May 20, 2016

Early/Mid Seventies Mets Pitcher: Hank Webb (1972-1976)

Henry Gaylon Matthew Webb was born May 21, 1950 in Copiague, Long Island New York. He has the distinction of being the second Met with the name Gaylon, remember 1960’s Mets pitcher Galen Cisco.

The only other creature I can think of with that name is Roddy McDowell’s chimpanzee character Galen, in the short lived 1974 cult classic Planet of the Apes TV show.

The tall six foot right handed pitcher known as “Hank” was drafted by the New York Mets in the 10th round of the 1968 draft. He was another of the many good Mets minor league pitching prospects of the early seventies. 

But it was tough to crack into those solid Mets pitching staffs in those days. Webb went 6-2 for the Marion Mets in 1969, then 5-2 at A ball Pompano Beach in 1970. By 1972 he was 12-8 overall, with a 2.87 ERA pitching through A ball & moving up into AA ball. He was 9-5 at AA Memphis that year posting a 227 ERA.

He got a September call up making his MLB debut on September 5th 1972 at Shea Stadium. He allowed two runs in one inning of work, earning no decision in the Mets 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Three days later he got his first start pitching seven innings, allowing four runs to the St. Louis Cardinals.

He left the game while the Mets tied it up, although they eventually lost 9-4. He had another solid start against the Montreal Expos on October 3rd, allowing three runs over six innings, but got no decision in the Mets 4-3 win. Overall he allowed nine earned runs in 18 innings pitched in six games.

In the Mets 1973 NL Pennant season, Webb pitched in just two games in May, allowing two runs in 2.1 innings of work, to post an ERA over ten. He was sent down to AAA Tidewater where he went 8-9 (fourth most wins on the staff) with a 3.05 ERA.

The next season, on June 7th 1974 at AAA, Webb pitched a seven inning 1-0 no hit victory for the Tidewater Tides of the International League. He was 10-8 on the season at Tidewater, second to only Randy Sterling in wins. He pitched well enough to get another September 1974 call up.

In his first game back up he was involved in one of the longest games in baseball history. It occurred at Shea Stadium on Sept. 11, 1974 as the Mets and St. Louis Cardinals were tied 3-3 in the 25th inning. Webb came in to pitch in relief of rookie Jerry Cram, and faced St. Louis’ Bake McBride who greeted him with a single. With the speedy McBride on first base, Webb attempted to pick him off. He threw wildly to first base, and the ball bounced against the stands and McBride scored all the way from first base. It turned out to be the winning run, ending the deadlock after seven hours & four minutes.

Webb made just three appearances, also getting two starts. He allowed three runs in five innings against the Chicago Cubs but earned no decision. He ended the year getting pounded by the Phillies on September 25th, allowing five runs in four innings of work. He went 0-2 that September with a 7.20 ERA.

In 1975 he saw the most action of his career, getting up to the staff by May & quickly earning two losses in the first week. On June 8th he earned a victory after pitching just one inning, when Felix Millan scored on a bases loaded wild pitch in the 14th inning. 

On June 23rd he pitched eight innings allowing just one run, which came in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals. But he took another loss because Ron Reed shut out the Mets on just five hits.

In July Webb pitched two complete game victories where he only allowed one run each time. The first came in Atlanta in a 3-1 win & the second was in the nightcap of a double header at Wrigley Field. His best outing came on August 25th when he threw a five hit shutout against the Padres in San Diego. 

In September he pitched in relief & made two more starts earning a win in St. Louis on September 13th, pitching seven innings. For the year Webb pitched in 29 games making 15 starts, going 7-6 with a 4.07 ERA in 115 innings pitched, striking out 38 batters while walking 62. It was the only time in five years with the Mets he ever recorded any victories.

In 1976 he was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA and the next winter he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers with minor leaguer Richard Sander in exchange for Rick Auerbach. 

He pitched in only five games for the 1977 NL Champion Dodgers before ending his playing career at AAA Albuquerque. In his six year career, Webb pitched in 53 games going 7-9 with 4.39 ERA, striking out 71 batters, while walking 91 in 169 innings pitched.

Family: Webb moved south to Clearwater, Florida after his baseball days. His son Ryan Webb is an MLB relief pitcher who has played for the San Diego Padres (2009-2010), Florida / Miami Marlins (2011-2013) Baltimore Orioles (20140 & Cleveland Indians (2015).

In 2010 Ryan Webb earned a win in an extra inning victory against his dad’s old Mets team on June 2nd. On September 23rd 2012, Ruben Tejada hit a base hit off Webb, in the bottom of the 9th inning scoring Jerry Hairston with the walk off win. 

On April 23rd 2013 he took a loss to the Mets pithing in the 7th inning but then came back for a win two days later. He would face the Mets five more times in 2013 with no decisions. Through April 2015 Ryan Webb is 16-18 with a 3.34 ERA in 318 appearances.

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