Friday, November 12, 2010
#271) BOB BAILOR
Bob Bailor was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the New York Mets in exchange for Roy Lee Jackson on December 12, 1980. The versatile player made his first appearance for the Mets at Shea Stadium on April 29, 1981. He entered the game replacing Frank Taveras at shortstop during the lop-sided 10-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was just one of three infield positions that he would play for the club during his years in New York. Also serving time in each of the three outfield positions as well.
Although missing most of the month of April to a pulled rib cage muscle he appeared in 51 games for the Mets that first season. Hitting for a .284 average in 81 at-bats, and proving his worth from the bench. Bailor had actually began to be used as the Mets starting shortstop in May. Replacing the struggling Taveras, until the baseball strike stopped the 1981 season on June 12th. When play resumed on August 10th he returned to his valuable reserve role.
Baltimore Orioles manager, Earl Weaver had said of Bailor, "His ticket to the Major Leagues is his wheels." The Mets saw more of those in 1982 when he stole 20 bases and became more of a regular in the lineup. Always known for his tremendous effort, Bob was part of the Mets first triple play in 16 years on August 3, 1982 at Wrigley Field. The alert shortstop Bailor caught a pop fly off the bat of Chicago Cub, Larry Bowa that started the play. Bob then threw to Wally Backman who relayed to Dave Kingman for the three outs.
Bailor still holds the backcovers of two New York Post editions in his memorabilia collection. The first showcased a Mets extra-inning win in San Francisco delivered by pinch-hitter, Rusty Staub. The headline: "Rusty does it Again!" The second from the home game on September 3, 1983. Bob singled in the bottom of the 15th-inning and scored on a Brian Giles sacrifice fly. Resulting in a 4-3 victory over the San Diego Padres. "We had to have been out of players, if I hit!" jokes Bailor. The newspaper headline read: "Miracle at Shea!"
Bob was the final player named in the trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with Carlos Diaz to bring Sid Fernandez and Ross Jones to the Mets on December 8, 1983.
After his successful playing career, he became a minor-league manager in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. While with the Syracuse Sky Chiefs he was named Triple-A Manager of the Year in 1989. He became the Blue Jays first base coach, and was a part of the 1992 and 1993 World Series Champions. In retirement he enjoys hunting in Colorado and fishing in Florida.
Bailor was inducted into the Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame in June of 2010. "It's a big thing for me," Bob said. "Being from Fayette County and growing up there and playing a lot of sports, this means a lot to me."
I created Bob Bailor's card in the set from an autographed index card purchased from the legendary autograph guy, Jack Smalling in January 2009.