Saturday, November 28, 2009
#4) JESSE GONDER
Jesse Gonder was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the New York Mets in exchange for Charlie Neal and Sammy Taylor on July 1, 1963. He served as the starting catcher, and clean-up hitter during the first game ever played at Shea Stadium in 1964. Jesse continued to enter into the Shea record books when he hit the first ever triple by a Mets player there on May 8th in a game facing the St. Louis Cardinals. Gonder was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Gary Kolb on July 25, 1965.
After he retired from the game, Jesse became a bus driver for Golden Gate Transit in the San Francisco Bay area, remaining in that position for over 20 years before retiring in the mid-1990s.
Jessie Gonder passed away in Oakland, California on November 14, 2004. "After retirement it was all bowling and poker," his daughter Tanya was quoted. "He was a very good father, a devoted family man. His grandchildren were the apple of his eye."
I created Jesse Gonder's card in the set from an autographed index card purchased from Bob Dowen on November 27, 2009.