Tuesday, January 5, 2010
#198) KEN SANDERS
Ken Sanders was traded to the New York Mets from the California Angels in exchange for Ike Hampton on March 22, 1975. "The Bulldog" had previously saved 31 games in a season and been named the American League Fireman of the Year with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1971. His role in New York was to serve as a set-up man for Skip Lockwood. However, an unfortunate accident would serve as Ken's most memorable moment as a Met.
On August 10, 1975, the Mets were facing the Los Angeles Dodgers at Shea Stadium. Sanders was brought in to pitch the bottom of the eight inning. During his warm up tosses Ken lost a return throw from catcher John Stearns and it struck him directly in the right eye. "I never touched it." Sanders recalls, "It actually knocked me out." The incident is even more remembered because the game's television broadcast was on the air at that very moment. Announcer Lindsey Nelson was reading the out of town scores with the warmup occurring in the background. Even after Ken was struck in the face the scores were continued to be read until Nelson said, "Ken Sanders is hurt. I confess I did not see what happened." The right-hander was unable to enter that game and was forced to the disabled list until September 1st.
Ken would appear in 60 games during his two seasons in New York with a 2-3 record and fine 2.60 ERA. His contract was sold to the Kansas City Royals on September 17, 1976.
Since 1987, Sanders has chaired an annual charity golf tournament in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin called "Swing With The Legends." Ken also has been on the board of directors for both the Major League Baseball Alumni Association and the MACC (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer) Fund. After retiring from baseball he has built a successful career in the real estate business. After selling his firm, Equitable Stefaniak Realty he became the Vice President of Corporate Services for GMAC First Realty in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Ken Sanders signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on January 7, 2009.