Jack Heidemann: Mid Seventies Mets Infielder (1975 - 1976)

 Jack Seale Heidemann was born July 11, 1949, in Brenham Texas. The six-foot infielder was the first-round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians (the 11th pick overall) in 1967.

Heidemann batted .305 at A ball & played a solid infield. 

Cleveland Indians Career: He made it to the big leagues as the Indians starting shortstop by 1970. He got a hit in his first MLB at bat, but only batted .211 on the season.

He posted a .961 fielding % making 23 errors at short stop (2nd most in the AL) while turning 79 double plays. He led the league in sac flies (10) hitting 14 doubles with 37 RBIs. He hit 6 HRs & was the only starting Indian not to hit double figures in HRs.

In 1971 he improved to the fourth highest fielding percentage at shortstop (.977) but his season was cut short when he suffered a concussion. 

In a game against the White Sox, future Mets coach Tom McGraw hit a pop fly to shallow left field. Heidemann, Vada Pinson and John Lowenstein all went for the ball, colliding in the outfield. The ball rolled away & McCraw had himself an inside the park HR.

By 1972 Heidemann lost his starting job to Frank Duffy. He was traded to the World Champion Oakland A’s, along with Ray Fosse in exchange for Dave Duncan & George Hendrick.  Both Hendrick & Duncan had fallen into bad terms with A's owner Charlie Finley & were banished to Cleveland. 

Heidemann never played in the big leagues for Oakland, spending the 1973 season at AAA Tucson, batting .283.

Heidemann eventually had his contract sold back to the Cleveland Indians.

In 1974 after batting .091 in 12 games he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Luis Alvarado and Ed Crosby. There he hit a career best .271 in 47 games. At the end of the year was traded to the New York Mets along with Mike Vail for shortstop Teddy Martinez.

Mets Career: Heidemann had a short career with the Mets, mostly playing for an injured Bud Harrelson who would play in just 34 games that year. Heidemann would back up Mike Phillips at short as well as play some third & second base. Heidemann had a good glove but didn't hit much.

1975: Heidemann debuted in the second game of the season, when Yogi Berra called upon him to pinch run for Ed Kranepool. He stayed in the game & got a hit in his first Mets at bat, coming off the Phillies; Ron Schueler.

On April 17th, in his third game with the Mets, he had the biggest day of his career at the plate, which fittingly came against his old St. Louis Cardinal teammates in a 14-7 Mets win. 

In his first at bat, he drew a bases loaded walk, then scored on Jerry Koosman's base hit, in the Mets six run first inning. He later doubled, clearing the bases scoring Rusty Staub, John Milner & Wayne Garrett, giving him a four RBI game.

Three days later Heidemann hit his only Mets career HR, it came off the Cubs Ken Frailing in an 8-6 Met win. It was Heidemann's his first HR since 1970. 

On July 20th, he tripled off the Astros Dave Roberts, bringing home two runs in a 10-9 Mets win at Shea.

In August he had another multi-RBI game in a 4-3 Mets loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In early September, he drove in runs in three straight games, having a three-hit game in Pittsburgh on September 11th, in a 7-0 Jerry Koosman shut out. 

Overall, in 61 games, for the third place Mets, Heidemann would hit .214 with one HR, four doubles & 16 RBIs.

1976: Heidemann began the bicentennial year at AAA Tidewater where he hit .356 getting a call back up that June. 

After only five games he was batting .083 and the Mets traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers for minor leaguer Tom Deidel. 

Post Mets Career: Heidemann played behind veteran Don Money at third base & 21-year Robin Yount at short.

In 1976 he hit the final HR of his career, coming off the Red Sox Bill Lee. He batted .219 in 69 games for the Brewers. 

In 1977 he played just five games with the Brewers, before getting sent down in early May. In 1978 he went to the Seattle Mariners organization playing in the minors there for two years.

Career Stats: In his eight-season career Heidemann hit .211 with 231 hits 9 HRs 27 doubles 4 triples a .254 on base % & 75 RBIs.

On the field he posted a .965 fielding %, making 42 errors in 1199 chances. He played 322 games at short, 51 games at third, 28 at second & one game at first base.

Family: Jack & his first wife Carol had four children together. 

Retirement: After baseball he retired to Tempe, Arizona. There he became a licensed real estate agent for over thirty years until his retirement from that job. 

Heidemann is part of the MLB Arizona alumni & still speaks as well as coaches at baseball events.


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