Mar 19, 2021

Mid Sixties Mets Pitcher: Gary Kroll (1964)

Gary Melvin Kroll was born on July 8, 1941 in Culver City, California. The big six foot -six inch, 220 pound right hander attended Los Angeles Pierce College & Brigham Young University. He was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1959.

In the low levels of pro ball he was 17-12 with a 2.91 ERA in 1960. The next he year lost 19 games playing with three different teams. In 1962 he rebounded to going 12-2 at A ball Williams port posting a 2.15 ERA. He was promoted to AAA Arkansas by 1963.

MLB Career: The Phillie's brought him up in July 1964,  debuting in the second game of a double header against the St. Louis Cardinals. After just two games, he was traded along with Wayne Graham to the New York Mets for slugger Frank Thomas.

Mets Career: Kroll arrived in New York & was given a start that same week, on August 2nd. He pitched into the 6th inning, allowing three runs & taking a loss to the Chicago Cubs 3-2 at Shea Stadium. He then pitched out of the bullpen, making six relief appearances, going 0-1 with 4.01 ERA.

He would only make one more start , it came in Milwaukee against the Braves, where he allowed four runs. It was his last outing of the season. 

That season in just 24 innings pitched, Kroll allowed a league leading, four balks. His most impressive stat was his strike outs, as he struck out 24 batters in 21 innings of work as a Met.

Spring Training No Hitter:
In a March 21st, 1965 exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he had a shaky 1st inning, walking three batters. He got out of the jam & overall tossed six innings of no hit ball. 

Gordie Richardson came in & no hit the Bucs the rest of the way, giving the Mets their first unofficial no hitter. It would take 47 years before Johan Santana threw the Mets first official no hitter in 2012.

In 1965, Kroll began the year with a win at the new Shea Stadium. It was a seven inning, complete game performance over the San Francisco Giants. He was 2-0 in April, allowing just three runs over 11 innings of work, in three starts. 

On June 5th, he was knocked out of the game in the 1st inning, allowing four earned runs to the Pirates at Forbes Field. He then took a loss at Shea, when Juan Marichal shut out the Mets 3-0. He then went back to the bullpen & was 3-5 by late June. 

From that point on he found success, collecting a pair of wins to close out June, going 3-1 with a save, through the first week of August. 

Kroll was having a problem with control, base runners stealing on him & balking. So the Mets sent him to AAA Buffalo to work on his mechanics. 

In 32 appearances, he went 6-6 with 62 strike outs& 41 walks in 87 innings or work, posting a 4.45 ERA. 

After the season he was traded to the Houston Astros for outfielder John Weekly, who would never play a game for the Mets.

After appearing in just 10 games with Houston he spent the next two seasons in the minor leagues, having his contract purchased by the Cleveland Indians in 1967.

In 1969 Kroll, pitched in 19 games for the Cleveland Indians posting a 4.13 ERA in 19 games. He spent the next two years in the minors, ending his career in 1971.

Career:
He finished his four season
career at 6-7 with one save, 138 strike outs & 91 walks in 158 innings in 71 games posting a 4.24 ERA.


Retirement: After baseball, Kroll sold insurance in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He had married his wife Barbara in 1966 & they had five children together.

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