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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John Christensen – His New York Mets Career 1984,1985

john christensenJohn Christensen was drafted by the New York Mets in the second round of the 1981 amateur draft.  After spending three seasons in the minors where he batted over .300 he was brought up to the Mets as a September call up in 1984.  In his Met debut on September 13th, he pinch hit for Darryl Strawberry with the Mets trailing 9-1 and manager Dave Johnson deciding to wave the white flag.  For the record, Christensen walked.  He would appear in just five games for the Mets in 1984 batting .273 (3 for 11) with 3 RBIs.  

Christensen made the Mets Opening Day roster out of spring training as a fourth outfielder but struggled immensely and was demoted back to the minors in the middle of July after hitting just .190.  He did manage to hit 3 home runs and drive in 13, the highlight coming on June 12th when he hit a 2-run home run in the top of the 11th inning to give the Mets a comfortable 7-3 lead.  He continued to struggle back at Triple A Norfolk, hitting just .212, but was brought back to Queens in September to finish out the season.  In 51 games for the Mets in 1985 Christensen hit just .186. 

He was traded by the Mets in the off-season along with Calvin Schiraldi, Wes Gardner and LaSchelle Tarver to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Bob Ojeda, John Mitchell, Tom McCarthy and Chris Bayer.   

His final numbers with the Mets included a .194 average with 3 home runs and 16 RBIs in 56 games. 

While with the Mets Christensen wore number 35 in 1984 and number 7 in 1985.

 

John Chrsitensen also played for the Seattle Mariners in 1987 and the Minnesota Twins in 1988.

 

 

 

 

Wes Gardner – His New York Mets Career 1984,1985

Wes GardnerWes Gardner was drafted by the Mets in the 22nd round of the 1982 amateur draft.  In 1984 after going 1-2 with 20 saves and posting a 1.61 ERA in 40 relief appearances for the Mets top minor league club the Tidewater Tides, he was promoted to New York.  He made his Met debut on July 29th against the Chicago Cubs pitching one inning of scoreless relief.  Gardner would go on to appear in 21 games for the Mets finishing the season with a 1-1 record and 1 save, but with an astronomical ERA of 6.39 in 25 1/3 innings.  His one victory came against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 5th when he pitched two scoreless innings.

Gardner started the 1985 season in Tidewater, but was recalled in the middle of May.  But his second tour with the Mets would be brief.  After allowing six runs in two innings in his second appearance he was shipped back to Tidewater.   With the Mets in the middle of a pennant race Gardner was brought back up in September.  He appeared in 7 games down the stretch and gave up only one run in 9 innings. 

The Mets traded Gardner to the Boston Red Sox in the off-season along with Calvin Schiraldi, John Christensen and LaSchelle Tarver in exchange for Bob Ojeda, John Mitchell, Tom McCarthy and Chris Bayer. 

In 30 relief appearances for the Mets he posted 1-3 record with 1 save and 6.03 ERA in 37 1/3 innings.

While with the Mets Gardner wore number 27.

Wes Gardner also played for the following teams:
Boston Red Sox – 1986-1990
Kansas City Royals – 1991
San Diego Padres – 1991

Billy Beane – His New York Mets Career 1984,1985

Billy BeaneDrafted in the first round of the 1980 amateur draft Billy Beane was considered by many in the Mets organization to be a can’t miss prospect.  Unfortunately for the Mets and for Beane he missed and never lived up to his five-tool potential. 

Beane worked his way through the Mets minor league system but never consistently put up the numbers expected of him.  He was given a shot at the Major League level as a September call up in 1984.  He made his big-league debut on September 13, 1984 as a pinch hitter for George Foster and grounded back to the pitcher.  Beane finished out the season appearing in five games and batted just .100 (1 for 10).  He was given one more chance the following September, this time he appeared in 8 games and batted .250 (2 for 8) with 1 RBI.

During the off-season, the Mets who were growing weary of waiting for Beane to blossom traded him to the Minnesota Twins along with Bill Latham and Joe Klink in exchange for Tim Teufel and Pat Crosby.   In 13 games for the Mets Beane batted .167.

While with the Mets Beane wore number 43 in 1984 and 35 in 1985.

Billy Beane also played for the following teams:
Minnesota Twins – 1986,1987
Detroit Tigers – 1988
Oakland A’s – 1989
           

 

Dick Tidrow – His New York Mets Career 1984

Dick Tidrow.pngThe Mets signed pitcher Dick Tidrow as a free agent prior to the 1984 season hoping he would give them a veteran presence in their bullpen.  But it was obvious from the get go that he was not the same pitcher who at one time helped the Yankees win back to back World Series titles.  After pitching a perfect inning in his Met debut on Opening Day against the Cincinnati Reds he struggled immensely.  He would pitch in 11 games for the Mets allowing 25 hits and 16 earned runs in 15 2/3 innings.  With his ERA at a whopping 9.19 the Mets had little choice but to cut ties and he was released on May 8th.  It would be his last appearance in a Major League uniform.

While with the Mets Tidrow wore number 32. 

Dick Tidrow also played for the following teams:
Cleveland Indians – 1972-1974
New York Yankees – 1974-1979
Chicago Cubs – 1979-1982
Chicago White Sox – 1983

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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Ross Jones – His New York Mets Career 1984

ross-jonesWhen manager Davey Johnson announced his final opening day roster for the 1984 season there was one surprise addition.  His name was Ross Jones, a minor league middle infielder the Mets acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1983.  Jones was used primary as a pinch hitter/runner and occasional late inning defensive replacement in 1984.  The highlight of his Met career came on April 28th against the Philadelphia Phillies when he hit a game winning double in the bottom of the 9th inning.  It would be his only hit as Met.  With his average at just .111 he was sent down to the minors in the middle of May.  He would make another brief appearance with the Mets in July but was once again sent down after two games.  Jones spent the entire 1985 season with in the Mets minor league system before the Mets finally released him prior to the 1986 season.

In 17 games for the Mets Ross Jones hit .100 with one RBI 

While with the Mets Jones wore number 21.

Ross Jones also played for the following teams:
Seattle Mariners – 1986
Kansas City Royals – 1987

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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