Saturday, November 21, 2015

#297) MIKE BISHOP


Mike Bishop joined the New York Mets organization when he signed as a free agent on January 10, 1983. The Santa Maria native was selected by the California Angels in the 12th round of the 1976 amateur draft and remained with that club's minor league system until 1982.

The Mets starting catcher, John Stearns suffered a strained right elbow and was placed on the disabled list early in the 1983 season. Stearns was activated on April 12th feeling that he was ready to return to action. During practice it was determined that was not the case and John returned to the disabled list three days later. "But the weather was so cold," Mets general manager Frank Cashen explained, "that he found he couldn't turn the ball loose. There's no new injury. We just feel he's not ready yet. And I can't take a chance going with only one catcher."

Preferred minor league reserve catcher Ronn Reynolds had been promoted to New York as Stearns initial replacement. League rules prohibit any player returned to the minor leagues from being recalled a second time within a 10-day period. So the Mets instead purchased the contract of Mike Bishop from Triple-A Tidewater to fill the vacant roster spot on April 15th.

The 24-year-old rookie would make his major league debut as a part of the Mets the very next day, April 16, 1983. Bishop was the starting catcher facing the first place Cardinals in St. Louis. Mike would go 0-3 at the plate with New York losing it's sixth straight game of the young season 6-2.

Bishop's next appearance came catching Mike Torrez at Shea Stadium on April 20th against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bishop delivered a double to left field in the second inning for his first major league hit. He would score a run and later draw two walks in the 7-5 Mets victory.

Mike made his final major league appearance when the Mets defeated the Braves 5-3 in Atlanta on April 24th. He was sent back to the Tidewater Tides along with shortstop Ron Gardenhire when the Mets chose to promote Tucker Ashford and the celebrated prospect Darryl Strawberry from Triple-A on May 5th.

Michael Bishop died of a heart attack in Bakersfield, California on February 8, 2005 at the young age of 46.

I created Mike Bishop's card in the set from an autographed index card from "The Sports Collection of Joe Gerson" that was obtained from Dave Berman on February 16, 2015.

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