John Sullivan: 1960's New Jersey Born Mets Reserve Catcher (1967)

John Peter Sullivan
was born January 3, 1941, in Somerville, New Jersey. The six-foot-tall catcher graduated from Bernardsville, High School, threw right-handed but hit left-handed.


He was signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1959 and showed some power hitting 13 HRs while batting .322 in the New York / Penn. League. He played at AAA Syracuse appearing in a handful of games in 1963 /1964.

MLB Career: By 1965 he was the Tigers Opening Day catcher due to injury to Bill Freehan. Sully eventually got his first big league hit, which was a HR against the Kansas City A's. Soon regular catcher Bill Freehan took over the position, remaining as the team's main catcher until 1976 with ten All Star appearances.

Sullivan hit two HRs that season, with a career high 11 RBIs, and .267 average, as the backup catcher to Freehan in 34 games. 

Mets Career: After spending the next year in the minors, he was drafted away by the New York Mets in the 1966 Rule 5 draft.

In 1967 Sullivan served as the primary backup to Jerry Grote in his first full season behind the plate appearing in 65 games.

Walk Off Hit: On May 2nd, in a game against the San Francisco Giants, Sullivan came in to pinch hit of a tie game in the bottom of the 12th inning. The Mets had just tied the game when Ed Kranepool tripled home Al Luplow. Sullivan singled off Frank Lizy scoring Cleon Jomes who had come in to run for Kranepool.

He would not drive in another run until a late July West Coast Road trip. In that series he got five of his six RBIs of the season, with two multi-hit games. On July 27th he singled off Don Drysdale to bring home Bob Johnson in the 7-6 Mets loss.

On the year he batted .218 with no HRs, five doubles and six RBIs in 147 at bats.

1968: The next year the Mets brought up Duffy Dyer as backup catcher & also acquired J.C. Martin ending Sullivan's brief stint in New York. 

Post Mets Career: His contract was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies, where he played in 12 games for the 1968 season. 

He never made the big leagues again, going to the Baltimore Orioles & Kansas City Royals organizations, playing through 1972.

Retirement: After his playing days, he managed in the Royals farm system from 1973-1979. He then coached in the big leagues with the Kansas City Royals (1979) Atlanta Braves (1980-1981). 

He was brought to Toronto y Bobby Cox after his first stint in Atlanta, he remained with the Blue Jays for a dozen seasons (1982-1993) winning back-to-back World Series in Toronto (1992 & 1993).

Trivia: Sullivan caught Joe Carter's walk off World Series Game #6 HR in the Jays bullpen. He
announced his retirement after the game & winning the second championship.

Sullivan resides in Dansville, New York in western New York state.

In 2012 an imposter received an invitation to a Braves alumni weekend by accident. The imposter attended the event only to be exposed by Bobby Cox & others. The real Sullivan was notified & got a laugh out of it.

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