Bruce Berenyi: 1986 World Champion Mets Forgotten Pitcher (1984-1986)

Bruce Michael Berenyi was born August 21, 1954, in Bryan, Ohio. His father was a Hungarian emigrant who arrived in 1938. He married an Ohio woman named Madeline & they went on to have four children.

Bruce Berenyi attended Northeast Missouri State University and once tied a college record by striking out 21 batters in a game. The six-foot two-inch, right hander was the Cincinnati Reds first round draft pick (third pick overall in the secondary draft) in 1976.

He went on to lead the American Association pitchers in strikeouts & ERA, earning him a call up to the Reds in September 1980. 

Big League Career: He went 2-2 in Cincinnati although he had a rather high 7.81 ERA pitching in six games. 

In the 1981 strike shortened season, he spent the two months off at his parents' home in Sherwood Ohio. He said he stayed in shape because there weren't too many distractions in the 1400 populated town. 

Berenyi was 9-6 with 157 strikeouts (6th in the NL) & a 3.50 ERA. He also threw a pair of two hitters that season but had some control issues as well. Berenyi led the league in walks with 77.

On May 24th, in a loss to the NL Champion Los Angeles Dodgers, he threw 15 straight balls. In that game he walked seven batters over 3.3 innings. The next week he came back to toss a one hitter against a strong Montreal Expo team that also made it to the post season. 

The next season Berenyi led the league in losses (18) but pitched better than his record showed. He was best in the league in giving up the fewest HRs, allowing 0.324 HRs per nine innings. Overall, he was 9-18 but posted a solid 3.36 ERA, while striking out 157 batters (9th most in the NL).

In 1983 he once again had a decent ERA (3.86) but had a poor record (9-14). In 186 innings pitched, he allowed 102 walks & gave up 80 earned runs, striking out 151 batters (10th in the NL). 

In June 1984 he was 3-4 with an ERA of 6.00 when he was traded to the New York Mets for Jay Tibbs & Eddie Williams, two players who never suited up in Mets uniforms.

Mets Career: 1984- Berenyi joined the Mets as the senior member of its young pitching staff. He debuted for the Mets, starting a game on June 17th, 1984, taking a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing four runs over seven innings. In his next start he shut out the Expos for seven innings earning his first Mets victory.

In July, he won three straight starts including a seven-inning shutout performance in Atlanta, beating the Braves 7-0. Berenyi was 5-1 from mid-August through the end of the season, pitching into the 7th inning four of those times. 

On August 14th he shut out the Dodgers for seven innings, allowing just three hits.

On August 31st, he shut out the Padres for seven innings in San Diego earning his tenth win. He finished up the 1984 season as the Mets fourth starter behind Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling & Walt Terrell. Berenyi went 9-6 with 134 strike outs 95 walks & a 3.76 ERA. 

1985: Berenyi started the third game of the season on April 12th at Shea Stadium. In that game he pitched seven innings of one hit baseball, allowing no runs earning a win in the 1-0 shutout of the Reds. The only run of the game came on a Gary Carter HR.

 Injuries: He had pitched with shoulder pain throughout his career and in his third start of the 1985 season he had to leave the game in pain. He found out he had a torn rotator cuff and was done for the year. He had the surgery and returned to the Mets for the start of the 1986 Championship season.

Quotes- Bruce Berenyi: "It's hard to keep from having second thoughts. Every now & then when you throw your arm might feel funny. But then the next time it doesn't. Right now, I feel great & the doctor says there's no reason I can't be ready for next season".

1986 Championship Season: On April 29th, he earned his first win since the injury of the previous year. He got the win in relief of Ron Darling in a 10-5 win in Atlanta over the Braves.

He was put back in the rotation by May & on May 24th he started a game in San Diego. Although he allowed four runs the Mets won the game 5-4 giving Berenyi a victory. He lost two starts in July & went 2-2 posting an ERA of 6.35. 

There wasn’t much room for him on the staff with Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, the emergence of Sid Fernandez & Bob Ojeda who the Mets had gotten in the off season.

Berenyi was demoted to AAA Tidewater, where he went 2-6 but never returned to the big leagues. He was released after the World Series. He did sign a deal with the Montreal Expos, but his arm acted up in pain when he pitched forcing him to retire. 

In a seven-year career he was 44-55 with a 4.03 ERA, 607 strikeouts 425 walks in 781 innings pitched in 142 games.

Retirement: After baseball he spent part of the year in a home he had built in Sherwood Ohio & a second residence in North Miami. In Miami he worked on a golf course.

Family: Berenyi's Uncle was former MLB pitcher Ned Garver who pitched from 1948-1961.

Garver pitched for the St. Louis Browns (1948-1952) the Detroit Tigers (1952-1956) & the Kansas City A's (1957-1961). Although he never played for a big winning team he was recognized as a top pitcher, even earning compliments from Ted Williams & Joe Dimaggio.

He won 20 games for the 1951 St. Louis Browns who only won 52 games all season. In his final win of the year to get to twenty, he helped his own cause by hitting a HR. That year he started the All-Star Game at Chicago's Comiskey Park, for the AL Team. In three innings he allowed just one earned run to the NL squad who won the game 4-3.

Garver was a lifetime 129-157 pitcher with a 3.73 ERA. He passed away at age 91 in 2017 at Bryan, Ohio.


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