Monday, April 26, 2010
#52) LARRY MILLER
Larry Miller was traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the New York Mets in exchange for Dick Smith on October 15, 1964. He started the 1965 season with Triple-A Buffalo. A strong performance there had the left-hander with a 6-1 record and 2.59 ERA when he was promoted to New York. Larry made his Mets' debut on June 3, 1965. Used primarily as a relief pitcher, it was in this role that Miller recorded his lone Mets' win. Throwing 3.2 innings to finish the 3-2 victory over the Dodgers in Los Angeles on June 20th.
The Topeka, Kansas native had a dubious distinction. Larry was the final pitcher removed from the mound by legendary manager, Casey Stengel. "I knew I was getting tired," Miller recalled. "Even the outs were line drives at somebody. I knew I wasn't going to be around much longer." Larry wasn't going to give up, even when he saw Stengel leave the dugout. "Casey had a bad leg— it took him awhile to get around— and if he came out, you were done," Larry said. "When he got close, I said, 'Casey, I think I'm OK. I'm not that tired.' He said, 'Miller, you may not be tired, but those damned outfielders are exhausted.'" Stengel removed Miller and gave the ball to Dennis Musgraves. The manager would send out a rookie named, Tug McGraw to finish the ninth inning of the Mets 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. That night Casey Stengel fell and broke his hip exiting a cab. He would not return to the Mets and officially retired on August 30, 1965.
Larry was optioned to the minors along with six other players on October 22, 1965. Miller pitched the entire 1966 season in Triple-A, and did not return to New York until he received a September call-up. Only appearing in four games for the Mets to close that season before leaving the organization in 1967 to join the San Francisco Giants.
"For me having had a marginal career," Miller said, "I've got to say that I had some exposure to some really significant people." Larry had appeared on pitching staffs that featured Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, and had owned the locker next to Sandy Koufax while a member of the Dodgers.
Larry Miller signed his card in the set for me from an autograph request sent to his home on October 27, 2008.