Feb 15, 2021

Kevin Kobel: Late Seventies Mets Pitcher (1978-1980)

Kevin Richard Kobel was born October 2, 1953 in Buffalo, New York. 

In 1971, he graduated from St. Francis High at Colden, New York. He was quickly drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers, in the 10th round of that year’s draft.

In 1973 the six foot lefthander won 12 games at AA Shreveport & was brought right up to the big leagues for a September cup of coffee.

On September 8th, 1973, Kobel was just 19 years old, when he made his MLB debut pitching in a game against the A.L. New York. It didn’t turn out that well, as he gave up a grand slam to weak hitting short stop Fred "chicken" Stanley. It was Stanley's only HR all year & he would hit just 10 HRs in a 14 year career.

 He made his first start on September 28th, going six innings allowing four runs earning the loss. He made just two appearances that season.

With a good Spring Training in 1974 he was given a spot in the Brewers rotation alongside Jim Slaton, Jim Colborn, Clyde Wright & Billy Champion. 

Kobel earned his first career win against the AL New York team as well. Iver all he went 6-14 on the year, with a 3.99 ERA & two shut outs, for the 5th place Brewers team. Arm troubles set him back & in 1975 he would only pitched seven games in the Pacific Coast League at AAA Sacramento.

In 1976, Kobel returned to pitch 32 games at AAA Spokane going 7-12 but struggled with a 5.50 ERA. He was brought up to the Brewers in September pitching three games, two of them against the AL New York team. He took his only decision, a loss, on September 17th, while blowing a save. 

 The next year he spent the entire season at AAA Spokane, improving to 12-6 with a 4.94 ERA making two saves. 

Mets Career: In 1978 his contract was purchased by the New York Mets. He began the year at AAA Tidewater, going 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA. He got called up to a weak Mets staff at the end of May. 

Kobel made his Mets debut on May 20th finishing off a 9-4 loss at Shea Stadium. In his first nine appearances the Mets lost every game, although Kobel was only the losing pitcher of record in one of them.

On July 8th he got a start against the Chicago Cubs & pitched six shutout innings to earn his first victory in four seasons. In early September he threw a complete game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing just one run on two hits.

On October 1st, he won the last game of the year, allowing only one run through seven innings of work at Wrigley Field in Chicago. On the season he would go 5-6 with a 2.91 ERA, getting 11 starts and making 21 relief appearances.

In 1979 he began the season in late April with two relief appearances. He was then thrown into the starting rotation and pitched well. He was 2-0 that month, going into the 8th inning three times while never allowing more than two runs in any start.

Unfortunately he only got credit with one win in those games. On June 16th, Kobel threw a three hit shutout against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium. It turned out to be his last really good outing of his career.

The rest of the way he went 3-6 for the last place Mets, finishing the year at 6-8 with a 3.54 ERA. He only struck out 67 batters while walking 46 in 162 innings pitched. 


1980 proved to be the end of the line for Kobel, after 14 games he was 1-4, giving up 19 earned runs in 24 innings. He was sent back down to AAA Tidewater in mid June & never got back to the big leagues. 

The Mets traded him to the Kansas City Royals where he pitched in their minor leagues. He also spent time with the A ball Portland Beavers, in the Pirates' organization.

Career Stats: In his six season career he went 18-34 with 205 strikeouts in 405 innings pitched, posting a 3.88 ERA in 115 games.

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