Feb 15, 2016

Two Time Mets Pitcher: Bob Miller (1962 / 1973-1974)

Robert Lane Miller was born February 18, 1939 in St. Louis Missouri. This Bob Miller would be the roommate & one of two Bob Millers on the 1962 original Mets pitching staff. The six foot one right handed Bob Miller was signed by his hometown St. Louis Cardinals as a bonus baby in 1957. 

He debuted briefly in five games that season returning to the minors for the 1958 season. He was used as both a starter & reliever from 1959-1961 in St. Louis posting a 9-9 record over those seasons. He was drafted by the New York Mets in the 1961 expansion draft, the first pick in the premium phase of that draft. 
 Miller made his Mets debut on April 21st against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth game in the teams history. He allowed five runs in 5.1 innings pitched taking the loss. He lost his next start against the Cincinnati Reds then moved on to pitch in the bullpen for most of May. Incredibly Miller lost his first eleven decisions pitching in both relief & in a starting role.

At the end of September he pitched his best; in two games against the Chicago Cubs. On September 23rd, he allowed just two hits allowing one run over eight innings of work at the Polo Grounds, but earned no decision. He finally got his first victory on his last outing of the season, it came at Wrigley Field, pitching a complete game one run victory. 

Trivia: The other Bob Miller, who was also a pitcher that arrived on the Mets in May in the Don Zimmer trade. Casey Stengel was confused enough in 1962, and with two pitchers named Bob Miller in his dugout he was so mixed up, he called one of them Nelson. 
 Miller finished the year at 1-12 with a 4.89 ERA, 91 strike outs 62 walks in 143 innings pitched in 33 appearance, 21 starts. After the season he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Tim Harkness & Larry Burright.

He went from the worst team in the N.L. to the best team; as the 1963 Dodgers went on to sweep the World Series. Miller went 10-8 with a good 2.89 ERA behind a staff of Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale & Johnny Podres.

Miller moved into the Dodger bullpen the next year leading the league in appearances (74) in 1964. He pitched behind Ron Peranoski & then Phil Regan in the Dodger pen in the mid sixties.

Miller pitched well with nine saves in each of the next two seasons winning another World Series in Los Angeles in 1965. Miller finished out two games of the 1965 Series, both games that were won by the Minnesota Twins. 

In 1966 Miller was 4-2 with 2.77 ERA & five saves getting to another Dodger World Series but this time losing to the Baltimore Orioles. Miller went on to pitch as a journeyman for seven more teams before finishing his career back in New York with the 1974 Mets. 

He arrived back in New York on the last week of the 1973 season just as the Mets won the NL Eastern Division. He only appeared in one game and didn’t make the post season roster.

In 1974 he made the Mets staff out of Spring Training. On April 14th he blew a save against the Phillies at Shea Stadium taking the loss. On April 28th in San Francisco he pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Harry Parker earning the save. 

Two days later in Los Angeles he got a win against the Dodgers although he did allow a run in the Mets 8-7 win. In June he earned a win at Wrigley Field, it would be the last in his career. Miller remained with the Mets all year making 58 appearances, going 2-2 earning two saves, posting a 3.58 ERA. 

He retired after the season finishing a long 17 year career, going 69-81 with 51 saves, with 895 strike outs 608 walks & a 3.37 ERA in 1551 innings in 694 appearances.  

Retirement: After his playing career he coached the expansion Toronto Blue Jays in 1977, & the San Francisco Giants in 1985. 

Passing: Miller sadly passed away in a car crash in 1993 at the age of 54, while driving his elderly mother to a doctor appointment.

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