Nov 13, 2020

Bobby Pfeil: 1969 World Champion Mets Utility Player (1969)

Robert Raymond Pfeil was born on November 13, 1943 in Passaic, New Jersey. When he was two years old, his mother passed away, his father & his grandmother moved Bobby out West. 

Pfeil attended high school in Reseda California, where he would get signed out of by by the Chicago Cubs in 1961. The six foot one infielder was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 1965. There he won a Texas League Championship with Tulsa.

He dwindled in the minors through the sixties, not getting to the big leagues for seven years. In that time he worked for Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, storing old animation.

By 1968 he was sent over to the New York Mets and hit .280 with 8 HRs & 49 RBIs at AAA Jacksonville, winning a minor League Championship. There he played on a team with Duffy Dyer, Amos Otis, Ken Singleton, Tug McGraw & Danny Frisella, who would all have success in the big leagues.

Pfeil was expecting to get selected in that years expansion draft by either San Diego or Montreal. When that didn't happen, he asked to report to the new Mets AAA club at Tidewater. He did well enough to maintain his place on the team.

 On June 26th 1969, at age 25, Pfeil made his  MLB debut starting in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies. He played at third base going 1-4 that day replacing Bud Harrelson who was called to serve his required time in the Military Reserves. 

He hit safely in nine of his first eleven games & was batting .333 through the Fourth of July. In a 4th of July double header sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pfeil collected two hit in each game. His double in the first game resulted in his first career RBI.

He was in the line up on July 9th, the night Tom Seaver pitched his imperfect game, playing at second base & at third. Pfeil went 1-4 that night, driving in the first run of the game, when he doubled off the Cubs Ken Holtzman, driving in Tommie Agee in the 1st inning. 

Trivia: Tom Sever once wrote that he didnt know much about Jimmy Qualls the only Cub hitter to get a hit that night. Saying that Pfeil told Seaver he had played with him in the minors. He could get his bat on the ball, give him hard stuff.

Family: Bobby's wife Melanie, became friendly with Nancy Seaver & the two couples would often go out to dinner together. The two wives along with Ruth Ryan & Duffy Dyers' wife would walk through Baltimore's Memorial Stadium with a Lets Go Mets banner in the World Series.

On July 20th he had a pinch hit, bunt base hit in the top of the 10th inning at Montreal. The hit brought home Ron Swoboda in what was the winning run, as the Mets pennant chase gained momentum. At the airport after the series, he asked Gil Hodges what he should do, his two weeks were up in the big leagues & his wife was still in Tidewater. Hodges told him that he was staying with the big league club.

In August his average dropped, but he did drive in five runs while seeing a lot of playing time. On August 16th, he had a big three hit game in the first game of a double header against the San Diego Padres at Shea Stadium. His double in the 7th inning, brought in the second run of a 2-0 Tom Seaver shut out.

On August 20th he had another three hit game against the San Francisco Giants, and went on to hit safely in nine of his next ten games. 

On September 12th, he scored the only run in a 1-0 Jerry Kosman shutout of the Pirates. Koosman drove in Pfeil with a base hit. In the second game, Don Cardwell drove in the only run of his 1-0 shutout.

On September 27th, he drove in the only run of the game in the Mets 1-0 win in Philadelphia. That night Tom Seaver won his 25th game of the season, beating pitcher Grant Jackson.

On the season Pfeil played in 62 games, he hit .232 with nine doubles & ten RBIs. As a pinch hitter he was 5-9 on the year. 

He played 49 games at third base, with a .976 fielding % making three errors in 123 chances. He was probably their most successful third baseman defensively. The Mets were 33-17 in the 50 games Pfeil started at third. He also saw action 11 games at second & two games in the outfield. 

Pfeil did make the post season roster but was in the dug out with his teamamtes.

In 1970 he batted .300 at AAA Tidewater in 66 games. That May he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for a guy named Ron Allen. Pfeil didn’t play at the big league level that season, but resurfaced briefly in 1971, hitting two HRs and batted .271 in 70 at bats.

His final career hit came against the New York Mets on September 5th 1971, driving in a run off pitcher Charlie Williams. He was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers in late 1971 & Boston Red Sox in 1972, but never made their big league squads.

He played in the minors through the 1972 season. Pfeil finished his brief two season career a lifetime .242 hitter, with 68 hits two HRs 12 doubles & 19 RBIs. 

Retirement: After baseball, Pfeil & three friends formed an Apartment building enterprise building properties in 14 states. He also married his second wife Chrissie & had a son living in California.

Honors: Pfeil appeared at the 1969 Mets 40th Anniversary reunion in 2009 & the 50th Anniversary reunion in 2019. "There's a special bond we have with the guys now. We're all old men but we shared something that was really special".

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