Jul 16, 2021

Roy McMillan: Former Mets Short Stop (1964-1966) Coach (1973-1976) & Manager (1975)

Roy David McMillan was born on July 17, 1929 in Bonham, Texas. The five foot eleven right handed hitting short stop, was originally signed by the Cincinnati Reds in 1947. After four years in the minors he made his MLB debut in 1951.

Playing Career: McMillan played every game from the 1952 season through the 1954 season, leading the league in games played twice. 

He became one of the best shorts stops in the league, winning the first gold glove given out at short stop in 1957. He won two more the next two seasons.

In 1954 McMillan set a record at the time, turning 129 double plays at short stop. He would go on to lead the league in games played at short as well as in fielding percentage six times each. He led in assists four times, put outs three times and played in two All Star games.

McMillan was so good at short, he was considered in the MVP voting five times. He was typical for shortstops of his era, great glove without much hitting.

From 1955 through 1957 he posted on base percentages over .360 % each year, while drawing over 66 walks each year. 

In 1957 he hit a career high 25 doubles posting a .317 on base percentage. After spending ten years in Cincinnati, he was traded to the Milwaukee Braves for Juan Pizzaro in 1961.

In Milwaukee he hit a career high 12 HRs in 1962 and continued playing some of the best short stop in the league. 

Mets Career: In May 1964, he was traded to the New York Mets in exchange for Jay Hook & a player to be named later. That player turned out to be Wayne Garrett's brother; Adrian Garrett.

On May 9th, 1964 McMillan debuted as a Mets player, going hitless in a 5-1 lossto the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea Stadium. In his next game, he doubled & tripled off former Met, Roger Craig, in a 4-1 Mets win.

McMillan hit his only HR of the season on September 7th, a two run shot off the Colt 45's Claude Raymond, in a 7-5 Mets win. He later brought in another run on a force play, as the Mets took the first game of their double header sweep.

Roy played in 113 games at short stop for the '64 Mets. He turned 64 double plays posting a .976 fielding % (second best in the NL).  

Offensively he hit .211 with 8 doubles, two triples, one HR 25 RBIs & a .246 on base %.

1965: The next year, he led the team in games played (157) at bats (528) & sacrifice hits (16) which as third most in the NL. Overall he hit .242 with one HR 19 doubles & 42 RBIs. 

Defensively at short stop he was second in NL assists (477) third in put outs (248) & second in errors (27) while posting a .964 fielding % while turning 80 double plays. 

On April 20th, his sac bunt scored a run in a scoreless game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Mets went on to win the game 3-2. On May 4th, McMillan singled in the 7th inning, to score Ron Swoboda with the tying run of a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. 

On May 16th, McMillan hit his only HR of the year, coming in the first game of a double header against his old Reds team mates. 

On June 20th, he singled driving in the first two runs of a 3-2 Mets win in the second game of a double header at Dodger Stadium. He closed out June driving in runs in three of the last four games that month.

From August 16th through August 28th, the weak hitting short stop drove in eight runs, while hitting safely in 15 of 18 games. 

1966: On May 29th, McMillan who always seemed to do well against the Dodgers, had a game winning hit in the top of the 9th inning. His single off star reliever Ron Perranoski, scored Hawk Taylor in what was the games winning run. 

On July 20th, he hit the last of his career 68 HRs, coining off Giant's Hall of Famer, Juan Marichal in San Francisco. It came in the top of the 8th inning breaking a 1-1 tie. The Mets went on to win it on Ron Swoboda's 10th inning HR.

He finished his playing career with the Mets in early August 1966 playing 76 games batting .214 with one HR nine doubles one triple & 12 RBIs.

Mentor to Bud Harrelson: McMillan served a huge role in developing the career of Bud Harrelson, serving as his mentor at shortstop. Harrelson learned a lot from McMillan on his way to becoming one of the best shortstops of his generation.

McMillan finished his career with over 2000 games at shortstop, which had only been done four times before, at the time of his retirement.

Career Stats: In a 16 year career he played 2028 games at short stop (18th all time) with 6191 assists (16th all time) 3705 put outs (19th all time). In over 6191 attempts he made only 290 errors (74th all time), turning 1304 double plays as a short stop (8th all time) while posting a .972 fielding percentage (68th all time).

He was a lifetime .243 hitter with 1639 hits 253 doubles 35 triples 68 HRs a .314 on base % 140 sac hits & 665 walks.

Honors: Roy McMillan was inducted to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1971.  

Coaching Career: After his playing days, McMillan managed the Visalia Mets in 1968 & 1969. He then went on to coach for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1972, and filled in as manager for two games when Dave Bristol was fired.

Mets Coach: He came back to the Mets organization and joined Yogi Berra’s coaching staff for the 1973 NL Pennant winning season. He stayed on board through 1975, and served as interim manager when Berra was fired in August 1975.

Mets Interim Manager: McMillan became the sixth manager in Mets history and enjoyed a six game winning streak as soon as he took over as manager. 

The players seem to respond to him quickly. But an 11-16 September ruined any playoff hopes the team had. McMillan went 26-27 in the last 53 games of the season, finishing up in third place.

For the 1976 season, he was replaced at the big league level, by Mets minor league manager Joe Frazier. But McMillan stayed on board with the Mets coaching staff for another season.

He later became a scout for the Montreal Expos. 

Passing: In 1997, McMillan passed away from a heart attack at his home in Bonham, Texas, he was 68.

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