Leo Foster: Late Seventies Mets Utility Player: (1976-1977)

Leonard Norris Foster was born in Covington Kentucky on February 2, 1951. He was a gifted athlete in high school playing basketball, football, baseball & running track. 

Trivia: Leo would be nicknamed "Bananas" after the drink Bananas Foster.

The five-foot eleven infielder was known early on as a solid fielding prospect. Foster was signed by the Atlanta Braves in the second round of the 1969 draft. 

MLB Debut: He made a brief debut with Atlanta in 1971 playing his first game July 9th in a 11-2 loss at Pittsburgh. His first MLB game was a nightmare, he made an error on a Dave Cash grounder in the 2nd inning which led to a run. In the 5th inning he grounded into a double play & then in the 7th inning hit into a 5-4-3 triple play.

He played in four games before being sent back to AAA Richmond but returned as a September call up. In 1974 he was primarily a utility infielder getting into the Braves lineup in 71 games batting just .196. On May 1st he hit a HR off the Cardinals John Curtis, it was one of just two career HRs. On August 20th he hit a two-run single in an 8-6 win over the Cardinals, he would have just five RBIs on the season.

Mets Career: In April 1975 he was traded to the New York Mets for minor leaguer Joe Nolan. He spent all of that year at AAA Tidewater as the teams main second baseman batting .247 playing for manager Joe Frazier. In 1976 he batted a career best .287 playing at second, short & third base. He got a call to the Mets in August of 1976, getting a chance from Joe Frazier who was now the Mets manager.

Foster debuted with the Mets on August 1st, 1976, in a 7-6 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium, drawing a walk in his first Mets at bat. The second time up he singled, driving home Felix Millan, who had been his old teammate in Atlanta. 

On the next road trip in Pittsburgh, he hit a two run double off Jerry Ruess then scored on Joe Torre's RBI single in the Mets four run 4th inning in their 7-4 win. Two days later he singled off Jim Rooker driving in Joe Torre in another big Mets four run 1st inning. Later, in the 7th he doubled off Dave Guisti bringing in two more runs but was thrown out at third base trying to stretch a double into a three bagger to end the inning. The Mets went on to a 7-4 win.

On August 31st he hit a two-run single in the Mets 6-2 win over the Giants at Shea Stadium.

Five RBI Day: On September 7th he had a career day in an 11-0 Mets win at Wrigley Field. Foster hit his only Mets HR; a 9th inning two run shot off Joe Coleman. It was his second & last career HR. Earlier in the 1st inning he had hit a two-run single then later an RBI single off Paul Reuschel in the 5th. Foster had three hits & five RBIs ion the day. He would drive in another run the next day.

In 1976 he played 24 games with the Mets batting .203 with a HR two doubles & 15 RBIs. He
played nine games at third base, seven games at short & three games at second base.

In 1977 after starting at AAA Tidewater he arrived back with the Mets in late April remaining there until May 22nd but was batting just .133. He went back to AAA Tidewater returning at the end of August hitting. In his return he hit safely in three of four games. On September 2nd he drove in a run in Pat Zachry's 4-0 five hit shut out over the Atlanta Braves.

That month he played mostly at second base filling in for Felix Millan who had a season ending injury after a brawl with Ed Ott of the Pirates. Foster hit safely in nine of fifteen games & closed out the season with an RBI double. He finished the year batting .227 with 17 hits, no extra base hits & six RBIs.
Post Mets Career: In 1978 he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Jim Burton who never cracked the Mets squad. Legend has it he publicly broke out in tears when he was traded from New York.

Foster never played at the big-league level again, retiring from the game after a season at AAA Pawtucket.

Career Stats: In a five-year career the utility infielder played 62 games at short stop, 33 games at second base, 14 games at third base & two games in the outfield. He hit .198 with 52 hits two HRs 26 RBIs 7 stolen bases & a .262 on base % in 144 games.

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