Jun 2, 2021

Kelvin Chapman: Early 1980's Mets Infielder (1979 / 1984-1985)

Kelvin Keith Chapman was born June 2, 1956 in Willits, California. The five foot eleven, second baseman was signed out of Santa Rosa Jr. College as an amateur free agent by the New York Mets in 1975. 

After showing a good glove & batting .306 at A ball Wausau in 1977, he quickly moved up in the Mets organization.

Chapman had a great Spring Training in 1979 & was promoted right past AAA ball stealing the Opening Day Mets second base job from Doug Flynn. In those days the Mets & manager Joe Torre tried anything to get a win. Flynn was an outstanding fielder but a light hitter. 

Unfortunately the Kelvin Chapman experiment at second base lasted only 35 games & 80 at bats; as he hit only.150. Doug Flynn got his job back and went on to earn a gold glove.

Chapman spent the next four years in AAA mostly with the Mets; Tidewater Tides as a the teams second baseman. He started out hitting well there in 1984, and Davey Johnson called him up to be a right handed platoon with Wally Backman.

He hit .289 in 197 at bats with 3 HRs 13 doubles 23 RBIs & a 3.56 on base %. In 1985 his average plummeted to .174, and after 62 games he got sent back down to AAA Tidewater that July.

He never made it back to the big leagues, getting released at the end of the season. In a short three year career (172 games) Chapman was a lifetime .223 hitter, getting 94 hits with 3 HRs, 17 doubles & 34 RBIs, posting a .954 fielding percentage.

Retirement: After baseball he first operated a sporting goods store & batting range in Ukiah, California. He then coached at Mendocino College in his hometown of Willits, California.

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