Nov 1, 2013

Former Mets Player & Coach: Billy Connors (1967-1968)

William Joseph Connors was Born on November 2, 1941 in Schenectady, New York. At the age of twelve Connors was a member of the 1954 Little League World Champion team from Schenectady, NY. Later in life after he high school he attended Syracuse Unioversity getting signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1961.

His minor league career was highlighted by a 17-4 season in 1965 between all three levels of the Cubs system. He debuted in 1966 for the Cubs appearing in eleven games, taking a loss, his only decision of the year on May 30th in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. He was back down at AAA in July finishing the season there at Tacoma in the Pacific Coast League. In 1967 he went 9-9 at Tacoma before getting his contract purchased by the New York Mets in late August.

He was brought right up to the Mets staff pitching the second game of a double header on August 22nd against the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium. He gave up two runs over two innings allowing a HR to Dick Allen while earning no decision. Connors would pitch six games for the ’67 Mets in relief posting no record & a 6.23 ERA.

In 1968 he went 8-5 at AAA Jacksonville pitching in both relief & as a starter. He was brought up to Gil Hodges staff in late July and his only decision was a blown save taking the loss in Atlanta on July 28th. In that game he gave up a bottom of the 9th triple to Mike Lum & a base hit to Bob Johnson. On the season he made nine appearances posting an ERA of 9.00, pitching his final MLB game on August 28th against the Cincinnati Reds.

In a three season career he was 0-2 with a 7.53 ERA in 26 appearances. In 1969 as the Amazing Mets were on their way to a Worlds Championship, the staff had no room for Connors. At AAA Tidewater he was 7-13 for the first place Tides, third on the staff in wins behind Jon Matlack (14-7) Danny Frisella (11-2) & Larry Bearnarth (11-4). He finished out his pitching days in 1970 at age 29.

Retirement: After his playing days Connors became the Mets batting practice pitcher for the 1971 season. He then became a minor league instructor with the team through the 1976 season. He went to the Phillies organization from 1977-1979 before becoming a major league pitching coach for the next 17 seasons.

He coached with the Kansas City Royals (1980-1981) Chicago Cubs (1982-1986 / 1991-1993) & Seattle Mariners (1987-1988). Connors served three terms with the AL New York team (1989-1990 / 1994-1995 / 2000). He worked in the clubs front office as a senior director of player personnel & now serves as V.P. in that position.

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