Jun 11, 2015

Brief Mid Seventies Mets Pinch Hitter: Jim Dwyer (1976)

James Edward Dwyer was born on June 3rd, 1950 in Evergreen Park, Illinois. The five foot ten inch, left handed hitter was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 11th round of the 1971 amateur draft.

Dwyer got to the big leagues two years later & would spend 18 seasons as a utility player. He played for seven different teams, beginning with the Cardinals (1973-1975) & the Montreal Expos (1975-1976). In 1975 he batted .286 for the Expos in 60 games & in 1976 was batting .185 after 50 games when he was traded to the New York Mets.

In a strange trade that really made no sense, Dwyer was sent to New York along with Pepe Mangual in exchange for long time favorite Wayne Garrett & Del Unser. Unser had hit over .300 in 1975 with New York.

The Mets were in Montreal at the time of the trade, Dwyer, as well as Mangual debuted as Mets on July 23rd 1976. In the 8th inning of a Tom Seaver, Steve Rogers pitchers match up, the Mets were down 2-0. Jerry Grote led off with a single & Dwyer pinch hit for Bud Harrelson. He also singled, Pepe Mangual then followed with a triple scoring both runners & tying the game. As fate would have it The Mets lost when Del Unser hit a walk off HR.

Dwyer would just get one start as a Met, going 0-3 in a 2-1 loss to the Phillies at Shea Stadium. He would play 11 games as a Met getting just that first hit & another in his final game, also against the Expos coming as a pinch hitter on September 28th in a 5-4 Met win. He batted .154 (2-13) with a pair of walks.

In December he was part of a three team trade that sent him to the Chicago Cubs. Chicago's Pete LaCock went to the Kansas City Royals & the Mets received Sheldon Mallory. Dwyer would never play for the Cubs going to the St. LOuis Cardinals (1977-1978) San Francisco Giants (1978) & Boston Red Sox (1979-1980) before finally finding a home in Baltimore.

Dwyer would spend eight seasons with the Orioles, becoming one of the games better pinch hitters, having nine pinch hit HRs in that time. In the Orioles 1983 Championship season he got into 100 games, batting .286 with 8 HRs and career highs in doubles (17) & RBIs (38).

Post Season: Dwyer got one hit in the 1983 ALCS against the Chicago White Sox, getting a start in Game #3 in Comiskey Park. Manager Earl Weaver gave him the start in Game #1 of the World Series at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium as well. Dwyer hit a 1st inning HR off the Philadelphia Phillies John Denny, the only run the Orioles would score in the 2-1 loss. The Orioles went on to win the Series in five games.

In 1987 Dwyer hit a career high 15 HRs while batting .274 with 33 RBIs in his next too last season in Baltimore. He would go on to play with the Minnesota Twins (1988-1989) Montreal Expos (1989) & finish with the wins again in 1990 at age 40. In his 18 year career, Dwyer batted .260 with 719 hits 77 HRs 115 doubles 17 triples 349 RBIs 409 runs scored & a .353 on base %.

Retirement: After his playing days he managed the Portland Beavers (1992-1994) & also coached with the New Britian Rock Cats. He was also a Twins minor league co-coordinator from 1997-2005. Since 2006 (2006-2013) he has been a coach in the Florida State League at Fort Myers.

His uncle Don Dwyer was a minor league second baseman with the New York Giants in 1947.

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