Dec 13, 2019

Ron Taylor: 1969 World Champion Mets Closer Turned Medical Doctor (1967-1971)

50th Anniversary of the 1969 World Champion "Amazing Mets"

Ronald Wesley Taylor was born December 13, 1937 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Taylor was originally signed as a teenager by the Cleveland Indians in 1956.

He pitched in the minors but also chose to finish his studies at the University of Toronto where he earned an electrical engineering degree.

He began the 1962 season on the Indians staff & got the start in the second game of the season at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. 

He pitched 11 shut outs innings matching zeroes with future Mets coach Bill Monboquette. In the 12th inning of the scoreless tie Carl Yastrzemski lead off with a triple.

Taylor ended up allowing a walk off grand slam to Caroll Hardy, taking a tough loss. It was the only time in history a game was won with a walk off grand slam in the 12th inning of a scoreless tie. By the end of May he was sent back down & went 12-4 at AAA Jacksonville, earning a big league call up the next season, this time for good.

That winter he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals and became a top reliever in their pen saving 11 games (7th in the league) with a 9-7 record and a 2.34 ERA. He struck out 91 batters in 131 innings pitched. In 1964 he was going 8-4 with seven saves & a 4.62 ERA winning his first World Championship with the Cardinals.

Post Season: He appeared in two World Series games, not allowing any hits in 4.2 innings pitched earning the save in Game #4. 

With the Cards already down two games to one, a win in Game #4 was very important. Taylor shut the door & held a one run lead for four scoreless innings, it was the turning point of the Series.

Quotes: Tim McCarver - “He had the heaviest sinker on the outside. When he threw to left-handed batters you couldn’t pull it.”

In 1965 he was 2-1 with a save and an ERA creeping up near five, when on June 15th he was traded along with Mike Cuellar to the Houston Astros for Chuck Taylor and Hal Woodeshick. After saving four games in Houston’s new Astrodome he became a middle reliever for the 1966 season & not happy with his surroundings.

In February of 1967 Taylor’s contract was purchased by the New York Mets, by the teams GM Bing Devine, whom Taylor had pitched for in St. Louis. In the off season Devine had called Taylor & asked if he could pitch; Taylor replied " get me out of here".

In New York he would see a lot of action and his career was revitalized, as he became one of the league’s best relievers.
In those days the relief pitcher was just starting to become an important role.

Taylor would make made over 50 appearances in each of the next four seasons (1967-1970) and lead the team in saves each time. Taylor notched a save in his first Met game on April 13, 1967, although it was not an official stat at the time. He was 2-0 with three saves at the 1967 All Star break, and finished 4-6 with eight saves & a quality 2.34 ERA.

In early April, in just his third game, he gave up a HR to Pittsburgh's Manny Jimenez. But from there, he wouldn’t allow another HR until into the 1968 season, 92 innings pitched later. The next year in 1968 he recorded his first save at the end of April.
He had a good month of June, recording four saves , while only allowing runs in two of nine games he pitched. 

On July 7th, he blew a save in Philadelphia, serving up a walk off three run HR to the Phillies Dick Allen. Taylor only blew two save opportunities, all year but his record fell to 1- 5.

He pitched well enough to set a Mets record at the time, with 13 saves, (5th most in the league) posting another good ERA (2.70) striking out 49 batters in 76 innings pitched.

In the off season he joined other major leaguers on a tour of hospital visits in Vietnam during the war effort. There he talked to doctors & later said he realized that he wanted to help people in this field in the future.

In 1969 Taylor didn’t earn his first save until mid May, but then from that point through the end of August he saved twelve games going 7-3 with a 2.39 ERA. On June 1st he picked up a win, when Ron Swoboda drew a bases loaded walk off Joe Gibbon to beat the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the 9th inning.

Two days later in his next outing, after pitching two scoreless innings, he got another win when Wayne Garrett hit a walk off single to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers. He followed that week up with three more saves through June 10th.

Trivia: During a regular season game, Taylor got a visit to the mound from Gil Hodges against the eventual Mets NLCS opponent the Atlanta Braves. With Hank Aaron up to bat, Hodges told Taylor to put him on & face Orlando Cepeda. Taylor said “No, I want Aaron”. Hodges was surprised at his answer & angry, but he let him face Aaron & said “You better get him out”. He got Aaron to ground out to end the inning.

He closed out the year with a September 28th save in Philadelphia & an October 1st win at Wrigley Field, after Art Shamsky's 11th inning RBI base hit beating the Chicago Cubs.

Overall Taylor was Gil Hodges best pitcher out of the bullpen that year making 59 appearances (8th most in the NL), leading the team with 13 saves (7th best in the NL) Finishing 44 games (4th in the league), going 9-4 with a 2.72 ERA. He struck out 42 batters walking only 24 in 76 innings pitched.

1969 Post Season:

1969 NLCS: In the 1969 NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, Taylor pitched in two games, starting out by earning the save in relief of Tom Seaver in Game #1. Historically, he earned the first save in NLCS history.

The next day he got the win in Game #2 relieving Jerry Koosman in the fifth inning. He pitched 1.1 innings allowing no runs on one hit, and setting up for Tug McGraw to close it out.

Overall he struck out four Braves, allowing no runs on three hits in 3.1 innings pitched. Taylor made history by being the only Canadian to ever get credit with a win in a League Championship Series game.

1969 World Series: In the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Taylor saw action in the first two Series games at Baltimore. 

He pitched the last two innings of Game #1, allowing no runs, giving up two hits and striking out three of Orioles.

In Game #2 he relieved Jerry Koosman in the 9th inning with two Orioles runners on base representing the tying & winning runs. He got Brooks Robinson to ground out securing the two hit shutout, evening the Series at one game apiece.

He wasn’t needed again in the Series, as Nolan Ryan was the only pitcher to make another relief appearance. Overall Taylor posted two saves with a 1-0 record in the ‘69 post season. 

After pitching 3.1 hitless innings in the 1969 Series, he bested his career World Series streak to seven hitless innings, striking out nine batters in ten innings.

After the Series during the ticker tape parade down Broadway, Taylor couldn't help think this was the same path taken by Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower & John Kennedy.

After the Championship: After the Miracle season of ’69, he would again lead the 1970 Mets in appearances (57) games finished (40 which was 8th best in the league) and saves (13) going 5-4 with a 3.93 ERA.

 On Opening Day 1970, he was the winning pitcher in Pittsburgh after Donn Clendenon won the game with a top of the 11th inning RBI single. He suffered two losses at the end of the month, but rebounded & already had seven saves by June 1st. 

Although he was ninth in the league in saves (13) he also had six blown opportunities & had an ERA near four.

By 1971 Tug McGraw was emerging as the premier Mets reliever as Taylor’s career began winding down at age 33. That season he gave up the first upper deck HR at the new Three Rivers Stadium, served up to Willie Stargell.

1971 would be his last year at Shea, going 2-2 with only two saves, and a 3.65 ERA, in 45 appearances. His Mets record in 269 games is 21-21 with 28 saves & a 3.04 ERA .

His contract was sold to the Montreal Expos in October of 1971, but he was soon released, never getting to play for his native Canada. In May he got picked up by the San Diego Padres where he ended his career after only four games in 1972 at age 34.

Overall Taylor was 45-43 with 71 saves, 464 strike outs 209 walks in 800 innings and a 3.93 ERA in 491 games over 11 seasons.

Retirement: After the Mets World Series win, he toured Vietnam with the USO. Taylor would tour field hospitals & be inspired to make a difference. He took wounded soldiers phone numbers to let their loved ones know they were alright.

Doctor Ron Taylor: After his baseball career, the Toronto native returned to the University of Toronto & met with the dean to try to earn a degree. When he saw his grades from 1961 he was amazed & said if you can still get these kinds of marks your in. 

Taylor got into his studies, using a letter of recommendation from Mets General Manager M. Donald Grant & he was back in college. 

He remebers how the young students were amazed that this middle aged guy was their classmate. Five years later in 1977, he graduated from medical school and became Doctor Ron Taylor.

He eventually became the Toronto Blue Jays team physician in 1979 & won two more World Series (1992 & 1993) as the teams Doctor. He is the only former MLB player to return to baseball as a team doctor.

Taylor still keeps very busy, into his seventies, he just retired in 2015 at his family practice in North Toronto. He was also the head of a Sports Medicine Clinic he helped develop some 30 years ago in Toronto. He was also the medical director for the Toronto Blue Jays, overseeing a team of sports specialists. 

Honors: In 2015 a documentary was made about him called "Ron Taylor: Dr. Baseball"

Taylor was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. He has also been honored for his work in medicine being elected to the Order of Ontario. 

In 2009 he was on hand for the Mets 40th anniversary of the 1969 Championship at Citi Field & Long Island baseball card show. 

In 2019 he returned to Citi Field for the 50th Anniversary of the Amazing Mets.

Family: Ron’s son Drew Taylor pitched College baseball for Georgia Tech. & Michigan. He was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2006.

Quotes: "Doubleheader tomorrow, barring nuclear holocaust." - Mets Pitcher Ron Taylor, 1969

The First Short Stop Out of The Dominican Republic: Amado Samuel (1964)

Amado Ruperto Samuel was born on December 6, 1938 in in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. The six foot utility infielder was signed in 1938 by the Milwaukee Braves.

He was a pioneer in his own right, being the very first player in a long line of short stops signed out of the small town of San Pedro des Marcoris. He bounced around the minors for a full decade before spending parts of three seasons in the major leagues.

Samuel made his debut in 1962 with the Milwaukee Braves, playing in a career high 76 games batting .206 hitting all three of his MLB career HRs. In 1963 he played in only 15 games at the major league level, batting a weak .176 before having his contact purchased by the New York Mets.

He played mostly at short stop (34 games) with some third base as well (17 games) in 53 appearances for the ’64 Mets. In the first game ever played at Shea Stadium, he batted in the 8th position was the starting short stop. He drove in the second & third runs of that historic game with a base hit off Bob Friend in the fourth inning.

He had a five game hit streak in June, collecting ten hits during the stretch. He had his career day at the plate, on Saturday June 20th, getting three hits against the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium.

The next day was Fathers Day 1964, & Samuel was robbed of a hit by Cookie Rojas, preserving Jim Bunning’s perfect game. In 53 games on the season, he hit a career high .232 with seven doubles and five RBIs. He posted a .945 fielding percentage making six errors in 106 chances.

By July he was sent back down to the minors finishing off his three year MLB career. He played in 144 games with 79 hits 3 HRs 25 RBIs 18 doubles & a .215 batting average.

Dec 12, 2019

J.C. Martin: 1969 World Champion Mets Back Up Catcher & His Amazing World Series Game Winning Bunt (1968-1969)

50th Anniversary of the 1969 World Champion "Amazing Mets"

Joseph Clifton Martin was born December 13, 1936 in Axton, Virginia. Both of his grandfathers were named Joseph, so the family began to call him by his initials J.C.

He was a clean cut Christian boy the son of a county deputy who use to visit his father at work & see the men in jail. Martin never drank nor smoked, lived a pure life because he all he wanted was to be a base ball player. 

Martin was a high school baseball, basketball & track star getting offered contracts in both basketball as well as baseball. Martin was signed by the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent in 1956, as a first baseman.

In 1958 he hit .330 at Dululth-Superior, then was promoted to AA Indianapolis in 1959 where he hit .287. Martin made his MLB debut getting his first MLB hit on the last day of the 1959 season, just as the Go Go Sox won the A.L. pennant. He did not play in the Sox World Series loss to the LA Dodgers. 

He played in the Pacific Coast League with the San Diego Padres in 1960 batting .285 with 13 HRs & 73 RBIs & then came up for good in 1961 Splitting time between first base and third base.

He batted .230 with 5 HRs 8 doubles and 32 RBIs making the Topps All Star rookie team. 

By 1962 long time White Sox catcher Sherm Lollar was at the end of his career, and manager Al Lopez convinced Martin to go down to the minors and learn how to be a catcher to succeed Lollar. He returned as the clubs catcher in 1963 winning over the job from Cam Carreon. He threw out 44 % of would be base stealers, which was best in the league but also allowed 12 passed balls (2nd in the league).

At the plate he hit a career high 5 HRs in 1963 but only batted .205 in 105 games played. In each of the next two seasons he would lead all catchers in passed balls with 24 in 1964 & in 33 in 1965 setting a record that stood for 22 years. 

In those years Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm's knuckleball added to Martins passed ball totals. In 1964 he dropped below the .200 mark (.197) and then became a back up to Johnny Romano the next two years.

In 1965 Martin raised his average 64 points, hitting a career best .261 with 2 HRs 12 doubles & 21 RBIs. In 1967 he was team mates with the 1966 AL Rookie of the Year, Tommie Agee, whom he would win a World Series with in New York.
The 1967 Sox began the year with three catchers but when Duane Josephson went down with injury Martin saw most of the playing time. 

On July 25th he hit a walk off HR against Sudden Sam McDowell in the first game of a double header, then hit another HR in the second game. In that game Chicago's Ken Berry hit another walk off HR & it was only the second time in history both ends of a double header ended in walk offs.

The 1967 White Sox were in a four way pennant race losing out to the Red Sox on the last day of the season. On September 10th he caught Joe Horlen's no hitter against the Detroit Tigers. 

Martin hit .234, and posted his best fielding % to date at .987%, allowing 16 passed balls second in the league, as Wilbur Wood also a knuckle ball pitcher, also joined the Sox staff.

Before the 1968 season Martin was traded to the New York Mets along with Billy Southworth in exchange for Ken Boyer and Sandy Alomar. New Mets manager Gil Hodges planned to use Martin as a platoon partner Jerry Grote for the 1968 season.

Martin actually got the start on Opening day, catching the first Tom Seaver Opening Day in Mets history. Seaver would go on to start the next nine opener's as well. Martin got a hit in the Mets loss to the San Francisco Giants, but worse, he fractured his finger and missed a month of action going on the DL.

Grote came into his own as one of the leagues better defensive catchers and Martin became his back up. Martin returned to play sparingly in May & at the end of the month going into June had an incredible run production for a reserve player. 

Martin drove in runs in six straight games he played in, with a stretch of at least one RBI in 12 of 15 games. On June 4th Jerry Koosman blanked Fergie Jenkins & the Cubs 5-0, as Martin had tw hits & drove in two of the runs.

On June 12th with the Mets down 1-0 to Don Drysdale & the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Martin doubled to score Dick Selma with the game tying run. Jerry Grote then singled home Martin in what was the game winning run. On July 21st in St. Louis he drove in the only run of another Koosman shut out, this time in St. Louis.

In mid August he showed some power hitting HRs in two of three games that week. 

On September 3rd he led the Mets to a 4-3 win over the Braves at Shea Stadium with a two run shot off Milt Pappas. In the 7th inning he tied the game on a force out & Ed Charles followed with another ground out scoring Art Shamsky which was the game winner.

In 1968 he batted .225 with three HRs, nine doubles, 31 RBIs & a .298 on base % in 78 games. He threw out 40% of would be base stealers behind the plate in 53 games. 

1969 Championship Season: In 1969 he continued his backup catching role, but fell more to the third string catcher behind Grote & up & coming rookie Duffy Dyer. Martin played for a week straight in May as Grote missed some time with injury. 

He swung a hot bat with six hits & five RBIs on the week. On May 11th he drove in two runs in the second game of a double header, leading the Mets past Houston 11-7. It was big since the Mets only beat the Astros twice all year.

In another stretch where he played two weeks steady in June, he got another eight hits. On June 17th, Martin drove in the only run of the game when Gary Gentry pitched a two hit shutout in Philadelphia against the Phillies.

In July in the second game after the All Star break, he hit an 8th inning HR off the Cincinnati Reds reliever Clay Carroll. The two run shot scored Al Weis & put the Mets ahead in what turned out to be the game winner.

In July he had three multi RBI games. During the final two months of the season he saw very limited action as Dyer got most of the backup time. On the season he only batted .207 with 4 HRs 5 doubles & 21 RBIs in 66 games. In 48 games at catcher he posted a .996 fielding % throwing out 21% of base stealers.

1969 Post Season- NLCS: In the NLCS vs. the Atlanta Braves Martin appeared in two Games as a pinch hitter going 1-2. In Game #1 at Atlanta, he pinch hit for Tom Seaver and drove in two runs with a pinch hit single off future Hall of Fame pitcher; Phil Neikro. The hit sparked a five run Mets rally.

1969 World Series: In Game #4 of the 1969 World Series, Martin became a Mets hero & had one at bat that he will be remembered for forever. It’s not even what he did at the plate but more so the way he ran to first base after a sacrifice bunt. 

With the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 10th inning, the Mets had pinch-runner Rod Gaspar representing the winning run on second base. Gil Hodges summoned Martin to pinch-hit for Tom Seaver. 

The Orioles’ manager Earl Weaver had been ejected from the game earlier and future Met skipper George Bamberger brought in relief pitcher Pete Richert to face Martin.

J.C. laid down a perfect bunt in front of the pitcher’s mound. He ran to first base close to the foul line, as Richert fielded the ball, the lefty threw to first base.

Martin was hit on the wrist by Richert’s throw, and the ball ricocheted into right field as Rod Gaspar scampered all the way around to score the winning run.

The Mets now led the Series three games to one, and Tom Seaver had his only World Series victory of his career. 

No one argued when the play & the game ended. But after the game, the Orioles protested that Martin had ran inside the foul line . 

Home plate Umpire Shag Crawford said he didn’t make an interference call because he felt Martin didn’t intentionally interfere with the play. Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn backed up the statement. The next day the controversy was the talk of the baseball world. 

Quotes- J.C. Martin: "Remember first base is actually in fair territory. If you are a left handed hitter and you run inside that double line, you’ll never touch the bag if you run straight at it. The funny thing is that nobody really made a big deal about it until the papers came out the next day.

They had a picture that showed Pete Richert’s throw hitting me on the left wrist. The umpire said I was safe, so I must have been safe, I get a kick seeing the ball roll away and old Gaspar scoring”.

After the Championship: After the World Series, the Mets decided to go with Duffy Dyer as their back up & just before the 1970 season began, Martin was traded to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Randy Bobb. 

He spent three seasons in Chicago, mostly backing up Randy Hundley & former Met Chris Cannizzaro. He had his best season in Chicago in 1971 hitting .264 with 2 HRs 5 doubles & 17 RBIs in 47 games. 

J.C. Martin would retire after the 1972 season, finishing a 14 year career, batting .222 with 487 hits, 32 HRs, 82 doubles 12 triples & 230 RBIs, in 908 lifetime games played. 

His 121 passed balls are 99th most all time, and he threw out 34% of would be base stealers in 692 games at catcher posting a .987 fielding %.

Family: J.C. & his wife Barbara line in the Charlotte South Carolina area.

Martin’s son Jay, went on to have a fine college career at Wheaton College. He later became the head baseball coach in Canton, Ohio.

Retirement: In 1974 J.C. Martin was a bull pen coach for the Chicago Cubs under former New York Giant, Whitey Lockman. 

He then moved into the broadcast booth with the White Sox, alongside the legendary Harry Caray for the next season. He only worked as a broadcaster for one season, mostly because he did not get along with Caray.

When asked if he enjoyed his White Sox broadcast experience: J.C. said- "Not really. I didn’t really fit in with Harry. He didn’t want to work with me. We didn’t hit it off at all. I wasn’t used to working with a guy that had that kind of authority and Harry used that against me. I was only there for one year. Now Bill Mercer was a great guy, he helped me out a lot. Harry just left me out to dry.

Quotes: J.C. Martin - " I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I spent 14 years in the big leagues seeing the best players ever, guys like Bob Gibson, Willie Mays, Carl Yastrzemski. Players like that just aren’t around anymore. 

Baseball was better back then, they didn’t have the DH, which has killed all the suspense in the American League, and the ballparks were fair. You didn’t have this emphasis on hitting home runs all the time. It was great.”

Trivia: J.C. caught five Hall-of-Fame pitchers in his catching career: Tom Seaver & Nolan Ryan with the Mets. Early Wynn & Hoyt Wilhelm with the White Sox. And Ferguson Jenkins with the Cubs.

Honors: In 2019, Martin was on hand for the 50th Anniversary celebration of the 1969 Amazing Mets, at Citi Field. 

He & his old roomate on the road, Al Weis are still close friends, 50 years after the Miracle of 1969.

Back in 2005, Martin attended a reunion of the 1959 AL Champion White Sox team with former team mates; Luis Aparicio, Billy Pierce & Jim Rivera.

Joe Christopher: Mid Sixties Mets Outfielder (1963-1965)

Joseph O’ Neil Christopher was born on December 13, 1935 technically being the first MLB player born in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The speedy five foot ten, outfielder was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1955. He would hit over .300 three straight years in the minor leagues at the AAA level with Salt Lake & Columbus. Christopher made his MLB debut in 1959 in a game where Pittsburgh's Harvey Haddix pitched a 12 inning perfect game. In 15 games that year he went hitless in twelve at bats.

He became a reserve outfielder behind Roberto Clemente, Bill Virdon & Bob Skinner on the 1960 World Champion Pirates team. On September 27th he had a big five hit day, in a 16 inning victory over the Cincinnati Reds. 

He only hit .232 in 50 games on the year, & scored two runs in the World Series as a pinch runner. He hit .263 the next season before getting picked up by the New York Mets in the 1961 expansion draft as the tenth pick overall.

He began the Mets inaugural season at AAA Syracuse playing in 12 games batting .301 with 6 HRs, the Mets in need of offense brought him up right away. On May 21st in his Mets debut at the Houston Astrodome, where he got his first career hit a double. The next week he batted leadoff for the first time and got three hits against the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Polo Grounds.

He had a good September hitting safely in 17 of 21 games seven multi hit games, driving in 15 runs in the month. On September 2nd, he singled with the bases loaded in the top of the 9th inning, breaking a 2-2 tie leading the Mets to a 4-3 win. It was just their 35th win up to that point. 

He drove in two more runs the next day, although the team lost to the Pirates 5-4. From September 15th through the 20th he had three multi RBI games, with six runs driven in.

In the Mets inaugural season he played in 119 games in the outfield, batting .244 hitting 6 HRs with 10 doubles and 32 RBIs The quick footed Christopher stole 11 bases in 14 attempts, and recorded two triples. 

Trivia: One of the famous 1962 Mets stories, had short stop Elio Chacon running into centerfielder Richie Ashburn, when both went for fly balls in shallow center. When Ashburn called "I got it" it meant nothing to Chacon who didn't understand English. 

It was Christopher who taught Ashburn to say "Yo La Tengo" so Chacon could understand he was calling for the ball. Instead, outfielder Frank Thomas collided with Ashburn, because he had no idea what "Yo La Tengo" meant.

Christopher began the 1963 season at AAA Buffalo, hitting .288 with 12 stolen bases 19 HRs 59 RBIs & a .403 on base % in 85 games played. For the Mets he arrived in mid July & would play in 64 games batting .221 with one HR & 8 RBIs.

On July 17th he hit an exciting two run HR, off the Giants Gaylord Perry at the Polo Grounds, in the 6th inning putting the Mets ahead. The Giants tied it up but New York won it with a Joe Hicks walk off HR against Don Larsen. Games between the Mets & Giants were big in those days, since the team had left for San Francisco just six years prior.

It was Christopher's only HR all season. On September 8th he had a big four hit day, in Cincinnati including an RBI triple in the Mets 3-2 win over the Reds.

In the opening year of Shea Stadium in 1964 Christopher led the Mets in almost all offensive categories except HRs. He was tops on the club in hits (163) doubles (26) RBIs (76) walks (48) runs (78) and tied for the lead in stolen bases with six. His eight triples which were also eighth most in the league.

Christopher was the fourth Met in history to hit over .300 and the first to have done it with more than 500 at bats (543). 

Christopher also was a good pinch hitter off the Mets bench, as his six pinch hits were 10th in the NL. He also contributed with six sacrifice hits which were 7th most in the league. He enjoyed 13 games were had three or more hits during the season, including two 11 game hit streaks.

He began with an Opening Day HR in Philadelphia against the Phillies & batted .375 in the month of April. On May 8th his 9th inning single off St. Louis' Bobby Shantz resulted in a walk off win for New York, the first ever such win at Shea Stadium for the Mets. 

In May at the end of the month, he had two different three RBI games against the San Francisco Giants. 

On May 31st he hit a two run double in the first inning & then added an RBI sac fly in the 8th to finalize the 6-3 Mets win. In the four game series which the Mets split, he drove in seven runs with seven hits.

In June he drove in 19 runs and remained at .300 midway through the month. On June 20th in New York, he hit two HRs in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies the Mets won 7-3, beating pitcher Dallas Green. On June 26th, Christopher hit a grand slam HR off the Milwaukee Braves Bill Sadowski, for an 8-4 Mets win.
That week he drove in runs five straight games, seven of nine. On July 12th he had another walk off hit, this time a double off Joey Jay of the Cincinnati Reds. It was the only run scored in Galen Cisco's six hit shut out win. On July 19th in the first of two in St. Louis, he & Frank Thomas drove in the only runs of a 2-1 Jack Fisher win. 

In August he hit HRs in back to back games early on in the month. On August 18th, he drove in five runs with a HR as he had the biggest day of his career. He collected four hits with a HR, a pair of triples & a double in an 8-6 Mets win over his old Pirates team mates.

In September he broke up a no hit bid of Cincinnati Reds pitcher; Jim Maloney in a game at Shea Stadium. Christopher hit well enough to finish with a .300 average. Christopher was one of the few bright spots on a dismal 1964 team that lost 109 games.

In 1965 he began the year as the teams left fielder & fifth place hitter. He hit a HR in the second game of the year but then didn't hit another for a month and a half. He struggled most of the season having his best stretch when he hit safely in 16 of 17 games at the end of August into September.

Christopher always seemed to thrive against the Giants, on April 23rd he helped a four run Mets come back rally in the 9th inning with an RBI hit. The Mets won it 9-8 in the 11th inning. After driving in five runs in the first two days of June, he only drove in four more runs in the next two months.

On September 1st in the first game of a double header at the Astrodome, he tripled home two runs, in the top of the 8th inning off future Mets relief ace Ron Taylor. The Mets went on to a 4-1 victory. 

On the year his numbers fell off dropping to a .249 batting average, with 109 hits, 5 HRs & 40 RBIs while playing in 148 games. He tied for the team lead with six pinch hits and four stolen bases.

In November of 1965 he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Eddie Bressoud. Christopher batted .265 with 28 HRs 22 stolen bases & 156 RBIs in his four year Mets career. 

He only played in 12 games in Boston, batting .077 before finishing his playing career with two more seasons in the minors.

In his eight year MLB career batted .260 with 434 hits, 68 doubles, 17 triples, 29 HRs 173 RBIs 29 stolen bases & a .329 on base % in 638 games. 

Trivia: Joe has always been interested in numerology & Egyptology.

Retirement: After his playing days Christopher ran a baseball school in the Virgin Islands. He was inspired from watching the Spencer Tracy movie; "Boys Town" back in his playing days.

Christopher also became a free lance artist in the Baltimore area.