Two Time Eighties Mets Infielder: Bill Almon (1980/1987)

William Francis Almon was born on November 21, 1952 in Providence, Rhode Island. The six-foot three right hand hitter, attended Brown University, getting drafted as the number all around pick by the San Diego Padres in 1974. 

After flying through AA & AAA minor league ball, the Padres brought him up right away that September after just 39 games.

MLB Debut: Almon played his first game for the Padres on September 2nd, 1974, at age 21 in a game against the Braves in Atlanta. In the bottom of the 1st on his first chance, he made an error on a Davey Johnson ground ball with the bases, two runs scored in the four-run inning. The Braves went on to an 8-2 win. Almon played in six games that September batting .316.

He spent most of the next season at AAA Hawaii where he batted .221 & made 48 errors at short stop. He did steal 33 bases & scored 76 runs.

 In 1976 he improved his average to .291, making 36 errors at short with a .947 fielding %. He was back with the Padres for the September call up & drove in two runs in his first game back.

Padres Career: In 1977 he became San Diego’s main short stop, leading all NL shortstops in put outs (303) & errors (41). He led the NL in sacrifice hits (20) & was second in triples (11). He batted .261 with 2 HRs 18 doubles & 43 RBIs while stealing 21 bases. Of his 160 hits 129 of them were singles. Almon struck out 114 times (5th most in the NL).

With the arrival of Ozzie Smith, he moved over to third base in 1978, making 21 errors there (third most in the NL) batting .252 with 19 doubles & 21 RBIs.

In 1979 the Padres moved him from third to back up Fernando Gonzalez at second base, playing 65 games there & 25 behind at short stop. 

In December of 1979 he was traded along with Danny Briggs to the Montreal Expos for former All Star second baseman Dave Cash. On July 7th, 1980, after playing just 18 games he was granted free agency and four days later he signed with the New York Mets.

Mets Career: It would be the first of two brief stints with the Mets.
 
He made his Mets debut coming in as a pinch runner on July 11th in Pittsburgh. On July 19th, in his fifth Mets game, he had a big four hit day, scoring four runs in a big Mets 13-3 win over the Reds in Cincinnati. 

On August 10th he drove in a run in a 4-1 win over the Cardinals in St. Louis. Almon drove in three more runs in September. 

Almon played a utility role backing up Frank Tavares at short stop (22 games) as well as Doug Flynn at second base (18 games). He played in 48 games batting .170 with 19 hits in 112 at bats, with four RBIs. On the field he made seven errors.

The fifth place Mets released him that December.     

Post Mets Career: Almon went on to play for Tony LaRussa with the Chicago White Sox for the next two seasons, having a fine season in 1981. He was back in a starting role, playing in 103 games in the strike shortened season, batting .301 (349 at bats) with 16 stolen bases, posting a .969 fielding %.

After Chicago he signed a two-year deal with the Oakland A’s. In 1983 the versatile Almon played at short stop (52 games) third base (40 games) first base (38 games) & outfield (23 games). Almon played in 145 games having career highs in doubles (29) stolen bases (26) & RBIs (63). The next year he batted just .223 in 106 games.

He then signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates for two seasons in a utility role.

Return to Mets: In May of 1987 he was sent back to the Mets in a trade for Al Perique who had had played in just six Mets games going 0-6 at the plate. 

Almon played in 49 games for the ’87 Mets, at short stop (22 games) second base (10 games) & first base (2 games). 

Walk Off Hit: On June 24th he had his big Mets moment, Almon singled in the bottom of the 9th inning against Cubs closer, Lee Smith driving in Kevin McReynolds with the game winning walk off run. 

Overall, in 1987 he hit .241 with three extra base hits while driving in four runs.

He wrapped up his 15 years career in 1988 with the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Career Stats:  Lifetime he batted .254 with 846 hits, 138 doubles, 36 HRs, 296 RBIs, & a .305 on base %. 

At short stop he posted a lifetime .960 fielding percentage (616 games) at third base .927 % (212) games, in the outfield (.990 %) 161 games second base .973 % (102 games) & he even played one game at catcher.  

Retirement: After his playing days Almon went back to Brown University as their baseball coach from 1993-1996.

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