Dan Napolean: Mid Sixties Mets Outfielder (1965-1966)

Daniel Napoleon
was born January 11, 1942, in Claysburg, Pennsylvania. The five-foot eleven right-handed hitter was raised outside of Southern New Jersey.

Napoleon then played baseball at Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey. After attending Ryder University, he was signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in 1964. 

That year he hit .351 with 36 HRs and was named Rookie of the Year in the NY Penn League. He was scouted as a strong-armed outfielder with power.

Mets Career: In 1965 he made the Mets club out of Spring Training, donning the uniform number 16 the same year Dwight Gooden was born. Napoleon was mostly used as a pinch hitter & pinch runner in his rookie year.

Napoleon made his d├ębut in the second game of the season as an 11th inning pinch hitter against the Houston Colt 45's. Napoleon came to bat after Ron Swoboda had just hit a HR, he followed with a base hit & scored on Cleon Jones' base hit. The Mets took a 10-7 loss to the Colt 45's that day.

Game Winning Triple: On April 29th, he came in a s a pinch hitter in the top of the 9th inning with New York down 6-4 at San Francisco's Candlestick Park. With the bases loaded Napoleon cleared the bases with a triple off Bob Shaw, putting the Mets up 7-6. Dennis Ribant closed out the game in the home 9th for the win.

On May 9th, Napoleon came into the game as a pinch hitter against the Milwaukee Braves & collected a base hit. He remained in the game getting another hit for one of his two career multi-hit games. The Mets lost the game 8-2.

On July 4th he had an RBI pinch hit single in the 9th inning,
driving in the only run of the Mets 6-1 loss to the Cardinals. 

He was sent to AAA Buffalo in August where he hit .274 with one HR in 30 games, getting called back up in September.

He batted just .144 with 14 hits, one double one triple & 7 RBIs. He attempted 23 stolen bases & got thrown out every time. 

Napolean, played in 15 games in left field, posting a .941 fielding %. He also saw action in seven games at third base, appearing in 68 games overall. 

1966: He spent most of the next season in the minors at AAA Jackson, hitting .261 with 15 HRs & 53 RBIs getting a September call up on September 9th, 1966.
He enjoyed a four-game hit streak, while hitting safely in six of eight games on a Houston/ Cincinnati Road trip.

Overall, he batted .212 (7-33) with two doubles, two runs scored & no RBIs while striking out ten times.

On April 1, 1967, he was traded with Eddie Bressoud to the St. Louis Cardinals for Jerry Buchek, Art Mahaffey and Tony Martinez. 

Napoleon in the Cardinals AA level thru the 1971 season, never reaching the majors again. In 1969 he batted .314 & hit .291 with 12 HRs in 1970.

Retirement: After baseball Napoleon worked for the New Jersey State Department & later at General Motors. 

Pro Softball: In 1977 he played pro softball with former MLB player Curt Bleary. Blefary another Jersey boy, had grown up in Mahwah, New Jersey.

Passing: He passed away in Trenton, New Jersey in April of 2003 at age 61. He was survived by his wife & three children.


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