Dec 2, 2020

Wayne Garrett "Red": Two Time Mets World Series Third Baseman:(1969-1976)

Ronald Wayne Garrett was born on December 3, 1947 in Brooksville, Florida. The Red headed, five foot eleven infielder was known as “Red” & Huckleberry Finn.

Garrett was a left handed hitter that threw right handed. He played baseball at Sarasota High School, getting selected by the Milwaukee Braves, in the sixth round of the 196 draft.

Family: His two brothers; Henry Adrian Garrett & Charles James Garrett were also signed to the major leagues. Charles was the only one who did not make it to the big leagues.

Adrian Garrett played for the Atlanta Braves (1966),Chicago Cubs (1970/ 1973-1975) Oakland Athletics (1971-1972) & California Angels (1975-1976). Adrian was mostly as a reserve outfielder, batting .185 lifetime with 51 hits 11 HRs 8 doubles 37 RBIs & a .263 on base % in 163 career games.
 
Trivia: All the Garrett brothers were known by their middle names.

Wayne played in the Florida State League right in his hometown at Sarasota, Florida. In 1968 the Braves left him unprotected & he was picked up by the New York Mets as a Rule V player for $ 25,000.

It was the only off season deal, the Mets made going into 1969. Although Bud Harrelson was the main stay at short stop, he was recovering from knee surgery & they wanted a backup infielder. 

In Spring Training 1969, Garrett got a chance to play right away. Out of the four rookies who started the first Spring game, Garrett would be the only one to prove himself & head north, making the 1969 Mets roster.

1969 Championship Season:
 
Garrett would be a platoon player with the veteran Ed Charles, seeing action mostly against right handed pitchers. Garrett played in 72 games at third base, but was a versatile infielder & played 47 games at second & 9 games at shortstop. 

Garrett was a nervous wreck when he arrived in New York, having never been to big city before. He said he wasn't nervous at the plate but on the field, his hands felt like iron. He got his first career start in the fifth game of the season at Shea Stadium, against the St. Louis Cardinals. 

In his first at bat he walked & the second time up, he singled to right field off pitcher, Dave Guisti. The next day, he doubled off St. Louis Cardinals future Hall of Famer; Bob Gibson. Garrett played in ten games during the first month of '69, batting .267 at the end of April.

He soon found himself filling in for players who were either hurt or on military reserve. Manager

Gil Hodges, first inserted him in the lineup at third base in early May. 


In a May 4th double header sweep at Wrigley Field, over the first place Chicago Cubs, he got his first start at third base. Garrett, collected three hits with a double in the second game, Mets 3-2 win. 

In his next start, on May 6th at Shea Stadium, he hit his first career HR. It came against the Reds & pitcher Gary Nolan, in an 8-1 Mets win, in which the team slugged four HRs.

Base on Balls Record Tied: In a May 11th game against the Astros, he tied an NL record, by drawing two walks in the same inning. The first base on balls, came as the second batter of the inning off pitcher, Don Wilson. Garrett later scored on a wild pitch. 

Later, in the long inning, he was the tenth batter to come to the plate, He drew a bases loaded walk, bringing in Bud Harrelson with the sixth run of the inning. 

From May 15th to May 17th, had three hits in all of three straight games, driving in three runs as well.

At the end of May, the surprising Garrett was batting .317.

On June 4th, the Mets & Dodgers were in a scoreless game going into the 15th inning at Shea Stadium. With one out & Tommie Agee on first base, Garrett singled to centerfield. The ball got by Willie Davis & Agee came around to score with the exciting, walk off run.

On June 8th, Garrett's 8th inning single in San Diego was the Mets go ahead run, as he helped Tom Seaver to a 3-2 win, the ninth victory of Seaver's first Cy Young season. 

On June 16th, he drove in one of the two Mets runs, in Jerry Koosman's shut out over the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium.

On July 2nd, he helped the Mets beat the Cardinals 6-4, in an extra inning game at St. Louis.. Garrett collected four hits, while driving in a season high, four runs. He would have two run scoring singles, an RBI double & provide the insurance run with a bases loaded walk off Ron Willis in the top of the 14th inning.

On July 9th, he played two innings as a defensive replacement in Tom Seaver's imperfect game. Seaver lost his perfect game, with two outs in the ninth inning at Shea, against the Chicago Cubs. 

On August 3rd, the Mets were down 5-0 to the Atlanta Braves in the 6th inning. Garrett drove in the first run of the Mets five run inning. They won it on Jerry Grote's walk off HR in the 11th.

As the Mets went on to Atlanta, Garrett collected a two run single off Pat Jarvis, helping Tom Seaver to his 16th win. The next day, he had two more hits & drove in another run in a combined Mets 3-0 shut out. (Nolan Ryan, Don Cardwell & Tug McGraw).

On September 8th, the Mets played the biggest game of their history, up to that point in time. It was at Shea Stadium, in front of 42,274  wild fans, against the first place Chicago Cubs. 

After the Cubs pitcher, Bill Hands, hit Mets lead
off batter, Tommie Agee, Jerry Koosman nailed Cubs star, Ron Santo with a pitch. 

The war was on. With the score tied at two, in the 6th inning,  Garrett broke a 2-2 tie with 
single, off Hands. The run proved to be the winning run & the win, put the Mets just 1.5 games out of first place.

The next night, Garrett drove in another run, as the Mets moved to just a half game behind the Cubs, behind Tom Seaver's 21st victory. On September 17th, he had a two run single in Montreal, in Jerry Koosman's 5-0 shut out. It was Koosman's 15th win & gave the Mets a four game lead over the Cubs.

Trivia: Garrett would drive in eight runs, during the Mets September stretch drive, leading them to the NL Eastern title.  

In 124 games for the 1969 World Champions, he batted only .218, but walked 40 times, with 11 doubles 3 triples 39 RBIs and 38 runs scored. He also tied for the team lead with five sacrifice flies. 


Defensively at third base made only eight errors in 115 attempts, posting a .951 %. 

Gil Hodges said Garrett was one of the biggest surprises of 1969, the media & his teammates also agreed.

Sportswriter Jack Lang said Garrett was the best bargain New York had, since buying Manhattan Island for $24 from the native American Indians.

1969 Post Season- NLCS: In the 1969 NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, Garrett played in all 
three games batting .385, going 5 for 13, with three walks. 

He opened up the Series getting two hits & drawing a walk in Game #1 at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. In the top of the 8th inning, the Mets were down 5-4. Garrett led off with a double to left field off Phil Niekro. He then scored the tying run, on Cleon Jones base hit. The Mets cored four run on thier way to the 9-5 win.

In Game #2, he got two more hits & drew another walk. In the 3rd inning, Garrett singled off Milt Pappas, scoring Bud Harrelson, to put the Mets up 6-0. 

In the Game #3 clincher at Shea Stadium, Garrett came to bat in the 5th inning, against pitcher, Pat Jarvis, with the Mets down 3-2. 

With Nolan Ryan, who had singled, on first base, Garrett blasted a two run HR, off the right field foul, 
putting the Mets ahead for good.

Garrett had a huge game, hitting two doubles, while driving in three runs, & scoring three other runs. 



In the Series he had five hits (second best on the club) batting .385 (third best behind Cleon Jones & Art Shamsky)


He posted a .769 slugging %, with one HR two doubles, two walks & three RBIs. The final out was made when Tony Gonzales grounded out to Garrett & he threw him out at first base.

1969 World Series: 
Quotes- Wayne Garrett: “During the Playoffs with Atlanta, they didn’t have any left handed starting pitchers, so I got to play every game. When it got down to the World Series, Baltimore had two lefty starters. They chose to throw them at us first. I got to play in the third game and that was it, the only game I played in.” 

He also was a defensive replacement in Game #4 of the World Series at Shea Stadium. Overall he 
was 0-1 with two walks in Game #3 at Shea Stadium, against the Baltimore Orioles.

World Champion:
After the World Series he enjoyed the success & acknowledgment the Amazing Mets were receiving. He was having a ball as a single guy in New York City with all the night life had to offer. He even made an appearance on The Dating Game TV show with Rod Gaspar & Kenny Boswell.

                                                    
The Mets Saga At Third Base: After the Championship season, main third baseman Ed Charles retired. The Mets didn't have enough confidence in Garrett to be an everyday third baseman. 


 After all the years that the Mets had a problem with
finding a steady third baseman, it seemed that Garrett could be the answer.  But it was not the case, management was still trying new experiments at the position & would make many bad trades trying to find his replacement. 

Quotes- GM Johnny Murphy: "I think that kid Garrett is going to make a heck of a third baseman, but we need someone to take Ed Charles' place".

Trivia: After all these years, with the 160 plus third baseman that have played for the Mets, Wayne Garrett is the only Mets third baseman to have played in two World Series. 

In two of the worst trades during that Mets era, the team first parted ways with future All Star, Amos Otis, in a trade for Joe Foy  (1970) & then Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, for Jim Fregosi (1972). 

 Joe Foy never fit in on the ball club & his drug problems certainly did not help his case. In 99 games with the 1970 Mets, he hit .236 with 6 HRs & 37 RBIs. Foy was gone by the end of the year. Amos Otis went on to a great All Star career in the AL, with the KC Royals.

After the Championship: 
Although, he was in a back up role to start the season, Garrett still played in 70 games at third base & 45 games at second base in 1970. 

At the plate Garrett struggled at first, not getting to the .200 mark until the first week of June. But then he hit safely in 15 of 18 games batting .429 in that stretch, getting his average over the .300 mark. 

On June 9th he hit his second HR of the season, it came at the Houston Astrodome & helped Tom Seaver to a 2-1 win. On June 14th he hit a two run HR off Par Jarvis, whom he had also hit a HR off of in last year's NLCS. The 5th inning two run shot tied the game in which New York went on to win. 

On July 26th he hit a pair of HRs against the
Dodgers at Shea Stadium driving in all the Mets runs, although they lost 5-3. Strangely he was pinch hit for late in the game, with Tommie Agee who grounded into a double play.


Four days later Garrett hit another HR, this time off the San Diego Padres Pat Dobson. The HR was the Mets third in the inning, coming right after Cleon Jones had just blasted one as well. 

He drove in ten runs in the final two weeks of August, and he capped off a six game hit streak with a four hit day on September 1st in St. Louis against the St. Louis Cards. 

Walk Off HR:
On September 28th at Shea Stadium, he hit a dramatic three run walk off HR, off future Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm, to beat the Chicago Cubs 6-3.


In the month of September he drew walks in 17 of the 27 games he played in. He finished the year with 81 walks, second on the club to Bud Harrelson.


Garret posted the team's best a on base % (.390%) although he batted only .254. On Overall on the season, Garrett showed some power hitting 12 HRs (third best on the club) with a .421 slugging %, 17 doubles 45 RBIs & four triples.

In 1971 Joe Foy was gone,but the Mets were to lose Garrett for at least four months, as he had to serve military duty. A bad back had kept him out of the service the past two years. Garrett went to the reserves as the Mets began Spring Training 1971.

The Mets got a one time Brooklyn Dodger, Bob Aspromonte to play at third base. On the field
Aspromonte would lead all NL third baseman in fielding, although at the plate he hit just .225 with 5 HRs & 33 RBIs in 97 games.


When Garrett returned in July, he was sent to AAA Tidewater, in 11 games he hit 3 HRs & batted .227.

In his MLB return, on June 24th he collected three hits with a pair of RBIs in the Mets 9-3 win over the Astros at Shea Stadium. The next day, he got two more hits with an RBI in the 7-6 win.

On August 7th, the Mets pounded the Braves 2-6 in Atlanta, with Garrett collecting three RBIs. On a long road trip, including a California swing, Garrett collected 15 hits in 13 games. He would hit his only HR on September 14th, in the second game of a double header in Montreal.

Garrett played in only 56 games, batting .213 with one HR 2 doubles 28 walks & 11 RBIs. 

1972: At the start of the 1972 season the Mets made that other horrible trade, maybe their worst ever, Sending Nolan Ryan to the California Angels, in exchange for third baseman Jim Fregosi. Fregosi's best days were behind him, as he was no longer the All Star he once was. He would be gone early the next season.

But in 1972, Fregosi & Garrett split time at the position, as both players dealt with injuries. For Garrett his hamstring was an issue most of the season, as well as other nagging injuries. He would just see action in 82 games. 


He out played Fregosi at third & with the bat. Garrett made nine errors, posting a .960 fielding % (4th best in the NL), while Fregosi made 15 errors (.935 field %) in 85 games. 

Fregosi who came to New York mostly because of his bat, only hit .232 with five HRs & 32 RBIs in 101 games.

Meanwhile  Garrett hit just .232 but posted a .374 on base % mainly due to his 70 walks (9th most in the NL). He also hit two HRs with 39 RBIs in 111 games. Garrett played in just eight games, the first two months of the season & didn't begin to see steady playing time until June. 

Hit he hit his first HR of the year on June 12th, coming in Atlanta off Phil Niekro. On June 29th, he drove in three runs, with a two run double & sac fly, all off Steve Carlton, in a 9-4 Mets loss.

 In the first game of a July 31st double header, in Pittsburgh, Garrett provided the only run of the game with a 10th inning, sac fly scoring Cleon Jones, as he helped rookie Jon Matlack, earn the complete game shut out.

By September he was seeing the majority of the playing time at third as Fregosi got injured. Garrett began the month with a big day in Houston on September 3rd, where he drove in three runs in an 11-8 Mets win over the Astros. 

On September 26th, he drove in a
run & scored a run in the Mets 3-1 win over the Cars at Busch Stadium.

On October 2nd, Garrett singled in the bottom of the 8th inning in a scoreless game against the Montreal Expos. Although the Expos tied the game the Mets went on to win it on rookie Dave Schneck's RBI single. In the final month of the season, Garrett had six multi hit games, drove in ten runs & raised his average 16 points.

1973 NL Championship Season:
The 1973 Mets season began with Fregosi as the third baseman, but by early July he was batting .230 without a HR, and he was gone. Now finally, the third base job was all Garrett's. 

Garrett quickly proved to everyone, that he was the guy for third base, in the 1973 N.L. Pennant winning season. 

Garrett would put in his best offensive season that year, posting career highs in HRs (16) which was second on the club to John Milner. 

He also posted career bests in hits (129) doubles (20) RBIs (58) runs scored (76) & slugging (.403%) all of which were third best on the club. Garrett also had 11 game winning hits through the regular season & had a great pennant stretch run. 

Donna Garrett: He soon became a Shea fan favorite as well. The red headed Wayne and his beautiful wife Donna became very popular around Shea Stadium & on the New York scene. Donna Garrett became the leader of the Mets wives club & head of various charity events.

He would find himself atop the batting order eventually batting in the leadoff spot. On the slow footed ball club, Garrett led the team with just six stolen bases. 

On April 19th, he doubled off the Cubs, Rick Reuschel & then scored on Jerry Grote's base hit, helping Jerry Koosman to a 3-1 win over the Cubs at Shea. Koos' run was unearned.

From May 12th to the 18th, in a  five game span, he hit three
HRs, drove in six runs & collected eight hits. In the May 18th game, his two run HR off Luke Walker & three RBIs, led the Mets past the Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium, 4-3.


In the middle of June, during another hot hitting week, he drove in eight runs collecting RBIs in five of seven games. On June 15th, with the score tied 2-2, he blasted a three run HR off the Padres, Steve Arlin, giving the Mets a 5-2 win at Shea Stadium. 


On July 1st, in the first game of a double header at Wrigley Field, he hit a three run HR off the Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer, Fergie Jenkins leading the Mets to a 6-5 win. He would drive in eight runs in the first seven games of July.

On July 13th at Riverfront Stadium, his 8th inning two run single off Don Gullett, gave the Mets a
7-3 lead, in a win against the Cincinnati Reds. They would hold on to win it 7-5.


He began August, with an RBI hit & two walks, in Tom Seaver's 3-0 shut out over the Pirates at Shea. On August 6th, Garrett had three hits & drove in three runs, in a 10-3 victory over the St. Louis Cards at Shea Stadium.

Garrett had a fantastic month of September helping the Mets win the NL East after being in last place at the end of August. 

'73 Pennant Race:
In the final month he hit .333, with 29 hits, 6 HRs, 5 doubles 17 RBIs, a .407 on base % & had four game winning hits. 

You Gotta Believe: From September 4th through September 7th he hit two HRs driving in four runs all contributing to Mets wins. On September 4th, he had two hits including a 1st inning HR off Jim Lonborg. The next night Garrett drove in two runs with a triple off the Phils, George Culver. 

September 7th in Montreal, he drove in the only run of the game, with a HR off former Met, Steve Renko. Jon Matlack & Tug McGraw combined on the shut out, as the Mets passed the Expos in the pennant chase. Garrett would drive in runs in five of the next six games, all of which were Mets victories.

On September 13th, he put the Mets on the board with his 12th HR of the year. It came  at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, leading Jon Matlack to a 3-2 Mets victory.

The next night, the game went into extra innings. In the
12th inning, Garret put the Mets ahead with a bases loaded single, as the went on to a 4-2 win.

As the hot Mets opened a series with the Cubs, Garrett added a sac fly RBI in the first game of a 5-1 win. On September 16th, he doubled in the 2nd inning, off Burt Hooton, breaking a 2-2 tie. The Mets went on to a 4-2 win & were now just 2.5 games out of first place.

The Ball On the Wall Game:
On September 20th in a key game against the first place Pittsburg Pirates, Garrett played a big role in one of the biggest defensive plays of the season. 

With the score tied, Garrett was playing at short stop. Dave Augustine, hit a ball that bounced off the top of the left field wall, into Cleon Jones glove. Jones fired to the relay man, Garrett. 

Garrett took the throw, turned & nailed Pirate runner, Richie Zisk, who was tagged out at home plate. 

Zisk was trying to score from first base. The catcher, rookie Ron Hodges, would single home the
game winning run in the bottom of the 9th. The Mets win, brought them within a half game of the first place Pirates.


The next night, September 21st, the Mets took over  first place, beating the Pirates 10-2 in front of 51,381 fans at Shea Stadium,. Wayne Garrett had three hits including his 14th HR of the year. John Milner & Rusty Staub also homered that night.

On Saturday September 22nd, in a matinee at Shea Stadium against St. Louis, Garrett hit his 15th HR of the year, coming off Reggie Cleveland. Red provided both Mets runs in Jon Matlack's four hit shut out.

On Sunday September 23rd, in front of 51,926 wild Mets fans at Shea, Garrett came to bat in the
6th inning, in a 2-2 tie. 

As reliever, Al Hrabosky, "The Mad Hungarian" came into pitch, with two on, Garrett greeted him with a two run triple to right field. Another hot Mets hitter, Cleon Jones added a HR & the Mets went on to a 5-2 win. 

The victory put the Cardinals three behind the Mets, as they faded away from the tight NL East pennant race. 

Although the Mets lost to Montreal Expos on September 26th, Garrett hit a three run HR, his 16th & final HR of the regular season. He drove in all the Mets runs. 

In the final series of the regular season, he had five hits in the three game set at Wrigley Field. On September 30th, after a heart breaking 1-0 loss to Rick Reushel in the first game, the Mets guaranteed themselves of at least a tie for the division, as the beat the Cubs 9-2. 
Garrett had two hits & scored three runs in the game.

The Mets clinched the NL East the next day on the last day of the season. They finished out a 20-8 September, with a rally cry of "You Gotta Believe".

Wayne Garrett closed out the year on a nine game hit streak, hitting safely in 12 of 13 games. In that time Garrett had seven multi hit games with ten RBIs, & three runs scored. 

Defensively at third base in 130 games, he had a rough time, making a career high 22 errors (4th most in the NL) posting a .942 fielding %. But he also turned 36 double plays (second most for NL third basemen).


1973 Post Season: 1973 NLCS: In the 1973 NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds, Garrett played in all five games but only got two hits in twenty three at bats. 

In the Game #1 opener at Riverfront Stadium, he started out the series with a lead off hit against Jack Billingham. He was hitless in the next two games.



One of his biggest heroic acts was coming over from third base & being the first guy to tackle Pete Rose during his brawl at second base with Bud Harrelson.

The fight broke out after the third out was made after the top of the 5th inning, during Game #3. 

In that game Garret was 0-4 with an RBI sac fly in the second inning. The run put New York ahead 2-0 in a game they would win 9-2.

He went 0-5 in Game #4. In Game #5 in front of 50, 323 crazed, fans at Shea Stadium, the final deciding game in the best of five series, 

Garrett led off the 5th inning with a double off Jack Billingham. The game was tied 2-2 at that point, he then scored on Cleon Jones double which put the Mets ahead for good. 

The Mets scored four runs in the inning & never looked back clinching the NL Pennant & shocking the Big Red Machine.


1973 World Series:
In the World Series against the Oakland A's, Garrett hit only hit .167 (5 for 30).

But he walked five times & hit two HRs driving in two runs as well. 

In Game #2 at the Oakland Coliseum, He hit a 3rd inning HR off Vida Blue. It was his only hit of the extra inning game, going 1-6 & striking out three times. The Mets won it in extra innings 10-7.

In Game #3 at Shea Stadium, he hit a leadoff the game with a HR off the A's, Catfish Hunter. 

Mets World Series Trivia: As Garret led off Game #3 with a HR, it would mark the second time a Mets player would lead off a World Series game with a HR. Tommie Agee was the first to do it in 1969 also in a Game #3 at Shea Stadium. 

In 1986, Lenny Dykstra would be the third Met to accomplish the feat, in Game #3 at Fenway Park in Boston. 

In Game #4, Garrett led off the Mets first inning, with a base hit off Ken Holtzman. He quickly would score when Rusty Staub blasted a three run HR. 





In the 4th inning, he was hit by a pitch from reliever, Darold Knowles. He would score on Staub's two run single.

The Mets would leave New York with a 3-2 Series lead, but lost the final two games in Oakland.  

In Game #6 he led off with a walk. In the 8th inning, with the Mets down 2-0, Garrett singled with Ken Boswell on & one out. Felix Millan singled & brought in a run but Garrett was left stranded as the tying run.

In Game #7, Garrett faced Oakland's reliever Darold Knowles in the top of the 9th inning, representing the tying run. Garrett batted with two on & two out, but made the last out of the Series, popping up to short stop Bert Campaneris. The dream was over, as the Mets fell one game short of a championship.

Trivia: Garrett would strike out eleven times in the Series, tying Milwaukee Braves Hall of Famer, Eddie Mathews 1958 World Series record.

After the Pennant:
During the off season he hurt his shoulder while horseback riding in Tennessee. Although it bothered him when he threw to first base, he played through the pain in a career high 151 games in 1974. 


In April of 1974, he hit 4 HRs & showed some production early on with 5 HRs & 10 RBIs by May 4th. His average dropped to .149 by the end of May. 

After a May 1st HR he would hit just two more over the next two months.


On June 8th, in the top of the 15th inning at the Houston Astrodome, Garrett drove in the winning run with a ground out scoring John Milner.

In July he slumped, driving in just one run the whole month, as his average fell to .201. He rebounded to have his best month in August driving in 12 runs, with twenty hits & 26 walks. He enjoyed a streak where he hit safely in 15 of 20 games. 

On September 3rd, he hit a three run HR at Wrigley Field off Ray Burris, on an 11-4 Mets win. On September 8thin St. Louis, he hit an 8th inning  HR off the Cardinals Lynn McGlothen. It proved to be the game winning runs.

On September 21st at Three Rivers Stadium, he hit a three run HR off veteran Juan Pizzaro in the 7th inning, leading to a 4-3 win over the Pirates. 

On September 20th he hit his fifth HR of the month,
another three run shot helping in a 5-3 win over the Phillies. In September he had 26 hits, with 5 HRs & 19 RBIs.


He finished the 1974 season, batting .224 with 13 HRs (third on the club) 14 doubles a .337 on base % and 53 RBIs. He led the team in walks with a career high 89 (10th in the league). 


He was the fourth highest rated third baseman in the league, with a .956 fielding % turning over 31 double plays. 

That year the Mets finished with a losing record for the first time since 1968.

1975:
In 1975 the Mets acquired a player they had sought out for years, to be their main third baseman; the Brooklyn born veteran, Joe Torre.

 In 1969, a deal to get Torre fell through, after the Mets refused to part with their top pitching prospects, mainly Nolan Ryan. Torre now in the twilight of his career, came to the Mets at age 34. He would see action in 83 games at third, as well as play at first base.

Garrett would still play in 95 games at third base for the Mets, posting the second best fielding % of all NL third baseman (.966%). He did well as a pinch hitter, batting .545 with a pair of HRs in 11 at bats.

At the plate he started out hot, batting .321 the first month of the season. On April 20th, he tied up a 1-0 game, with an RBI hit off Burt Hooton, in the Mets 4-3 win at Shea. He would draw nine walks in his first 12 games of the season.

In the middle of May he drove in runs in four straight games, leading the club to wins in three of the four games. 

Walk Off HR: On May 26th, he hit a pinch hit, walk off three run HR off one of the league’s best
pitchers, the Dodgers; Andy Messersmith, for a 6-3 Tom Seaver win. 


His hitting tailed off as the year went on, peaking at .290 on June 22nd he fell of from there. On July 8th, he led off the game with a HR, off Carl Morton in a 4-3 win at Atlanta. 

On July 22nd, his two RBIs led Jerry Koosman & the Mets to a 3-1 win over The Reds. On July 27th, at Wrigley Field, he broke a 10th inning 1-1 tie with a basehit, scoring Felix Millan. He had driven in a run earlier as well, in the 4-1 Mets victory.

He had the most run production in the month of August when he drove in 14 runs. On August 2nd, he hit two doubles & drove in two runs in Jon Matlack's 6-0 shut out over the Pirates. On August 6th, he hit a two run HR off Steve Renko & drove in another run with a bases loaded walk, in a Mets 9-6 win over the Expos at Shea. 

In a Friday night twin bill, on August 15th, he hit a three run HR off the Giants, Mike Cauldwell in the night cap, joining Rusty Staub & John Stearns, who also homered in a 9-4 Mets win at Shea, in front of 43,395. In another doubleheader at Candlestick Park, he drove in two more runs. He saw limited action in September.


F
or the year he raised his average over 40 points to .266, drawing 82 walks which gave him a .380 on base %. In 107 games he hit 6 HRs 12 doubles with 34 RBIs, & 49 runs scored. 

Bicentennial Year: By 1976 most members of the Amazing Mets & Pennant team of '73 were gone. Joan Payson passed away the previous October & Yogi Berra was no longer the skipper, being let go the previous August. Garrett's days were also numbered. 

The new Mets manager Joe Frazier, went with a young rookie, Roy Staiger at third base. Staiger had driven in a lot of runs at AAA Tidewater, where Frazier had been his manager. Staiger played for just one season, never making it, as the third baseman of the future. 

On May 27th, he matched his career high, four RBIs in a game, with a two run HR off Steve Rogers & two run double off Dale Murray. He drove in all four runs, in the Mets 4-3 win in Montreal. In the final days of May, he had two games, where he drove in three runs each time.

On June 14th, he drove in runs in both ends of a double header. On June 15th, in a scoreless game against the Dodgers, at Shea, Garrett singled in the 7th inning bringing in the first run. Dave Kingman's HR led the way to Jon Matlack's 2-1 victory. On July 9th, he hit his last HR in a Mets uniform.

Through July 21st, after 80 games, Garrett was hitting only .223 with four HRs & 26 RBIs. He was traded, along with Del Unser, to the Montreal Expos for Jim Dwyer & Pepe Mangual.

Garrett must be remembered to down as one of the most reliable Mets in history, as well as one of
their better third baseman.


Mets All Time List: Garrett is third on the Mets all time list with 711 games played at third base (behind David Wright & Howard Johnson). 

He is 16th on the All time Mets list in games played (883) fifth in walks (443) #16 in triples (20)& runs scored (393) & #22 in hits (667). 

In his Mets career, Garrett also had 55 HRs, 295 RBIs & 93 doubles & batted .239.


Post Mets Career:
 For the rest of the 1976 season with Montreal, he hit .243 as the Expos backup third baseman, to Larry Parrish. 

Trivia: On September 29th, he hit the only grand slam of his career, it came off Tom Seaver in a 7-2 win over the Mets.

In 1977 he injured his knee while sliding into second base. He played in only 68 games. The injury
shortened his career, as he suffered internal damage. That year, he batted .270, with two HRs and 22 RBIs. He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in mid 1978, finishing his MLB career there batting .333 in 63 at bats.


Japan: In 1979 he went on to play in Japan, joining his brother Adrian. He played for two years with the Chunichi Dragons. 

He later said they paid him $125,000 for two seasons, almost twice as much as he was making in the big leagues. He played through the injuries, and stating that he did not have too much fun there.

Career Numbers: Overall in his ten year MLB career he batted .239 with 786 hits 107 doubles 22 triples 61 HRs 340 RBIs 561 walks & a .350 on base %. 

At third base he posted a .956 fielding % with 148 errors in 2158 chances in 792 games. He also played in 195 games at second & 32 games at short.

Retirement: In 1989 Garrett played in the Senior Pro League, batting .246 for the Bradenton
Explores, under manager Clete Boyer. 

He also worked in the courier buisness in Sarasota, Florida.Garrett lived about five miles from the Cincinnati Red’s Spring Training facility in Florida, but says he rarely watches baseball these days. “I’ll watch it on ESPN, I’ll watch the highlights, but to just sit down and watch a game is very seldom, usually only the playoffs.” 

Honors:
Garrett was on hand for the closing ceremonies of Shea Stadium in 2008. He also joined his 1969 Amazing Mets team mates, for the 40th & 50th Anniversaries, of the Championship team at Citi Field in 2009 & 2019.

Family: Wayne is now married for a second time, to a dental assistant in Sarasota Florida, Connie.

No comments: