Mid Sixties Mets Pitcher: Dennis Ribant (1964-1966)

Dennis Joseph Ribant was born September 20, 1941 in Detroit, Michigan. The five foot eleven right handed pitcher was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1961 as an amateur free agent.

He was impressive in his first year of pro ball winning 17 games in the Midwestern League. In 1963 he was 15-10 pitching at AAA Toronto & Denver combined, although he posted a high 5.07 ERA. In August of 1964 he was traded to the New York Mets for Frank Lary.

In New York he learned to throw a changeup from Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn who was a Met for a short time. Ribant then took further instruction from Mets pitching Coach, Harvey Haddix. He immediately made his Mets debut, after arriving with the team the next day. He debuted pitching 2/3 of an inning in relief in Philadelphia against the Phillies. A week later he made his first Mets start, taking a loss while allowing five runs in six innings at Pittsburgh against the Pirates.

In his next start on August 17th, he struck out ten Pirates throwing a four hit shutout at Shea Stadium, his only win of the year. That season he went 1-5 with one save, 35 strike outs & nine walks in 57 innings pitched while posting a 5.15 ERA. He made seven starts while making 14 appearances overall.

He began the 1965 season in the bullpen; earning a win at the end of April in an extra inning win at San Francisco. The next day he earned a save, pitching in relief of Gary Kroll, also against the Giants. Ribant got two more saves in the first part of May, but then suffered two losses. On May 30th he allowed six earned runs to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Shea Stadium over three innings pitched. He was then sent to AAA Buffalo, but had issues there as well going 3-12.

He was still brought back up to the Mets as a September call up. On September 28th he tossed eleven shutout innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates but got no decision. Darrel Sutherland came on & earned the win in the 11th, as Ron Hunt singled home the winning walk off run. On the season Ribant was 1-3 with a 3.82 ERA. He struck out 13 batters walking six in 35 innings over 19 appearances.

In 1966 he began the year in the bullpen, but was given a start on May 8th against the Chicago Cubs. He pitched a complete game win, allowing just one run on five hits. On June 1st he lost a tough game to future Met Don Cardwell, in a 3-1 complete game where only two runs were earned. On June 11th he pitched a five hit shutout against the Cincinnati Reds at Shea Stadium, & two weeks later tossed a six hit victory (two runs allowed) against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. At the end of July he won three straight games, two of them complete games, and found himself leading the staff at 7-4 with a 2.55 ERA.

He would win four more games the rest of the year, throwing two more five hitters. He went 11-9 for the ’66 Mets good enough to tie for the team lead in wins with Jack Fisher. Ribant also led the staff in ERA (3.20) and complete games (10). He sure came a long way in two seasons; posting career highs in strikeouts (84), innings pitched (188) and appearances (38). Although he pitched well in 1966, that off season he was traded along with Gary Kolb, to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Don Bosch & Don Cardwell.

Bosch would hit .141 that year in New York. Cardwell would remain with the Mets for four seasons, & be a member of the 1969 Amazing Mets Championship team.

Ribant went 9-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the 1967 Pittsburgh Pirates, behind Bob Veale (16 wins) & Tommie Sisk (13 wins). He briefly pitched for the 1968 World Champion Detroit Tigers &that season was the winning pitcher in the Hall of Fame game played at Cooperstown’s Doubleday Field. Ribant had his share of drama while in Detroit. In July 1968 was accused of throwing a spit ball in an article issued by that weeks Sporting News.

In an ugly game in Oakland that season against the A's, the Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline had his arm broken after getting hit with a pitch. Then Jim Nothrup was beaned in the head with a pitch, as a bench clearing brawl broke out. As the Tigers were walking off the field, the A’s fans pelted the Detroit players with garbage & anything they could find. One Tiger player (suspected to be Ribant) threw a ball into the stands striking a woman, injuring her. She sued the Tigers organization & a few days later Ribrant was gone, taking the blame.

Over his last two years Ribant would travel from the Tigers, to the Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds & Pittsburgh Pirates organizations before calling it quits by 1970.

He finished a six year career going 24-29 with nine saves, 241 strikeouts, 126 walks & a 3.87 ERA in 518 innings pitched over 149 games.

Retirement: Ribant has been a long time real estate agent in Orange County, California since 1973.


Anonymous said…
Denny Ribrant was my favorite Met pitcher in 1966 and then he got traded for Don Boach one of the biggest busts in .Met history.

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