Friday, September 11, 2015
Chuck made his Mets debut on May 18th in Milwaukee facing the Braves. His first game at Shea Stadium was on May 26th during a 8-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Hiller was used as a second baseman in 80 of the 100 games he appeared in to complete his first year in Flushing. Chuck saw his role shift to that of a pinch-hitter when Ron Hunt returned from injury on August 4th. The 30-year-old infielder was never know as a superb fielder. "Chuck Hiller was one helluva hitter, but he had iron hands," joked teammate Ed Kranepool. "You couldn't play him on a rainy day; his hands would rust."
Hiller took to his assignment as the Mets primary pinch-hitter during the 1966 campaign, "We're a stronger club when I have him available in an emergency," Mets manager Wes Westrum explained to The Sporting News in April of 1967. Chuck did register a then single-season club record and 1966 National League season high, 16 pinch hits. He finished with a fine .280 batting average on the year.
The Mets traded Ron Hunt and announced the plan to platoon Hiller with Eddie Bressoud at second base for the 1967 season. Chuck injured his shoulder during spring training and then weeks later fractured a bone in his right hand when struck by a ball during batting practice. Hiller returned from the disabled list and on July 11, 1967 he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Phil Linz. It was the end of his playing career with the New York Mets.
Chuck returned to the organization mostly at the minor league level as a manager and instructor for 24 years. He did serve as the New York Mets major league third base coach under manager Buddy Harrelson during the 1990 season. "I've never met a better communicator and teacher," said Jim Duquette, the Mets senior vice president of baseball operations in 2004. "He just loved to instruct young players. Even in retirement he always came down to spring training and had such a passion for working with our young players."
Hiller passed away at the age of 70 in St. Pete Beach, Florida on October 20, 2004.
I created Chuck Hiller's card in the set from a signed index card from my collection.
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
The left-hander made his debut with the Mets the next day, June 10th at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. Lee entered the game to pitch a scoreless ninth inning during the 8-2 loss to the Expos. He would first pitch at Shea Stadium on June 12th facing the Pittsburgh Pirates. Summoned again to start the ninth inning, he would record the first two outs but then surrender two hits. Jeff Innis relieved and induced a ground out to end the 3-2 loss without either of those runners scoring.
Guetterman had an very effective month of July for the Mets. He allowed just three earned runs during his 13 appearances spanning 15-2/3 innings of work. During that time he earned two wins and recorded his first save as a Met. The final game of July was at Veteran's Stadium and was much less successful for the southpaw. Summoned to finish the eight inning of a 2-2 tie, Lee allowed a pair of hits to load the bases. The next batter, Dave Hollins of the Phillies ended his day with a grand slam that proved to be the game-winning hit of the 6-3 Philadelphia victory. "With a 3-1 count and the bases loaded, you go right after him," Guetterman said afterwards. "Obviously, I didn't have what it takes today."
Lee would finish his 1992 season with 43 appearances, a 3-4 record, 2 saves and a 5.82 ERA over 43-1/3 innings of work. He would leave the New York Mets on January 13, 1993 when he signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Guetterman retired from baseball following the 1996 season. Lee was named to the Liberty University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. Since his professional pitching career ended, he has been serving as an instructor in the Tennessee area through Lee Guetterman Sports.
Lee Guetterman signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on January 24, 2009.
Thursday, September 3, 2015
McGuire began the season with the Norfolk Tides of the International League. During a group of transactions on June 2nd, the Mets purchased Ryan's contract from the Tides and brought him to New York. He was replacing outfielder Jon Nunnally who was designated for assignment.
Ryan made his lone appearance for the New York Mets on June 4th. He was the starting right fielder facing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Shea Stadium. McGuire drew a walk in his first at-bat in the second inning, but would ground out in his next two trips to the plate. He was replaced by Melvin Mora in the 9th inning of the lop-sided 15-5 loss to the Rays.
McGuire was designated for assignment the next day and after clearing waivers was returned to Norfolk on June 7th. He finished the Triple-A season with a .298 batting average, 10 home runs and 62 RBIs. Ryan signed with the Florida Marlins as a free agent on November 3, 2000.
"I was hoping that I would have at least gotten called up in September, but sometimes it's tough with teams like the Mets and the Yankees, where they have unlimited financial resources." McGuire reflected in 2002. "They don't really need to call up guys from their Triple-A teams. If they feel like they need somebody, they'll just go and get it from somebody else's big-league team and pay the money for him."
"There are a lot of guys who have played for 15 years and never had the opportunity to be in the postseason or the World Series. I was sitting there like, 'Oh man.' I felt like I had a pretty good year and a lot of confidence. I felt like, Maybe I could do something for them.'"
Ryan finished his major league playing career in 2002. He became the marketing director at Sfx Sports/Wasserman Media Group in 2004. Shifting his focus to property and financial management in 2007. He remains close to the game he loves as a baseball coach for the ROX Baseball Club in Irving, California.
Ryan McGuire signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his office address on January 18, 2012.