Apr 19, 2017

Former Mets Hitting Coach: Denny Walling (2003-2004)

Dennis Martin Walling was born April 17th 1954 in Neptune, New Jersey on the Jersey Shore. He grew up in Farmingdale going to high school at Howell. Walling first attended Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, New Jersey & then Clemson University where he was a star baseball player.

Walling was first drafted by the St. Louis Cards in the 8th round of the 1974 draft but chose to stay at Clemson. He then was the overall first pick in the 1975 secondary phase of the June amateur draft for the Oakland Athletics. He made his MLB debut three months later without playing in the minor leagues. He then did time in the minors getting some callus before getting traded to the Houston Astros in 1977 for Willie Crawford.

Walling began a long 13 year career in Houston playing mostly in the outfield & at third base. He was also known as a fantastic pinch hitter. He has 108 career pinch hits, in the all time top twenty in that category. He would bat over .290 four times with Houston having very good seasons in two of the three years he got to the post season with them. In 1980 he hit .299 in 100 games with the NL West Champions but batted just .111 (1-9) in the NLCS.

In 1986 he had his best season batting .312 with career highs in HRs (13) doubles (23) RBIs (58) hits (119) & games played (130). In the 1986 NLCS he drove in two runs with a hit off Bobby Ojeda in the Mets Game #2 win at the Astrodome. Walling had hits in the next two games as well, over all going 3-19 playing in five games. He played the 8th inning on to the 16th in the Mets epic Game #6 win at the Astrodome. In his time at Houston he played & became friends with Art Howe.

In 1988 he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Bob Forsch, he played there until 1991. He then played 1991 in Texas with the Rangers, returning to Houston for his final season in 1992.

In his 18 year career batted .271 with 799 hits 49 HRs 142 doubles 380 RBIs 372 runs scored & a .345 on base %.

Post Playing Career: In 1996 he became a coach for the Oakland Athletics under manager Art Howe. He remained as an Oakland coach for three seasons. In 2003 he moved to the New York Mets as hitting coach, once again under manager & friend Art Howe. 

He remained in that position for two seasons. The Mets finished last in 2003, moving to fourth the next year, both years they were finished 14th of 16 in batting average. In 2005 he was replaced by Rick Down after Howe was dismissed.

He later became a roving coach for the Baltimore Orioles (2007-2011) & then a hitting coach for the AAA Norfolk Tides 2012-2014.

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