Jul 6, 2016

1986 World Champion Mets Infielder (1986-1991) 2015 NL Champion Mets Coach (2012-2016): Tim Teufel

Timothy Shawn Teufel was born on July 7, 1958 in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Teufel attended St. Mary’s High School in Greenwich, then moved on to Clemson University. The six foot right handed hitting infielder, was a star baseball player there getting drafted by both the Milwaukee Brewers (1978) & the Chicago White Sox (1979).

He did not sign either time. In 1980 he did sign as a second round pick of the Minnesota Twins. In his third minor league season he hit 27 HRs & batted .323 for the AAA Toledo Mud hens, getting a September call up to the Twins big league team.

He debuted on September 3rd going 1-4 in a game playing second base against the Baltimore Orioles. He hit well during the month, batting .308 (24-78) with three HRs, seven doubles & six RBIs. On September 16th he had a 5 -5 day with two HRs against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Metro dome.

He was an official rookie in 1984 and became the Twins regular second baseman, replacing John Castino. He put up career highs with 14 HRs & 61 RBIs (which were matched again in 1987) as well as hitting thirty doubles, batting .262, while playing in 157 games. He came in fourth place in the Rookie of the Year voting, behind Alvin Davis, Mark Langston & team mate Kirby Puckett.

On the field he posted a .984 fielding % (fourth in the league) leading all A.L. second baseman in games (157) & assists (485). The following season he put up similar numbers batting .260 with 10 HRs 24 doubles a .335 on base % & 50 RBIs. He made 12 errors at second base in 813 chances with a .980 fielding %. On January 16, 1986, he was traded to the New York Mets for Billy Beane, Bill Latham and Joe Klink.

Teufel shared time with Wally Backman at second base in Davey Johnsons platoon style system. He was used mainly against left-handed pitchers although he actually hit right hander’s better. He had a classic stance while at bat, as he shook his hips while waiting on a pitcher to throw. The batting stance became known as “the Teufel Shuffle”.

In his first Mets game on April 12th 1986, he got three hits, in seven at bats in a 14 inning Mets 9-8 loss in Philadelphia. Teufel had three RBIs, even scoring the go ahead run earlier in the game. On April 21st, he doubled home Lenny Dykstra in the bottom of the 9th inning, tying a game up against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He scored the winning run when Gary Carter singled him home for a walk off win.

On May 12th he singled in the bottom of the 9th inning off Atlanta's Paul Assenmacher, scoring Ray Knight with the only run of the game, in another walk off win. On June 10th he had one of his biggest thrills, as he came to bat as a pinch hitter, with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th inning in a 4-4 tie with the Phillies at Shea Stadium. Teufel blasted a walk off grand slam HR off Philadelphia's Tom Hume for the 8-4 dramatic victory.

Drama: That July he was involved in the famous bar fight at a Houston night club, with team mates Ron Darling, Bobby Ojeda & Rick Aguilera. The players got into a scuffle with off duty police men working as bouncers. After a lot of media attention, the end results wound up being a $200 fine for each player.

Back on the field Teufel struggled at the plate batting only .230 by the middle of August. On August 26th he had a four hit day in San Diego, driving in three runs & hitting a HR in the Mets 11-6 win. He finished off the season batting .247 with 4 HRs 20 doubles a .324 on base % & 31 RBIs. It was his third of five straight seasons hitting 20 or more doubles.

On the field at second base in 84 games he posted a .971 fielding %, five points higher than Wally Backman. He made seven errors in 315 chances, turning 28 double plays.

Post Season: Teufel played in two games of the 1986 NLCS against the Houston Astros, getting only one hit in six at bats. That hit came in the final classic Game #6, sixteen inning marathon at the Houston Astrodome. Teufel was removed in the extra innings, getting replaced at second by Wally Backman.

He played in three games of the 1986 World Series, getting the start in the opener Game #1. In that game, after Billy Joel had sung the National Anthem, Ron Darling & Bruce Hurst matched zeros through the evening.

In the 7th inning, a ground ball went under Teufel’s glove allowing the lone run of the game to score. The error & lack of run support ruined Ron Darlings strong performance, putting the Mets down one game to none.

It was a strange flashback to Game #1 of the 1973 World Series when a Felix Millan error helped the Oakland A’ s to a 2-1 win, spoiling Jon Matlack’s fine pitching performance.

Teufel got another start in the Game #5 at Fenway Park in Boston. In that 4-2 Mets loss, Teufel hit a HR in the 8th inning off pitcher Bruce Hurst.

He got the start in Game #7 at Shea, going 0-2 getting removed for a pinch runner in the 6th inning. Overall in the Series he batted .444 (4-9) with a HR, a double an RBI & a walk.

In 1987 he had a great start to the season, batting .400 until mid May. On May 1st he hit a walk off HR against Bob McLure to beat the Montreal Expos breaking a -6 tie. On a wild June road trip he hit HRs in three straight games while driving in nine runs in those games. The first two games were at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The last was a grand slam HR in Pittsburgh off the Pirates Bob Walk in a 10-2 Mets win.

He began July driving in runs in three straight games, including a night in Cincinnati where he hit a pair of solo HRs. Teufel hit steadily through the summer, finishing up the month of August batting .340. On July 24th he hit a three run HR off the Astros Bob Knepper, driving in four runs on the night leading the Mets to a 7-4 win.

On July 28th he came up with the Mets down 4-3 in the 9th inning, then singled up the middle off the Cardinals Todd Worrell scoring two runs putting the Mets in front for good. He saw more playing time through September but after entering the month batting .340 he tailed off to finish the season with a career best .308 average.

From September 18th through the 21st he hit HRs in three of four games, driving in eight runs. During a ten game stretch from September 18th-September 27th he drove in ten runs with 14 hits, keeping the Mets in the pennant race.

For the year he matched his career highs in HRs (14) & RBIs (61) as well as posting a personal best .398 on base %, as he played in 97 games on the season.

He was suppose to be the Mets main second baseman for the 1988 season but he struggled in April batting just .190. Then an injury followed & he missed a month of action from mid May to mid June.

He was batting .250 at the All Star break but began to struggle again, as Wally Backman was batting .303. Teufel still saw action in 90 games, batting.234 with four HRs, 20 doubles a .306 on base % & 31 RBIs. He never matched the previous year’s numbers again.

Post Season: In the 1988 NLCS he played in just one game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, going 0-3.

In 1989, a hot prospect named Gregg Jefferies took over at second base and Teufel split time with him there (40 games) as well as playing some first base (33 games). In 83 games (219 at bats) his numbers dropped off to .256 average, with only two HRs, seven doubles & 15 RBIs. His chances of being an everyday player were now reduced to being a utility player once again.

In 1990 he played 80 games all around the infield batting .246 but found his power stroke again hitting 10 HRs with 11 doubles. On May 6th he hit a three run HR off Houston's Jim Deshaies, driving in four runs leading the Mets to a 7-4 win over the Astros.

In August he hit HRs in three of the first four games of the month. He hit a total of six that month driving in ten runs, enjoying two four game hit streaks. He closed out the season hitting HRs in the last two games against the NL Eastern Champion Pirates. After twenty games in 1991 he was batting only .118, and got traded to the San Diego Padres for Garry Templeton, who retired after one season in New York.

Mets Career: Teufel played 325 games at second base for the Mets (11th most All Time) playing in 463 career Mets games overall. In those six years he hit .254 with 35 HRs 87 doubles 164 RBIs & a 336 on base %.

Teufel played three seasons in San Diego, as a utility infielder getting into 95 games or more each season. In 1991 he hit 11 HRs with 42 RBIs &a .334 on base % for the Padres. He retired after the 1993 season after an eleven year playing career.

He batted.254 with 789 hits 86 HRs 185 doubles 12 triples 387 walks a .336 on base % & 379 RBIs in 1073 games played. At second base his .980 fielding % is 95th best all time.

He helped turn 364 double plays making 68 errors in 3435 chances. He also played 99 games at third base, 83 games at first & one game at short.

Retirement: Since his playing days Teufel has been a long time manager in the Mets organization.

In 2003 he was manager of the A ball Brooklyn Cyclones, where he finished in second place with a 47-28 record. He moved to the advanced A ball, St. Lucie Mets from 2004-2005, stopping one season with the Savanna Sand Gnats (2007). He was back to St. Lucie in 2008 & 2009, going 66-68 in the latter year. 

Spring Training 2013: photo-centerfieldmaz
In 2010 he was manager of the AA Binghamton Mets going 66-76. In 2011 he was promoted to the AAA Buffalo Bison’s where he was 61-82 coaching many of the Mets 2012 players.

In 2012 he was promoted to the big league club as the Mets third base coach under manager Terry Collins. He is an aggressive third base coach who loves to wave runners home. He does a fine job & is now in his fourth season at the position.

He is still popular with the fans as well as respected by his players. The Mets were thinking of giving him the batting coach job in the 2015 off season but instead chose Kevin Long.

Honors: Tim was on hand for the 20th anniversary of the 1986 Championship team & the 30th anniversary  celebration at Citi Field in 2016.

He also attended the closing ceremonies of Shea Stadium in 2008. In February 2011 although he wasn’t accused of any wrong doings, Teufel was sued by investors for profits he made through Bernard Madoff investments.

Tim Teufel Celebrity Golf Tournament: This event is celebrating its 25th year in 2015, played at Tamarack Country Club in Teufel's home town of Greenwich Connecticut. "It's rewarding to see a tournament like this go on for a long period of time, especially through the economic turmoil a few years ago," said Teufel. "What a venue we have here at Tamarack, which has been so nice for letting us hold the event here every year."

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