Sunday, October 16, 2011
#461) JIM LINDEMAN
Jim Lindeman joined the New York Mets when he signed a free agent contract on December 16, 1993. The team signed the veteran bench player as a possible first baseman to replace the recently departed Eddie Murray. Jim was invited to major-league spring training camp where he hit for near a .400 batting average. Even with that success the Mets chose to trade for David Segui and option Lindeman to Triple-A Norfolk. "It was the first time I've ever been surprised," he said. "In 11 years, I've never been surprised at where I was assigned. Until this year."
Jim began his season with the Tides very well, and earned a promotion to New York when outfielder, Kevin McReynolds was injured. Lindeman made his Mets debut on May 20, 1994. He came on as a pinch-hitter during New York's 5-3 loss to the Phillies in Philadelphia. Jim got his first starting assignment as the Mets' left fielder the next day. He responded with three hits, two runs scored and an RBI. Actually, the addition of Lindeman proved to energize a lethargic Mets offense, but it brought with it a questionable fielding ability.
A dropped fly ball in June resulted in a loss to the Atlanta Braves. New York Manager Dallas Green was less than understanding. "The big E—that's what hurt," the 59-year-old skipper complained. "It set the whole game up for them. It's a fly ball, all he's got to do is catch the thing. If it's a tough play I don't blame him. But I blame him if it's one I can catch. You're paid to catch the baseball if it's up in the air." Lindeman agreed, "There's no excuses, no nothing. I just missed it. I don't think I've ever in my life dropped a ball, but I did tonight."
Jim's power bat more than made up for any defensive shortcomings. He was a much welcomed hitter when in the lineup. His home run in San Francisco on July 4th proved to be the game winner over the Giants. "He has the ability to do what he did—which is hit the long ball," said Green. "We've been looking for a little offense and truthfully, he's given it to us."
During the 1994 campaign he contributed seven home runs, 20 RBIs, and a .270 batting average in 52 games. Lindeman was invited back to training camp for the next season, but was released by the New York Mets on April 24, 1995.
Jim finished his college degree at Northeastern Illinois University after he retired from professional baseball. Lindeman became a Physical Education teacher and assistant baseball coach at Lane Tech in Chicago. He quickly moved to Rolling Meadows High School where he also served as a PE teacher, head varsity baseball coach, and assistant freshman basketball coach. "I plan to continue teaching and coaching at Rolling Meadows until the day I retire." said Lindeman. Jim and his wife of more than 25 years, Debbie have four children. "My only real hobby is golf, and I don't have much time to play." says Jim. "So I am basically busy with teaching, coaching, and most importantly, family obligations."
Jim Lindeman signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on January 23, 2009.