NEW YORK — Sure, the 1973 Mets had an awesome pitching employees led by Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Jon Matlack. On offense, New York’s MVP that yr was a second baseman named Felix Millan, and what a yr he had to assist the membership make it to the World Collection towards the Athletics.
The staff was hit by the damage bug, as key gamers like Cleon Jones, Bud Harrelson and Jerry Grote missed important time. Millan led the staff in video games performed (153) and batting common (.290) and completed fifth in Wins Above Replacement (3.2, per Baseball Reference).
“I thank God I didn’t have accidents like my teammates. I liked to play. I needed to be on the sphere daily,” Millan stated through phone. “God stored me wholesome to play in New York.”
Millan achieved a lot with an unorthodox batting stance. He choked up on the bat and held his palms close to the trademark. Let’s not neglect that he was clean at second base, turning double performs with Harrelson and making spectacular diving performs.
Millan stated he by no means would have had a productive profession if not for Hub Kittle, who managed Millan when each had been with Class A Yakima in 1965. Millan was in a severe stoop and his palms had been positioned close to the knob of the bat. It was Kittle who made the suggestion to choke up, and the remaining is historical past.
After he perfected his swing, Millan was within the huge leagues by 1966 for the Braves. His first roommate was Hank Aaron, who went to Braves touring secretary Donald Davidson and insisted that Millan stick with Hammerin’ Hank on the inns. All Aaron did was present Millan the ropes on and off the sphere, and it paid off for Millan throughout his 12 years within the huge leagues.
“He took me underneath his wing,” Millan recalled. “Every little thing he did, he did it to assist me.”
Millan had 5 productive years in New York from 1973-77. He solely hit eight house runs, however he batted .278 with 182 RBIs and struck out 92 instances in 2,954 plate appearances. Millan usually hit close to the highest of the order whereas taking part in for the Mets. All he needed to do was get hits and advance the runners, which he did efficiently.
There was a motive Millan was productive for the Mets. When the Braves traded him and left-hander George Stone to New York for right-handers Gary Gentry and Danny Frisella on Nov. 2, 1972, Millan celebrated and felt he was going house as a result of there have been plenty of Puerto Ricans residing in New York.
“I used to be glad. I play baseball for my folks,” Millan stated. “ [Being Puerto Rican] means lots.”
Millan’s closest pal on the Mets was first baseman John Milner, who would usually inform Millan the place to go eat.
“He taught me lots in New York as a result of I didn’t know an excessive amount of concerning the place,” Millan recalled. “He would inform me what to do, simply sharing issues with me.”
Millan’s profession in New York got here to an abrupt finish through the second recreation of a doubleheader towards the Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium on Aug. 12, 1977.
Millan entered the sport within the backside of the sixth inning on a double change. The Pirates had runners on first and second, when Mario Mendoza hit a floor ball to shortstop Doug Flynn, who threw the ball to Millan for the second out of the inning. Millan didn’t get an opportunity to throw to first as a result of Pirates catcher Ed Ott slid laborious into second base, knocking Millan to the bottom.
In flip, in line with Jane Allen Quevedo of Baseball Reference, Millan was indignant and punched Ott within the face with the ball in his hand. Ott, a collegiate wrestler, then ended Millan’s season by physique slamming him to the bottom. Millan suffered a damaged collarbone.
Virtually 46 years later. Millan stated all is forgiven and he wish to speak to Ott.
“I want him the most effective,” Millan stated. “You already know, issues occur in baseball. I didn’t know he was that type of participant to interrupt up a double play. … I reacted slightly in another way. … I assumed he tried to harm me. I hit him. … I’m actually sorry that I did it. I didn’t know he was a wrestler in school. If I ever noticed him, I wish to say, ‘God bless you’ and I might love to listen to from him.”
Millan’s baseball profession got here to an finish after the 1980 season after three years for the Yokohama Taiyo Whales within the Japan Central League, the place he gained a batting title in 1979.