Walt Terrell: 1980's Mets Pitcher (1982-1984)

Charles Walter Terrell was born on May 11, 1958, in Jeffersonville, Indiana. 

The six-foot two right hander attended Moorehead Sate University, which was the same school NFL quarterback, New York Giants Super Bowl XXV -MVP, Phil Simms came out of.  Simms & Terrell are two of the schools most famous sports alumni.

Terrell was originally drafted by the New York Mets in 1979 but did not sign. He got drafted way down in the 33rd round of the 1980 draft by the Texas Rangers. 

Two years later on April 1st, 1982 he was sent to the New York Mets in  the famous trade that sent a young Ron Darling to New York for the popular Lee Mazzilli.

Mets Career: In 1982 Terrell went 7-8 at AAA Tidewater, getting a September call up, debuting against that years World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards  greeted him with six runs over six innings in his first start. 

He went 0-3 that month, taking losses in every game he appeared in. 

1983: Terrell was 10-1 with a 3.12 ERA at AAA Tidewater & was the International League Pitcher of the Year.

Walt got called up on June 20th, 1983 & earned his first MLB win beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 at Shea Stadium. From there Terrell had four straight losing decisions, although he did not get much run support.

On July 17th, he broke the losing streak & beat the Astros in the Astrodome, allowing just one run on four hits in six innings of work.  

Multi HR Game:
On August 6th, in a 4-1 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Terrell hit two HRs off Hall of Fame pitcher, Ferguson Jenkins. He drove in all four Mets runs to help his own cause in the win earning his third win of the year.

On August 12th, he beat Jenkins & the Cubs again, this time at Shea Stadium, striking out seven batters in a 2-0 four hit shutout. He went 0-2 with a sacrifice in the game.

Third HR of the Year: On August 23rd, Terrell hit another HR & a three run shot off the Padres Gary Lucas in San Diego. He also pitched his third complete game in the 8-3 Mets victory. 

On September 13th, Walt beat the Phillies 5-1 in Philadelphia. He gave up one run, but it was unearned, in another complete game win.

On the last day of the season, he threw his second shutout, a four hitter, beating Charlie Lea & the Montreal Expos 1-0 in the first game of a double header. 

Terrell finished 1983 at .500, going 8-8 with a 3.57 ERA, striking out 59 batters walking 55 in 133 innings pitched in 21 games.

1984: As phenom Dwight Gooden was stealing the show, and the Mets staff was developing to one of baseball’s best, Terrell struggled, going 11-12. 

He made his first start in the third game of the season, pitching a complete game one run, four hit shutout at Houston. In his second start he went into the 8th inning in Atlanta. He allowed just one run, earning his second win.

After starting out 3-1 he lost four straight decisions in May. On June 5th, he pitched a 3-0 shut out at Pittsburgh, beating Jose DeLeon. On June 15th, he shut out the Cardinals in St. Louis for seven innings, earning another win. He got to 7-7 by the All-Star break & lowered his ERA to a very good 3.43. 

From July 29th to the end of the year, he pitched into the 8th inning five times in 13 starts. In August he pitched two fine games against the Dodgers, allowing just two runs in 15 innings of work, combined, earning a win & a no decision. 

On August 3rd, he had a complete game five hitter, beating the Pirates in Pittsburgh 4-1. He closed out his season with a win at Montreal where he went eight innings, allowing two runs & struck out five.

Although he led the 1984 staff in starts (33) he also led the club in losses (12) hits (232) & runs (99). His four hits batsman was tenth in the NL. He allowed 16 HRs as well. Overall he was 11-12 with a 3.52 ERA.

HoJo Trade: At the end of the year, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Howard Johnson. It turned out to be a great trade for the Mets & it worked well for the Tigers too. 

Mets Career Stats: In His Mets career he was 19-23 with a 3.53 ERA, he struck out 181 batters walked 149 in 369 innings pitched in 57 appearances.

Post Mets Career: Terrell was a 15-game winner for manager Sparky Anderson & the Detroit Tigers in both 1985 & 1986, second on the staff in wins to Jack Morris both times. Terrell made 34 starts both seasons, pitching 217 innings or more each season. He struck out 130 batters in 1985, although he yielded over 98 runs & 90 walks in ach season. 

On August 20th, 1986, at Tiger Stadium, he had a no hitter going against the California Angels, with two outs in the 9th inning.  But the Wally Joyner hit a double & spoiled the bid. Terrell finished the night with a one hit shutout. 

In 1987, he was second on the A.L. Eastern Champions Tiger staff, to Jack Morris once again, winning a career high 17 games (17-10) (8th in the league in wins). Terrell had ten complete games, while posting career highs in strike outs (143) winning % (.630) & innings (244). 

1987 Post Season-ALCS: In the ALCS against the Minnesota Twins, he started Game #3 allowing six runs over 6.1 innings earning a no decision, although Detroit won the game 7-6. 

Terrell was in the top ten in shutouts in the A.L. every season from 1985-1987. He also gave up 30 HRs for three straight years in Detroit.

In 1988 he fell to a 7-16 record, for the second place Tigers, although his ERA was it’s lowest in three years (3.97). At the end of the year he was traded to the San Diego Padres for Keith Moreland & Chris Brown. 

Final Pitching Years: In 1989 Terrell lost a major league leading 18 games pitching for two teams. In San Diego he lost 13 games (5-13) then in late July he was traded to the A.L. NY team in exchange for Mike Pagliarulo. There he lost five more games (6-5) for the fifth-place club.

In 1990 Terrell signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates, going 2-7 before getting released in July. He was picked back up by Detroit pitching there for three more seasons (1990-1992) going 25-28, finishing out his career. 

In 1991 he won 12 games (12-14) but also led the league in hits allowed (257). In his last season, as he went 7-10 for the with a 5.20 ERA as a starter & reliever.

Career Stats: Terrell finished his 11-year career at 111-124 with 929 strike outs & 748 walks in 1986 innings pitched, in 321 appearances (321 starts) posting a 4.22 ERA. 

In 192 at bats he hit .120 with 3 HRs 5 doubles & 10 RBIs.

Honors: Terrell was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. Terrell was a head coach for the summer baseball Kentucky Colonels, from 1995 through 2017.

Family: Walt & his wife Karen were married in 1984, together they have three children- Ryan, Michael & Erin.


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