Monday, January 31, 2011
#409) DAVE GALLAGHER
Dave Gallagher was traded from the California Angels to the New York Mets in exchange for Hubie Brooks on December 10, 1991. He said the trade "was kind of a shocker to me," but his disappointment was eased by a reunion with Mets manager Jeff Torborg. Dave had played for Torborg as a member of the Chicago White Sox.
The veteran outfielder made his Mets debut on Opening Day —April 6, 1992. He entered the game as a pinch-runner for Eddie Murray in St. Louis facing the Cardinals. Gallagher had been acquired to be a bench player, but did get his first start of the year on April 12th as the lead-off hitter and left fielder at Shea Stadium against the Montreal Expos. In all he would appear in 98 games during the 1992 season. Hitting for a .240 batting average with one home run and 21 RBIs.
Dave thought he had resigned with the Mets for the next year, but had the Player's Association void the contract. The proposed agreement would have exceeded more than the 20% maximum cut allowed by the collective bargaining agreement. The club found a compromise and eventually did sign Gallagher to a one-year deal for the 1993 season.
Dave rebounded and raised his batting average to .274 during 99 games. Not nearly enough to offset the damage caused by a relentless series of off-field antics from several of his teammates. Manager, Jeff Torborg was fired and replaced mid-season with Dallas Green. All of which disappointed Gallagher who was a Trenton, New Jersey native and often had many friends and relatives in the Shea Stadium seats for the games. The Mets would lose 103 games and finish last in the National League Eastern Division.
"I agree that it was, "The Worst Team That Money Could Buy,'" Dave said in a 2008 interview. "It wasn't even about the baseball. I honestly felt like I was in kindergarten. It was really two years of feeling like I was in the minor leagues."
Gallagher was traded to the Altanta Braves in exchange for Pete Smith on November 24, 1993. Part of a series of moves that were made by the Mets at the conclusion of the year.
Dave was granted a patent for the "Stride Tutor" in 1987. A hitting aid that is designed to correct flaws in a batter's stride. "I decided there was too much inconsistency in my stride," Gallagher told Sports Illustrated magazine in 1989. "I was jumping at the ball, throwing my balance off. I figured that if I could control my feet, the rest of my body would follow suit. I thought why not just put something there to control them?" He developed the prototype from items purchased at a hardware store during the off-season. The apparatus has been used by many major-leaguers, including Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.
In 2002, he founded the Dave Gallagher's All-American Baseball Academy at Frogbridge Daycamp in New Jersey. There he is able to continue teaching the game to young players. A skill that began when he served as the hitting instructor for the Triple-A Trenton Thunder baseball team following retirement from his playing career in 1996.
Gallagher has been part of the SNY Television broadcasts of Brooklyn Cyclones games.