Jul 4, 2015

Late Eighties / Early Nineties Sidearmed Mets Reliever: Jeff Innis (1988-1993)

Jeffery Davd Innis was born on July 5th, 1962 in Decatur, Illinois. While attending the University of Illinois, he was drafted in the 13th round of the 1983 draft by the New York Mets. 

The six foot one, right hander Innis was a submarine style pitcher that threw two different type curve balls. Innis was groomed as a reliever in the minor leagues, saving 25 games at AA Jackson in 1986, as the big league club was winning the World Series.

In 1987 he was brought up to an injury ridden Mets pitching staff in mid May. In his first outing at Shea Stadium he took a loss after allowing a run in the top of the 10th inning against the San Francisco Giants. It would be his only decision on the year, pitching in 17 games, posting a 3.16 ERA and going back to AAA Tidewater in August. 

There he finished the year at 6-1 with a 2.03 ERA with 28 strike outs in 44 innings.

In 1988 he began the season with the club, after a good Spring Training. On April 24th he allowed three runs through the 5th & 7th innings taking a loss to the Cardinals in St. Louis. He earned his first career victory on June 4th, beating the Chicago Cubs in two innings of late relief. A week later, although he had a 1.89 ERA after 19 innings pitched in 12 games, he was sent back down to Tidewater where he struggled going 0-5 the rest of the year.

The lifetime middle reliever would spend seven seasons with the Mets & became known for racking up innings. He would lead the club in appearances for three years straight from 1991 through 1993.

In 1991 after going 0-2, he went into the record books by setting a strange MLB record. Innis appeared in over 60 games of relief, without earning a win or a save.

In 1992 he earned the win on Opening Day in St. Louis in relief of David Cone, when Bobby Bonilla hit a 10th inning game winning HR. That season Innis set a club record making 76 appearances (later broken by Turk Wendell) which was fifth most in the league. On the season he was 6-9 with 16 holds to his credit & one save. He posted a solid 2.86 ERA out of the Mets bull pen.

In 1993, he returned again, to make 67 appearances, going 2-3 with three saves & a 4.11 ERA. By 1994 the Mets lost interest in him & he went to the Minnesota Twins signing as a free agent. But Innis never pitched for the Twins big league staff & retired after spending two seasons in the minor leagues.

After a seven year MLB career, Innis was 10-20 with five saves. He struck out 192 batters, walking 121 in 360 innings pitched while posting a 3.05 ERA in 288 appearances. At the plate he came to bat 12 times and never reached first base.

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