Wednesday, June 2, 2010
#349) KEITH MILLER
Keith Miller was signed by the New York Mets as a free agent on September 6, 1984. He had been first signed as a second round draft choice by the New York Yankees, but they chose to void the contract citing a knee injury. Miller served the Mets organization as a very versatile player that could play both infield and outfield positions. A player who worked hard and won the respect of his managers along the way.
He made his major league debut on June 16, 1987. Keith made an immediate impression that game. Miller collected two hits in his four at-bats facing the Expos in Montreal. He attempted to stretch the second single into a double. The hustling infielder was cut down by the Expos' center fielder, and dislocated his finger during the head-first slide. Keith rose to his feet and reset the finger himself to remain in the game. When the injury later proved too prohibitive he was placed on the disabled list on June 29th. The Mets reactivated him on September 1st, but he was limited to pinch-running duty. Post-season surgery was performed on October 7th to repair ligament and tendon damage.
Miller was the first Mets' player to report to spring training the next year with good reason. "There are no jobs on the club," He was quoted. "Nothing. They're solid everywhere. But I can play second, third and center. And I was always driven—I guess 'determined' is a better word—to succeed. Ever since I was a little kid." The man often described as a "gamer" found a way to help a very talented team in 1988. He appeared in 40 games, but spent most of the season shuttling between the rosters of New York and Triple-A Tidewater. A pattern that would continue during most of his Mets' career.
Keith was established as the starting center fielder on Opening Day 1990. The move was made more as a way to get him into the lineup every day. Concern over his lack of experience at the position (he had only played seven games in the major leagues there) was lost on the 25 year-old, "I'm not used to center, but I feel fine out there, and I'm not afraid." Miller struggled defensively as the everyday option. He was returned to his more accustomed, and valuable role of "super-sub". Keith would excel in 1991 and post his best season in New York with a .280 batting average over 98 games.
The New York Mets traded Miller along with Kevin McReynolds and Gregg Jeffries in exchange for Bret Saberhagen and Bill Pecota on December 6, 1991.
After his playing career he has become a sports agent working for the ACES agency run by Seth and Sam Levinson. "I loved playing the game so much that to me it was the best job in the world," he explained. "But I look at what I'm doing now as the second-best job in the world." One of Keith's most notable clients is David Wright.
Miller was inducted into the Oral Roberts University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.
Keith Miller signed his card in the set for my friend, Lou while he was attending the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets game at Citi Field on May 25, 2010.