Apr 1, 2021

Remembering Mets History (1982) Mets Trade Lee Mazzilli for Ron Darling & Walt Terrell

April 1st 1982: On this day the Mets traded popular centerfielder Lee Mazzilli to the Texas Rangers for two young pitchers, Ron Darling & Walt Terrell. At the time the trade was not favorable with Mets fans.

Mazzilli was a popular matinee idol for the Mets since arriving in 1976. As the Mets went downward into a last place team, it was Mazzilli who was one of the few bright spots. He spent six years with Mets up to that point, had made one All Star Team (1979), batted over .300 once & stole over thirty bases twice. He hit over 15 HRs three straight years & drove in over 70 runs twice. 

He was never a superstar, but he was good looking, made basket catches like Willie Mays & was one of the better players on bad teams. More than anything else, Mazzilli was one of the most popular Mets of his era.

In the strike shortened 1981 season, Mazzilli's

average fell to a career worst (up to that point) .228. The Mets felt he was on the down side of his career. The new ownership of Nelson Doubleday & Fred Wilpon had taken over in 1980, they were making changes from the old regime. These changes would lead to the eventual 1986 Championship & solid teams of the mid to late eighties.

Mazzilli would play just 58 games in Texas, batting .241. He would get traded to the AL New York team that August, in exchange for Bucky Dent. After 37 games there, batting .266, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 1983 season.

Walt Terrell made his MLB debut with the Mets in 1982, pitching in three games going 0-3 with a 3.43 ERA. He pitched two more seasons in New York, going 19-23 overall with a 3.53 ERA in 57 appearances. Soon the Mets turned into a pennant contender and their staff became one of the best in baseball. After the 1984 season, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for another piece of the Mets Championship team, Howard Johnson.

Ron Darling, has become a Mets legend both as a pitcher & a broadcaster. Darling would pitch nine years for the Mets going 99-70, fourth most wins in Mets history. 

He posted a 3.50 ERA, notching 1148 strike outs in 257 games (17th most in Mets history). He would pitch in six post season games for the Mets going 1-2. He earned the win in Game #4 of the 1986 World Series, to even up the series at two games each. He took a heart breaking 1-0 loss in Game #1.

Darling made one All Star team (1985) won a World Series (1986) & made two post seasons with the Mets. He was top ten in the league four times in strike outs, twice in wins & ERA while pitching with the Mets. His best years were spent in the shadows of the Mets ace, Dwight Gooden.

In 2006 he became a color commentator & studio analyst on SportsNet NY for Mets games. He would work alongside former Mets team mate, Keith Hernandez. He would win six Emmy Awards & eventually work at the MLB network.


No comments: