Jan 14, 2015

Short Time New Jersey Born Mets Reserve Catcher: John Sullivan (1967)

John Peter Sullivan was born January 3, 1941, in Somerville, New Jersey. The six foot tall catcher graduated from Bernardsville, High School, threw right handed but hit left handed.

He was signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1959 and showed some power hitting 13 HRs while batting .322 in the New York / Penn. League. He played at AAA Syracuse appearing in a handful of games in 1963 /1964.

By 1965 he was the Tigers Opening Day catcher due to injury to Bill Freehan. Sully eventually got his first big league hit, which was a HR against the Kansas City A's. Soon regular catcher Bill Freehan took over the position, remaining as the teams main catcher until 1976 with ten All Star appearances.

Sullivan hit two HRs that season, with a career high 11 RBIs, and .267 average, as the backup catcher to Freehan in 34 games. After spending the next year in the minors, he was drafted away by the New York Mets in the 1966 Rule 5 draft.

Sullivan served as the primary backup to Jerry Grote in his first full season behind the plate (1967) appearing in 65 games, batting only .218 with no HRs, five doubles and six RBIs in 147 at bats. In a late July West Coast road trip, he got five of his six season RBIs, enjoying two different multi hit games.

In 1968 the Mets brought up Duffy Dyer as backup catcher & also acquired J.C. Martin ending Sullivan's brief stint in New York. He was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies, playing in only 12 games for 1968. He never made the big leagues again, going to the Baltimore Orioles & Kansas City Royals organizations, playing through 1972.

Retirement: After his playing days, he managed in the Royals farm system from 1973-1979. He then coached in the big leagues with the Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves & Toronto Blue Jays, winning two World Series in Toronto (1992 & 1993).

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