Remembering Jim McAndrew: 1969 World Champion & 1973 NL Champion Mets Pitcher (1968-1973)

James Clement McAndrew was born on January 11, 1944, on a farm at Lost Nation, Iowa. The six-foot two right hander, excelled in both basketball & baseball in high school.

After suffering a knee injury while playing basketball, he switched full time to baseball. McAndrew attended the University of Iowa where he was spotted by New York Mets scouts, who were there to watch first round draft pick Steve Arlin pitch against McAndrew.

The Mets ended up drafting McAndrew in the 11th round of the inaugural MLB draft of 1965, one round after Nolan Ryan was selected. He earned a degree in psychology at college, married his high school sweetheart Lynn & had a son right away. 

At first, he thought of quitting baseball when he didn’t reach the majors instantly, but his wife Lynn told him to try to stick it out.

McAndrew then credits former Mets GM Bob Scheffing for helping coach him when Scheffing was still director of player development. 

In the minors McAndrew was pitching relief out of the bullpen until Whitey Herzog, the new Director of Player Development ordered his manager to make him a starter. That's the point where McAndrew's career took off as he excelled as a starter.

In 1967 McAndrew was 10-8 with a 1.47 ERA at AA Williamsport striking out 120 batters in 153 innings. 

In 1968 at AAA Jacksonville, he was 8-3 with a 2.54 ERA striking out 117 batters in 117 innings. 

MLB -Mets Career: That July the Mets called him up for an emergency start to fill in a spot starting a game in a double header against the St. Louis Cardinals. 

McAndrew was a good pitcher who stayed with the Mets for six years but never became a regular starter due to the quality of pitching the Mets had during that period. 

McAndrew got his first career start going up against that years Cy Young winner, St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer; Bob Gibson. In his MLB debut McAndrew only allowed one run over six innings but the Mets were shut out by Gibson, in a 2-0 loss.

McAndrew was supposed to go back to AAA Jacksonville, but when Nolan Ryan was called away for military duty, he remained on the staff.

He suffered bad luck right off the bat, starting out 0-5 as the Mets got shut out four times in his first seven starts. On August 4th n his second start, Mike Kekich of the Los Angeles Dodgers threw a one hit 2-0 shutout over the Mets at Dodger Stadium.

Next, the San Francisco Giants Bob Bolin tossed a four-hit shutout over the Mets at Candlestick Park.

On August 17th, in his Shea Stadium debut, the Houston Astros Don Wilson & John Buzhardt combined for another shut out, putting McAndrew at 0-4 even though he didn’t allow more than two runs in any of his outings. He went to 0-5 when the Giants & Juan Marichal beat the Mets 13-3 at Shea Stadium.

On August 26th, he finally got his first win in St. Louis, beating Hall of Famer Steve Carlton but had to throw a five hit shutout to get a 1-0 win.

After two straight losses, he won his last three decisions of the season. On September 11th at Wrigley Field in Chicago, McAndrew pitched 8.2 innings of shut ball. He was relieved after a base hit to Don Kessinger & Glen Beckert reaching on an error. Bill Short & Cal Koonce closed out the 1-0 over Fergie Jenkins. Jerry Grote's RBI double was the only run of the game.

On September 17th, McAndrew pitched a two hit, two run complete game against Ken Holtzman & the Chicago Cubs. 

He closed out the year with a fantastic 2.28 ERA although he had just a 4-7 record due to lack of run support. McAndrew pitched in 12 games striking out 46 batters walking 17 in 79 innings of work.

1969 Mets Championship Season: In Spring Training 1969 he pitched well enough to make a very talented staff & impressed Gil Hodges enough to get the start in the second game of the season. 

His bad luck troubles continued at the start of the season, mostly due to arm & finger problems. He pitched in both a starting & relief role.

He began the year at 0-2, not getting his first win until June 24th. That game he pitched eight innings for a combined two hit shutout with Ron Taylor in a 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium. In the top of the 6th inning, he drove in two runs with a single off Ray Washburn.

In his next start he threw a complete game victory, allowing two runs on just three hits in a 10-2 win in St. Louis. 

In his last two starts, he had only allowed two earned runs over 17 innings. In July he made two starts & two relief appearances taking a loss.

On August 2nd, he pitched seven shutout innings, in a 1-0 win over Ron Reed & the Braves at Shea. Cleon Jones provided the only run with an RBI single. In his next two games he took losses including a shut out by the Astros Tom Griffin & Fred Gladding. 

At the end of August, he threw three straight complete games, while matching a club record at the time tossing 23 scoreless innings. On August 20th, he threw a two-hit shutout, striking out six San Diego Padres at Shea Stadium. On August 26th in San Diego, he blanked the friars on a five hitter & then in San Francisco later in the week, he got no decision after allowing just two runs over nine innings. 

On September 10th, the Mets were tied for first place with the Chicago Cubs, when McAndrew got the start in the second game of a doubleheader with the Montreal Expos. He pitched 11 innings allowing just two runs on four hits, striking out seven Expos, when Ken Boswell’s RBI single won it in the 11th inning. In the month he was 0-2 with two no decisions. 

McAndrew finished the year at 6-7 with a 3.47 ERA, 90 strikeouts & 44 walks in 135 innings pitched. He made 21 starts in 27 games. At the bat he batted .135 going 5-37 with a double & three RBIs. 

1969 Post Season: Due to the strong Mets staff, he did not pitch in the post season as the Mets won the World Series.

After the Championship: In 1970 he got the start in the third game of the season taking a loss in St. Louis allowing five runs to the Cardinals. On April 19th he earned the victory in the second game of a double header with the Phillies. In May he lost two starts & a relief appearance falling to 1-4 on the year.

On June 8th he threw a five-hit shutout in Houston & then won a game in Cincinnati where he gave up just one run to the Big Red Machine. On June 23rd, e came in relief in the 10th inning & earned his first save of the year. He then lost four of his next five starts.

On July 21st, McAndrew pitched nine shutout innings in San Diego. His opponent that day was the Padres Clay Kirby who had a no hitter going through eight innings. The Padre Manager, Preston Gomez lifted Kirby for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 8th. In the 9th the Mets scored three runs off reliever Jack Baldschun earning McAndrew the win.

That season when he pitched well, he suffered from lack of run support, but other times he struggled due to his own poor pitching. 

From mid-August through the end of the season, he pitched four complete games during a course of six games, allowing just six runs over 51 innings to go 4-0. He finished out the season losing three straight, giving up at least two runs each time.

He finished the year 10-14 leading the club in losses (14) & shut outs (3) pitching in 32 games. He posted a 3.56 ERA with 111 strike outs in 184 innings, walking just 38 batters to give him one of the league’s best strikeouts to walk ratios.

1971: He started out May with a loss going 0-1, where he gave up six earned runs in 4.2 innings to the Cubs at Wrigley. 

 In early May, he was knocked out cold, while shagging fly balls in the outfield as he collided with pitcher Gary Gentry. McAndrew awoke in a hospital with stitches in his head, unaware of what had happened before regaining his senses. 

He was out almost three weeks returning on June 2nd. The injury affected his pitching as well. McAndrew would not earn another win until September 4th pitching mostly in relief.

He was back in the rotation on August 15th & gave up four runs taking losses in two straight starts. On September 4th the long-awaited win came against the Phillies at the Vet, where he struck out a season high eight batters. 

He ended the year 2-5 with a 4.38 ERA, he struck out 42 batters & walked 32, allowing 10 HRs in 90 innings pitched. He made ten starts in 24 appearances.  The Mets finished third 83-79 that season.

1972: After the tragic passing of Gil Hodges just before the start of the 1972 season, new manager Yogi Berra put McAndrew back in the bullpen, working as a reliever. 

McAndrew earned a relief win on April 23rd, when Jim Beauchamp won the game in the 12th inning with a walk off single.

McAndrew would pitch well enough to get back in the rotation by mid-May. He took a loss in his first start giving up six runs in six innings to the Dodgers.

After earning a save, he won four straight starts from May into June, with two complete games, while lowering his ERA to 2.14.

At the All-Star break McAndrew was 6-3 with a 2.99 ERA but did not pitch again until July 30th due to the fact Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman Gary Gentry & rookie of the year, Jon Matlack were all pitching so well.

When he got the ball again, he won three straight games to start off August, including a three hit one run victory over the Chicago Cubs on August 4th, at Shea Stadium. In August he was 4-2 entering September 10-5.

On September 12th he won a 4-3 game at Philadelphia that ended being his last win for the year, as he lost his last three decisions. The Mets finished in third place Mets who were 83-73.

McAndrew still finished with his best overall season going 11-8, with a 2.80 ERA. He struck out 81 batters & walked 38 while giving up 12 HRs pitching in 160 innings in 28 games (23 starts).

1973 Mets Pennant Season: McAndrew started out the season as a starter, taking a loss to the Phillies giving up four runs in 5.1 innings. In his next start he didn't get out of the 1st inning, serving up five runs to the Cubs. McAndrew then earned wins in Montreal & at home at Shea over Houston, finishing April at 2-2. 

On May 13th he won a game at Pittsburgh, which turned out to be his last winning decision on the year. A week later he came into an extra inning game in the 19th inning in Los Angeles. The Mets came up with four runs in the top of the 19th & McAndrew closed out the game, earning a save.

On June 18th, he gave up four runs in Philly & then five runs to the Phillies at Shea on June 28th, taking losses in both games. By July 8th he fell to 3-7 with a 5.83 ERA, then was back in the bullpen pitching in relief.

He did get one start on August 5th, coming in the second game of a double header with the Cardinals. In five innings he gave up four runs & 12 hits, taking a loss.

By that point Tug McGraw had secured the Met bullpen & the starters were all healthy while pitching their best. McAndrew only saw action in five more games through the end of the year.

In the Mets 1973 NL Pennant year he went 3-8 with a 5.89 ERA. He struck out 38 batters & walked 31 in 80 innings of work 23 games (12 starts). He threw four complete games and posted one save.

1973- Post Season: Although he was on the postseason roster, he didn’t see any action. Even though he was on two Mets World Series teams, McAndrew never pitched in a single post season game. 

In December of 1973, his run in New York was over, McAndrew was traded to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Steve Simpson.

McAndrew will always be remembered as a Met pitching in the shadows of some great pitchers during some good old days.

Mets Career Stats: In six seasons as a Met, he was 36-49 with four saves & a 3.54 ERA. He struck out 424 batters with 213 walks in 729.2 innings of work. He made 146 appearances with 105 starts. He batted .098 going 19-194 with six doubles & 9 RBIs.

Post Mets Career: In Spring Training 1974 he injured his knee, he opted out of surgery &then injured his ribs. McAndrew pitched in just 15 games going 1-4 in San Diego getting released that June ending his seven-year career. 

Career Stats: In his seven-year career he was 37-53 lifetime, with four saves, six shut outs & twenty complete games. He posted a 3.65 ERA while striking out 424 batters & walking 213 batters in 771 innings, in 161 games with 110 starts. 

Retirement: After baseball McAndrew worked as a sales manager in the coal industry for over 25 years. He worked out of Chicago, St. Louis & the Denver areas. 

Family: He & his wife Lynn retired to Phoenix Arizona after raising their four children.

His son Jamie pitched two years for the Milwaukee Brewers going 3-4 lifetime with a 5.98 ERA in
15 games.

Honors: The always smiling McAndrew was on hand for the 20th anniversary of the 1973 Mets Pennant team in 1993. He was also at the closing ceremonies of Shea Stadium in 2008.

McAndrew attended the 40th anniversary of the 1969 Championship team at Citi Field in 2009. He returned for the 50th Anniversary of the 1969 Amazing Mets in 2019 as well.

Passing: On March 14th, 2024, McAndrew passed away in Scottsdale, Arizona after a brief illness, he was 80 years old.


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