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 was invited & had a great Spring Training in 1979. 

MLB Career: He 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 Tidewater Tides as the teams main second baseman. In 1984 he started out hitting well & manager Davey Johnson called him up to be a right-handed platoon with Wally Backman. After a hitless pinch hit at bat on May 6th, he hit safely in five straight games. 

In the second game of a July 6th double header against the Reds, he had a two run single then scored a run on Keith Hernandez's base hit in a five run 4th inning. The Mets swept the twin bill, in the first game on a Ron Darling pitched 1-0 shut out.

He contributed to another Mets win, on July 24th, adding two more RBIs in the Mets four run 4th inning in a 9-8 win over the Cardinals, in where Keith Hernandez had the walk off hit. On August 26thm he hit a grand slam HR off Mark Davis, helping the Mets in a 11-6 win over the Giants at Shea.

Overall Chapman, hit .289 in 197 at bats with 3 HRs 13 doubles 23 RBIs & a 3.56 on base %. At second he helped turn 32 double plays, while posting a .979 fielding %.  

In 1985 after 62 games his average fell to .174 into July, he got sent back down to AAA Tidewater, never making it back to the big leagues. He was released at the end of the season. 

In a short three-year Mets 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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