Todd Zeile: 2000 NL Champion Mets First Baseman & SNY Studio Analyst

Todd Edward Zeile was born September 9th, 1964, in Van Nuys, California. The same night Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game at Dodger Stadium, some 17 miles away.

Zeile is a direct descendant of John Adams, the second President of the United States & John Quincy Adams the sixth President of the United States.

Zeile's father said he was in attendance at the very first game at Dodger Stadium. He was also a semi pro baseball player, who once lived in his car because times were so rough. He later became a big success heading an aeronautic company.

His mother Sammee Spooner Zeile was a newspaper editor. Todd had one brother who was also a star athlete.

UCLA: Todd was first offered a contract by the Kansas City Royals but decided to go to UCLA instead. Zeile was a star catcher for the UCLA Bruins winning the 1986 PAC 10 Southern Division title, on a team that featured ten future MLB players.

He was the first player drafted out of that group; he was a junior getting selected in the second round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1986. 

He hit .292 with 25 HRs &106 RBIs at A ball Springfield in 1987. From there he was promoted to AA Arkansas in 1988 where he hit 19 HRs with 75 RBIs. In 1989 he hit .289 with 19 HRs & 89 RBIs at AAA Louisville, getting him a promotion to the Cardinals big league club.

MLB Career: Zeile debuted during a Cards double header at Riverfront Stadium, pinch hitting & grounding out against the Reds. Two days later he hit his first career HR, coming off the Red's Tom Leary. That season the Cards main catcher was Tony Pena, the next season they let him go so Zeile could take over the position.

In his first full season in 1990, he hit 15 HRs with 25 doubles, & 57 RBIs, coming in 6th in the Rookie of the Year voting.  

At catcher he threw out 43 base runners trying to steal (second in the NL) but he did allow 93 basses stolen &had ten passed balls (4th most in the NL). 
The Cards finished last that year, as long-time manager from their hey days a few years earlier Whitey Herzog resigned. Red Schoendienst took over briefly before Joe Torre arrived.

He spent two seasons behind the plate in St. Louis before the team wanted to make room for Tom Pagnozzi. At the time, St. Louis manager Joe Torre told Zeile his career would last longer if he moved to third base. Torre had also started his career out at the catcher's position.

At first Zeile wasn’t too happy about the move, and it was a tough adjustment for him. He would make over 20 errors in a season six different times, and make the most errors of any player in the 1990’s.

In 1992 he struggled & even spent some time in the minor leagues. He had one of his best offensive seasons in 1993 hitting 17 HRs with 36 doubles (10th in the NL) 85 walks (7th in the NL) batting .277 with a .352 on base %. He drove in in a career high 103 runs (7th in the league) & was the first Cardinal since Toree to do so since 1971.

Player of the Week: That season from July 23rd to August 1st he had 15 hits with hit 5 HRs
doubles & 18 RBIs winning the Player of the Week award. That week he hit a grand slam HR off the Phillies Terry Mulholland. 

He later drove in 22 runs in the last month of September. 

In 1994 he followed up, hitting 19 HRs with 75 RBIs batting .267 in the strike shortened season. Zeile was also the Cardinals player rep.  That year the Northridge Earthquake badly damaged his home in Valencia. He, his wife & six-week-old son had to live with his in-laws. Shortly afterward, his son had to be hospitalized with a respiratory illness.

 In June 1995, after seven seasons with St. Louis, The Cards & Zeile had grown unhappy with each other. The Cards felt he was too laid back, something Whitey Herzog had accused him of years back. GM Walt Jocketty jumped on that band wagon, saying his approach to the game was not aggressive. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Mike Morgan.

He only hit .227 in Chicago & at the end of the season was granted free agency. He signed a one year deal with a rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies team. At the end of August, he had 20 HRs with 80 RBIs   batting .268 & was traded along with Pete Incaviglia, to the contending Baltimore Orioles, in exchange for Garrett Stephenson. In 29 games with the wild card Baltimore Orioles, he hit 5 HRs with 29 RBIs and got to his first post season. 

1996 Post Season:
 After going 5-19 in the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians he had a fantastic ALCS batting .384 with 3 HRs & 5 RBIs. Zeile hit a two run HR off David Cone in New York in the Orioles Game #2 win. In Game #3 he homered off Jimmy Key in the O's loss in Baltimore. Zeile homered in the final Game #5 loss as well, that one off Andy Pettitte.

Dodgers: After the playoffs he signed as a free agent with the Dodgers in his hometown of Los Angeles. He grew up a Dodger fan with Steve Garvey being one of his favorite players. The Dodgers brought him on board with a three-year deal, hoping he could solve their first baseman issues.

In 1997, He played in 160 games with the Dodgers hitting a career high 31 HRs with 17 doubles
while driving in 90 runs at Chavez Ravine’s Dodger Stadium. He batted .268 striking out over 100 times. 

Mike Piazza Trade: The next season he found himself in the middle of a blockbuster deal that sent him & Mike Piazza to the Florida Marlins for Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Jim Eisenreich, Charles Johnson and Manuel Barrios. There was an understanding that these players would also soon be dealt from Florida.

Zeile always on the move, now just two months later, after 66 games, was sent to the Texas Rangers for two minor leaguers.  The Rangers also acquired Royce Clayton & Todd Stottlemyer which helped them overtake the Angels in the Western Division. Overall, in 1998 Zeile batted .276 with three teams on the season.

1998 Post Season-NLDS: Zeile got to his second post season with the Rangers batting .333 in three ALDS games. 

He helped Texas win their division the next season as well, batting .293 with 24 HRs & 98 RBIs. 

1999 Post Season-NLDS: But in this year's ALDS appearance he batted just .100 (1-10). Texas once again lost t the AL New York club.

In December of 1999 he signed a three-year $18 million deal with the New York Mets. He replaced the departed John Olerud at first base. Olerud did not want to move his children to New York, choosing to live in Washington State, signing with the Seattle Mariners.

Mets Playing Career: Todd Zeile became a popular player right away in New York as he jumped on board for the 2000 NL Champion Mets season. In the lineup he would usually bat behind Mike Piazza & Robin Ventura.

Zeile debuted as a Met on Opening Day at the Tokyo Dome, going 0-4 in the Mets loss to the Chicago Cubs. On April 2nd, at Opening Day at Shea, he delivered a 7th inning base off Sterling Hitchcock hit tying up the game against the San Diego Pades. In the 8th, Derek Bell would hit a solo HR that was the Mets game winner.

On April 20th Zeile had another 7th inning base hit that tied a game up. This one, a two-run single, coming off Milwaukee's David Weathers. Melvin Mora's walk off 10th inning HR won it for the Mets.

In April, he closed out the month hitting safely in 15 of 16 games getting his average up to the .300 mark. Although it took him until April 30th, to hit his first HR, it came in a 14-10 win at Colorado.

The next day he homered in San Francisco in a Mets loss. On May 11th, he hit a solo HR & drove in two runs leading t the Mets 3-2 win at Pittsburgh. Al Leiter pitched a complete game win that evening.  Overall in May Zeile hit eight HRs, while driving in 16 runs & had eight multiple hit games.

On May 27th, Zeile had his biggest run production day of the season, as he hit a pair of HRs while driving in five runs in an 18-8 Mets win at St. Louis. He homered the next day as well, as the Mets swept the series in St. Louis.

In June he had a 13-game hitting streak, in which he drove in ten runs. During that month he hit safely in 19 out of 25 games bringing his average back up to the .300 level.

On Friday June 2nd, he hit a three run HR in the 6th inning, off Tampa's Rick White, to lead New York to a 5-3 inter league win over the Rays. 

 
In the first ten days of June, he drove in twelve runs with three multi-RBI games in which he drove in three runs each time. 

In a series against the Orioles at Shea, he drove in three runs in back-to-back games, helping the Mets in both games as they took two of three in the series. He then drove in a run in the first two games of the subway series in the Bronx.

That summer he reached a personal milestone hitting his 200th career HR. 

On June 24th, he hit an 8th inning two run double, off the Pirates Rich Loiselle, breaking an 8-8 tie leading the Mets to the 10-8 win at Shea. As the Mets closed out the month, with a big four game series in which they split with the rival Braves, Zeile had five hits with a HR & RBI's in three of the four games.

On July 9th at Shea, the day after Mike Piazza was injured by a Roger Clemmens pitch to the head, Zeile hit a HR off Andy Pettitte, in the 2-0 subway series Mets win. Mike Hampton (7 innings) & Armando Benitez combined on the six-hit shutout.

In the first game of a July 27th twin bill at Shea, against Montreal, Zeile tied up the game with an 8th inning single off the Expos Scott Strickland. Matt Franco then singled home what was the game winning run.

On August 12th, with the Mets down 2-1, Zeile doubled in two runs off San Francisco's Felix Rodriguez in the bottom of the 7th inning, leading to a 3-2 victory. Although he hadn't homered in almost a month, on August 15th, in the second game of a double header, his 8th inning blast off the Rockies Bobby Chouinard at Shea Stadium, broke a 3-3 tie & was the game winner. Two days later he hit another as the Mets took two of three from the Rockies.

On August 27th, Todd's bottom of the 7th inning ground out, scored Edgardo Alfonzo with the tie
breaking run, giving Mike Hampton victory #13. 

On September 5th, in Cincinnati Zeile came to bat in the top of the 10th, a 2-2 game. He hit his 18th HR of the year, leading the Mets to the 3-2 win, keeping them five games up in the wild card lead.

On September 20th he hit a two run HR off Tom Glavine, leading the Mets past the Braves 6-3 at Turner Field. He also hit a HR the next day, his 22nd of the year but the Mets took a loss at Philadelphia. During the week of September 16th through the 24th he hit four HRs while driving in six runs.

 Zeile ended the year playing in 153 games, batting .268 with 22 HRs 36 doubles 3 triples 74 walks, a .356 on base % & 74 RBIs. Although he made ten errors (4th in the NL) at first base, he posted a .992 fielding % playing a solid defense.

Post Season- 2000 NLCS: Zeile had a horrible NLDS Series where he was 1-14 (.071) against the San Francisco Giants. He turned it around having a good NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals.

In Game #1, he led off the top of the 9th inning with a HR off the Cards, Mike James in the Mets 6-2 victory in St. Louis. 

In Game #2 at Busch Stadium, Zeile had two hits with two RBIs. In the 8th inning, Edgardo Alfonzo put the Mets ahead with an RBI single scoring Timo Perez. With two on, Zeile singled off Dave Veres making it 5-3 Mets. The Cards tied it off John Franco & Turk Wendell but went on to win it on Jay Payton's 9th inning RBI single.

He collected two hits in Game #3 at Shea Stadium. In Game #4 he drove in two runs with a 2nd inning double off Darryl Kile, the Mets went on to a 10-6 win.

In Game #5 in front of a wild Shea Stadium sellout crowd, Zeile came to bat in the 4th inning with the bases loaded facing the Cards, Pat Hentgen. He doubled clearing the bases, as Timo Perez, Mike Piazza & Robin Ventura all crossed the plate, putting the Mets up 6-0. They went on to a 7-0 win, behind Mike Hampton's shut out, clinching their first NL Pennant since 1986. 

Mets Post Season Record: Zeile set a Mets NLCS record at that time, by driving in eight runs in the championship series. Overall, he hit .368 (7-19) in the series, with three doubles & two walks.

2000 World Series: In Game #1 of the 2000 World Series, Zeile just missed a HR in the 6th inning, as the ball hit the top of the wall & bounced back in the park. 

The Mets base runner Timo Perez made a crucial error, by watching the ball for too long then failing to see his third base coach. Perez got thrown out at home plate in a game changing moment. The run would have probably won the game, since it had to go to extra innings. The play could have turned the Series around right from the start. 

In the 6-5 Game #2 loss, Zeile gathered two more hits going 2-4.

World Series Game #3 Hit: As the Series moved across town to Shea Stadium, Todd had a big Game #3. In the bottom of the 6th inning, Zeile doubled to left field off Orlando Hernandez, bringing home Mike Piazza to tie up the game at two

In the 8th inning, with one out and the score still tied, Zeile singled off Hernandez. He then scored the go-ahead run-when Benny Agbayani doubled to left. The Mets went on to win the game 4-2. 

Overall, in the 2000 Subway, World Series Zeile hit .400 going 8-20 with two doubles a walk and an RBI.

In his time in New York, Zeile rented an apartment in Greenwich Village & often took the subway to games. 

Quotes- Todd Zeile: "I enjoy the city. I enjoy the theater. I enjoy the museums. I enjoy the cultural diversity. It's exactly what I hope for".

After the Pennant: In 2001 Zeile started out the first two weeks of the season, in a slump. He then drove in 12 runs in the last two weeks of April, highlighted by a three RBI Day in Montreal where he also hit a HR leading the Mets to a 4-0 win.

On the road in a three-game series at Cincinnati, he drove in six runs while collecting six hits in the series.


But Todd didn't hit a HR for a month, until May 25th, where he hit at three run HR against the Florida Marlins in a 4-3 Mets win.

 Toward the end of June, he drove in runs in five of seven games. On June 29th, in Atlanta he drove in all three Mets runs, including a two-run triple, beating Jason Marquis & the Braves 3-1.

On July 7th, Kevin Appier shut out the AL New York team to salvage a win in the subway series, in the Bronx. Zeile drove in one of the three Mets runs in the 3-0 win. On July 16th, Steve Trachsel shut out Toronto for eight innings, Zeile collected an RBI double in the 3-0 Mets win.

That week he drove in runs in three straight games. But Todd would only hit one HR in the month of July & one in the month of August. The Mets struggled in defending their NL Pennant reign.

911: After the September 11th attacks, baseball was put on hold for a week. 

Quotes- Todd Zeile: "I suggested to the guys that it would be a great tribute to the city, the first responders & the victims if we wore their hats in tribute. I got hats from the NYPD, FDNY &Port Authority & we dispersed them to the team".

At first the league office said the team couldn't wear the hats upon their return to New York, but they insisted & wore them the rest of the season.

As play resumed the Mets were in Pittsburgh for a three-game set. On September 17th, Zeile went hitless. But he helped the Mets sweep that series & get back into the pennant race, as he hit HRs in each of the next two games. On September 19th, he hit a three-run shot off Tony McKnight in the 4th inning, his 9th HR of the year, leading New York to a 9-2 win.

In the now famous game where play resumed back in New York & Mike Piazza's 8th inning HR led to an exciting win over the Atlanta Braves, Zeile went 1-3 with a double.

Unfortunately, The Mets faded from the race in late September & finished the year in third place, six games back of Atlanta. They were also third in the wild card race.

Zeile’s power numbers dropped in 2001, as he finished off with only 10 HRs despite leading the team in games played (151) & at bats (531). He also struck out the most times on the club (102) and hit into a team leading 15 double plays. 

Overall, he hit .266 with 10 HRs 25 doubles 73 walks (second on the club to Robin Ventura) with a .359 on base % & 62 RBIs (second on the club to Mike Piazza).

In January he was part of a three-team trade going to the Colorado Rockies with Benny Agbayani for Ross Gload & Craig House. The Mets also sent Lenny Harris & Glendon Rusch to the Milwaukee Brewers for Jeromy Burnitz & Jeff D'Amico.

Mets Career Stats:  In his three-year Mets career, Zeile played in 441 games (68th on Mets all-
time list) He played 367 games at first base (9th on the Mets all-time list). He also played at third base, caught two games behind the plate & even pitched one inning. 

Overall, as a Met he batted .259 with 368 hits 41 HRs 77 doubles 176 RBIs 4 triples & 163 runs scored.

Post Mets Career: In 2002 in Colorado, Zeile led the NL in errors at first base (21) posting the league’s worst fielding percentage for first baseman (.942). At the plate he hit .273 with 18 HRs 23 doubles & 87 RBIs in the Rocky Mountain air.

He would go on to make two more quick stops in 2003: first with the A.L. New York team for 66 games & then with the Montreal Expos for 34 games finishing out the season. 

Zeile finished out his career returning to the New York Mets as a free agent in 2004.

He played in 127 games for the woeful 2004 Mets, hitting just .233 with 9 HRs 16 doubles & 35 RBIs in what turned out to be his final season. The Mets finished fourth at 71-91 under Art Howe.

That year Zeile did have a few personal highlights, which included his 2000th career hit & hitting a HR In his final career at bat.

HR In Last Career at Bat: The HR came on October 3rd, off Montreal’s Claudio Vargas,
making Zeile the 41st player in history to homer in his final career at bat.  
It was also a historic HR, as it was the last HR hit off a Montreal Expo pitcher. This was the teams last game as the franchise moved to Washington D.C. the next year & became the Nationals.

Career Stats: Todd Zeile finished his 14-year career batting .265 with 2004 hits 253 HRs 397 doubles (198th all time) 23 triples & 673 extra base hits. He has 945 walks (148th all time) with 81 sac flies (92nd all time) 1110 RBIs & a .346 on base %.

He played in 2158 games (167th most all time) with 7573 at bats.

In the post season he was a .292 hitter playing in four different post seasons, 29 games total, with 33 hits, 4 HRs 7 doubles & 14 RBIs. 

Overall, in his career he played 1498 games at third posting a .942 fielding %. He played 466 games at first base (991%) 130 games at catcher (.985 fielding % with a 29% caught stealing %) three games in the outfield & two games at pitcher.

Trivia: Zeile was the first player in history to hit HRs for eleven different MLB teams.

Family- Julianne McNamara Zeile: In 1989, Todd married 1984 Olympic Gymnast, Julianne McNamara. She was the first gymnast to earn a perfect 10.0 in the Olympics. She earned a gold medal & two silver medals in the 1984 games. In the early eighties Julianne was a n actress as well, appearing on an episode of "Charles in Charge" with Scott Baio.

Hannah Zeile
Todd & Julianne have four children together.  They divorced in 2015.

Hannah Zeile: Their daughter Hannah Zeile was born in 1997. While still in grade school, she decided she wanted to be an actress. Her parents supported her but had her enroll in acting school. She appeared in the series "Anger Management" (2012) with Charlie Sheen & "This Is Us" as teen-age Kate (2016-2022).

Charities: Hannah has Type 1 diabetes. Her parents were very active in juvenile diabetes research charities.

Zeile has also been active in charities for victims of 911 & terrorism, Tuesday's Children.

Kristin Gamboa Zeile: In June of 2020 Todd married Kristin Gamboa, daughter of former MLB coach, scout Tom Gamboa.

Todd & Kristin Zeile
Todd's Acting Career: In 1997 Todd himself had made a cameo appearance on Saturday Night Live. After baseball, Zeile formed his own Hollywood production Company, called Green Diamond Entertainment.

King Of Queens: In 2005 he appeared in two episodes of the sitcom, The King of Queens with Mets fan Kevin James. 

In one-episode Major Disturbance (2006) he rides in a car with Arthur (Jerry Stiller) in Arthur's new business, of being the second person in a vehicle as to use the carpool lane. 

In the other episode -Buy Curious (2005) he is a mourner at a wake in the home of a dead neighbor of Doug & Carrie.


He later appeared in movies, Zookeeper, I Am & the Undoing. 

He also has been credited as a producer, mainly for the series Anger Management.

Charlie Sheen: Zeile has become friends with Actor Charlie Sheen. The two met at Dodger Stadium in 1997. They also worked together on the set of Anger Management. 

In 2012 the two went to Scotland on a 24-hour boat excursion looking for evidence of the Loch Ness Monster. No new evidence was found.

Mets Honors: Todd Zeile was on hand for the closing ceremonies of Shea Stadium in 2008.

SNY Analyst: In 2016 Zeile began doing studio work with the Mets SNY Network covering in the studio pre game & after game highlights.

In 2019 he took over as the SNY main studio analyst, replacing Nelson Figueroa. He works alongside Gary Apple. 

He is known for giving the Zeile of Approval for key plays or moments in a game.

He also filled in the TV booth, replacing Ron Darling when Darling underwent surgery for a mass in his chest & took treatment for thyroid cancer. Zeile has also done games during Spring Training.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Remembering Vixen Founder / Guitarist; Jan Kuehnemund (1961-2013)

Remembering Bobby Ojeda's Tragic Boating Accident (1993)

The 1970's Oakland A's Ball Girls- (MLB's First)

The Story of the New York Mets Logo

Remembering Christine McVie (1943-2022)