National League winning 33 games, mainly as a starter.   His best season occurred in 1985 when he won 10 and lost 8 with a 3.44 ERA as the Mets finished just 3 games out of first place.   

But the Mets continued success came with a price and Ed Lynch paid it.  In 1986 after appearing in just one game in April, he was placed on the disabled list with torn cartilage in his knee.  While he was sidelined the Mets, led by young pitchers Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez, dominated the National League and were coasting toward their first postseason appearance since 1973.  When Lynch came off the DL there was no longer room for him and he was traded to the Chicago Cubs on June 30th.   At the time, Lynch was devastated by the news and was quoted as saying “It’s like living with a family all year and they throw you out on Christmas.”  But despite his disappointment he handled the situation with the utmost class.  When the Mets won the World Series in 1986 his former teammates voted him a full World Series share in appreciation for all he had done for the team.    

Lynch would pitch two seasons for the Cubs before retiring after the 1987 season.  In 167 games for the Mets over 7 seasons, Ed Lynch posted a 38 and 40 record with 2 saves and 3.82 ERA.  

Following his playing days, Ed Lynch stayed in the game as a scout and executive eventually working his way up to become the Cubs General Manager.  

While with the Mets Lynch wore the following numbers – 50 (1980), 35 (1980-81), 34 (1981) and 36 (1982-1986).

Ed Lynch also played for the Chicago Cubs in 1986 and 1987.

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Gary Rajsich – His New York Mets Career 1982,1983

gary-rajsichAfter spending 5 seasons in the Houston Astros minor league system, the Mets acquired Gary Rajsich prior to the 1981 season. Rajsich was immediately assigned to the Mets top minor league team, the Tidewater Tides, where he spent the entire 1981 season hitting 24 home runs in just 253 at bats.  Based on his strong 81 season Gary Rajsich made the New York Mets roster out of Spring Training in 1982. He made his debut on April 9th as a pinch hitter for pitcher Jesse Orosco and grounded out to the pitcher.  He would spend the entire season with the Mets as a part time outfielder and pinch hitter, but it became obvious early on that though he excelled in the minors his skills would not transfer to the Major League level.  He hit .259 with 2 home runs and 12 RBIs. The highlight of his season came on May 18th against the Cincinnati Reds when he hit a 3-run homer, his first in the majors, to give the Mets a 7-1 lead in a game they would win 7-4. 

Gary Rajsich returned to Tidewater in 1983 where he hit 28 home runs, good enough to get himself a September call up.  He appeared in 11 games filling in for a banged-up Keith Hernandez at first base and hit .333 (12 for 36) with a homer and 3 RBIs. 

Prior to the 1984 season the Mets sold his contract to the St Louis Cardinals.  He played in a handful of games for the Cardinals before moving on to the San Francisco Giants in 1985.  After the 85 season, he played 3 seasons in Japan for the Chunichi Dragons before retiring as a player.

In 91 games for the Mets Rajsich hit .273 with 3 home runs and 15 RBIs.

While with the Mets Rajsich wore number 21.

Gary Rajsich also played for the following teams:

St. Louis Cardinals – 1984
San Francisco Giants – 1985

Tucker Ashford – His New York Mets Career 1983

tucker-ashfordTucker Ashford, a journeyman utility infielder, was acquired from the Yankees on April 18, 1983.  He made his Mets debut on May 6th the same day another Met made his debut, a fellow by the name of Darryl Strawberry.  As the starting 3rd baseman he went 0 for 3.  Strawberry would go on to become one the most popular and successful players in franchise history.  Ashford would go on to have a rather uneventful career with the Mets playing in just 35 games in 1983 hitting just .179 while driving in 2 runs.  Following the season Ashford was traded to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for pitcher Tom Edens.

While with the Mets Ashford wore number 11.

Tucker Ashford also played for the following teams:
San Diego Padres – 1975-1978
Texas Rangers – 1980
New York Yankees – 1981
Kansas City Royals – 1984

 Ashford also managed in the Mets minor league system from 1985-1988.

George Foster – His New York Mets Career 1983-1986

george-fosterWhen the Mets acquired George Foster from the Cincinnati Reds prior to the 1982 season they were sending a message to their fans that after years of futility they were willing to begin spending money to put a winning team on the field.  After all, Foster a former league MVP who once hit 52 home runs in a season was one of the most feared sluggers in the game.  Unfortunately Foster never quite lived up to his billing and struggled through most of his Met career.

During his first season in New York Foster hit just 13 home runs and drove in only 70 runs, a far cry from the 30 or so home runs he was expected to hit.  With his lack of production, he became a constant target of the boo birds at Shea Stadium.  He rebounded to put up some decent numbers with the Mets with his best season coming in 1983 when he led the team with 28 home runs and 90 RBIs.  But his lack of clutch hitting continued to be a sore spot among Met fans.  Fortunately for Foster the Mets began to acquire more star players such as Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez and therefore became less reliant on him as they became one of the top teams in the National League.

With the Mets coasting to their first postseason appearance since 1973 the Mets released Foster on August 6, 1986.  At the time, he was hitting just .227 with 13 home runs and had fallen into disfavor with Mets management.

During his five years with the Mets Foster hit .252 with 99 home runs and 361 RBIs.

While with the Mets George Foster wore number 15. 

George Foster also played for the following teams:
San Francisco Giants – 1969-1971
Cincinnati Reds – 1971-1981
Chicago White Sox – 1986