John Stephen DeMerit, one time known as Thumper, was born on January 8, 1936 in West Bend, Wisconsin. The tall six foot one right hand hitter, played both basketball & baseball at the University of Wisconsin.
In May of 1957 he received a $100,000 signing bonus from his home state Milwaukee Braves, who were the best team in baseball at the time. Three months later he found himself on the Milwaukee Braves World Championship team, skipping right over the minor leagues. He got a base hit in his first MLB at bat & batted .147 in 33 games. He appeared in Game #3 of the 1957 World Series as a pinch runner for the World Champion Braves.
He was back at AAA in 1958 hitting 13 HRs getting up for three games with that years N.L. Champion Braves but not seeing any World Series action. After hitting a dozen HRs in the minors in 1961 he was selected by the New York Mets in the expansion draft as the 20th overall pick.
DeMerit made the club out of Spring Training, and appeared in the first Mets home game as a pinch runner. The next day he got the start in left field at the Polo Grounds, going 0-3 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
On May 16th DeMerit hit his only career HR, it came off the Cubs Dick Ellsworth in a 5-4 Mets win against Chicago. He would only get four starts in the outfield, and play in 14 games overall. DeMerit was 3-16, batting .188 with one RBI & three runs scored before being released at the end of May.
Retirement: After baseball, he worked in the insurance business before becoming the director of parks and recreation in Port Washington, Wisconsin.