Wednesday, June 3, 2009

#105 -- Gary Gentry

Gary Gentry

Sometimes, when you do well in the post-season, it really doesn't matter what else you do, you're remembered for that, good or bad. Just ask Cardinal fans about Tom Lawless. He did absolutely nothing, but he homered off Frank Viola in the 1987 Series and he would be enshrined in the Cardinal Hall of Fame if they'd won the Series that year. I suppose you can also ask Tom Niedenfuer (sorry Night Owl) who was a pretty good reliever that just happened to give up kind of important homers in Games 5 and 6 of the NLCS.

Gary Gentry won a game in the 1969 World Series and the regular season pennant clincher for the Miracle Mets. For Mets fans, he'll always be beloved, even though he was pretty much a .500/league average pitcher. He and Nolan Ryan emerged at about the same time, although Ryan was in the bullpen more while Gentry and Jim McAndrew held down rotation spots behind Seaver and Koosman.

He fell off some in 1972. It turned out he had an arm injury he'd been pitching through. The Mets traded him and Danny Frisella to the Braves for Felix Millan and George Stone. Looked like a pretty even trade at the time, but Stone went on to win 12 games for the '73 Mets and Millan was a regular 2nd baseman through most of the 70's. Gentry never recovered from his arm injury and Dan Frisella was a mediocre reliever until his death on New Years' Day 1977. While the Mets made a good trade here, they should have dealt Gentry a year earlier. Supposedly, when the Mets were picking up Jim Fregosi to be their regular third baseman, the Angels wanted the guy they got or Gentry, didn't matter to them. I think the Mets exercised some emotion and the rest is history.

Looks like Gary got picked off for his photo while the pitchers were warming up at the beginning of 1971 Spring Training. Hard to tell who's behind him. They look like black right-handed pitchers, but the Mets didn't have anybody like that on their 1971 roster. I suppose it could be position players (Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee, Donn Clendenon), but the guy on the far right definitely looks like he's in a pitching pose.

1972 Feature
The Game of the Day for June 3, 1972 is going to have to be the wild, 13-inning game won by the Yankees over the White Sox at Comiskey by an 18-10 score. The Sox scored 10 in the first 6 innings against Yankee starter Fred Beene and a couple of relievers. The Yankees had put up 8 runs in the 4th and 5th innings against Stan Bahnsen and Phil Regan. The Yanks tied the score at 10-10 in the top of the 9th with 2 runs off Rich Gossage. It was then a bullpen game and the Yanks had Sparky Lyle while the Sox (who had a thin bullpen anyway) only had Steve Kealey and Bart Johnson. I think they were out of pitchers because Johnson faced 13 hitters giving up 8 runs in the 13th. He got hit for homers by Thurman Munson and Bobby Murcer, gave up a double to Sparky Lyle, walked 4 and threw a wild pitch. That was Johnson's last game of the season, but in an interview he admitted to an off-season right knee injury (he reported it immediately to the Sox) that had been bothering and caused him to have surgery after 1972. I get interested in situations like this where, in a close game, the manager leaves the pitcher out there to absorb a beating.

There were a couple of other games I'd normally pick. Don Sutton improved to 8-0 with a 1-0, 7-hitter over the Cardinals. Bill Stoneman threw a 10-inning 1-0 shutout over the Astros.

The Number One song for the week ending June 3 was "I'll Take You There" by the gospel group The Staple Singers. I have a feeling they may have had a different idea of where "there" was than many of the hippies listenting on the radio. This is from the Flip Wilson Show (No, the Devil didn't make me do it.)


  1. Gentry looks like he's reaching to open a door. Or give someone a noogie.

  2. One day, when I'm in an especially angry mood, I'll have to do a full post on Niedenfuer. Expect it to be long.

  3. Glad to see this blog is back! :)

  4. Yes, the Mets were too emotional when dealing with their '69 world series heroes. they should have also traded JOnes, Agee and Swoboda to get a decent third baseman and make room for the up and coming Singleton and Otis.