Tuesday, August 24, 2010
#161) HANK WEBB
Hank Webb came to the New York Mets when he was selected in the 10th round of the free agent draft on June 7, 1968. The hard throwing prospect worked his way through the minor-leagues and made his New York debut on September 5, 1972. Entering the game against the Chicago Cubs at Shea Stadium and surrendering two runs in the ninth inning. His late season audition did not continue much better and had Webb returning to the minors after posting a 4.42 ERA in six appearances.
The Copiague, New York native looked good during the 1973 season at Triple-A Tidewater. Hank pitched nine complete games for the Tides, including a shutout, and even picked up two more relief appearances for the New York Mets in early May.
Webb threw the majority of the season for Tidewater again in 1974, and showed promise in a starting role. Hank continued to toss complete games and struck out 130 minor-league batters over his 152 innings of work. The Mets gave him another September call-up and during that opportunity came his most memorable moment at Shea Stadium.
The St. Louis Cardinals faced the Mets on September 11, 1974, in what would be the longest game ever played to a decision. Hank Webb took the mound for New York at the start of the 25th inning. He allowed an infield hit to the speedster, Bake McBride. Then while trying to hold him close uncorked an errant pick-off throw past the first baseman. Coupled with an error by catcher, Ron Hodges it allowed McBride to score, all he way from first base, what proved to be the winning run of a St. Louis 4-3 victory. The game ended at 3:13 A.M. (September 12th.) Taking seven hours and four minutes to play. Hank was credited with the loss for his first major-league decision.
Webb pitched in the most games of his big-league career the following season. Appearing in a total of 29 games. He was the starting pitcher in 15 of those. Hank would post a 7-6 record and 4.07 ERA during 1975. He was given a spot in the bullpen for the start of 1976, but found himself back in Tidewater after pitching his last game for the Mets on May 24th.
Hank was traded by New York along with Richard Sadler to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Rich Auerbach on February 7, 1977.
His son, Ryan Webb followed in his footsteps and became a major-league pitcher too. Making his debut with the San Diego Padres in 2009.
Hank became the Executive Director of Clearwater for Youth in Florida. The organization works with sports programs that serve the area's children.
Hank Webb signed his card in the set for me from an autograph request sent to his home on December 17, 2008.