Jul 31, 2021

2021 Mets Hall of Fame Inductees


 

Jon Matlack: Mets Hall of Fame Inductee (Part One : 1971-1973)

Jonathan Trumpbour Matlack was born on January 19, 1950 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The tall six foot three, left hander, was one of eight children to Ralph Russell & Marcella Trumpbour Matlack.

His middle name, is a tribute his mothers maiden name, honoring the family's Dutch ancestry that dates back to Saugerties, New York in the 1700's.

He was another good pitching prospect developed by the Mets in the late 1960s, early 1970s period.

#1 Draft Pick: He was the Mets number-one selection, in the June 1967 draft, the fourth pick overall. The Mets didn’t rush him; he was brought up slowly because the Mets were loaded with good pitching in those days. This certainly helped his development along the way as he posted three straight winning seasons with double figures at the AAA level.

In 1969 as the Amazing Mets were winning the World Series, Jon Matlack was going 14-7 at AAA Tidewater. He followed up in 1970 with a 12-11 season striking out 146 batters in 183 innings. 

1971 Season: In 1971 Matlack was 11-7, tied for third in wins with Don Rose, behind Jim Bibby (15) & Buzz Capra (13). That's how talented those Mets minor leagues were in those days. Overall he posted a 3.97 ERA, striking out 145 batters in 152 innings.

He was brought up midway through the 1971 season and debuted on July 11th, 1971 in Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium. He pitched seven innings, allowing two runs, while earning no decision in the Mets 5-3 loss. Matlack went 0-3 as he settled into the big leagues.


On July 18th, he pitched against Al Santorini in St. Louis & took his first loss, allowing five earned runs in 6.2 innings of work. 

On July 28th, would lose to the Cardinals again, this time at Shea Stadium. He then spent another month down at AAA Tidewater before returning in September. In seven appearances he was 0-3 with a 4.14 ERA & ready for 1972.

Rookie of the Year Season: In 1972, Matlack started out the year in the bullpen. He relieved Gary Gentry in the second game of the season, pitching the final two innings of a 2-0 loss to Pittsburgh. On April 23rd, he pitched four innings of relief in a shut out of the Chicago Cubs at Shea Stadium, earning his first career win.

He then went right into the Mets starting rotation, making a start on April 28th, in Los Angeles, beating the Dodgers, with a complete game, six hit, one run performance.

Next, On May 10th, beat the Giants in San Francisco to get to 3-0. He then took a no decision in a 4-3  Mets win over the Dodgers, where he went head to head with Al Downing, as Teddy Martinez won the game with a walk off single.

On May 15th, he beat the Montreal Expos, pitching into the 9th inning. On May 20th, he followed with a complete game, 3-1 victory over the Phillies, at Veterans Stadium. He beat Woodie Fryman in that game, to get to 5-0. 

On May 30th, he pitched a three hit shutout against the Phillies at Shea Stadium besting his record to 6-0 with an ERA at 1.95. 

But then he had a tough June going 2-4, although he only allowed two earned runs or less three times in six outings. On June 4th, he earned his first loss, as the Braves nailed him for five runs.

On July 12th, Matlack pitched a four hit shutout, against the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium, beating Sudden Sam McDowell, striking out a season high, nine batters. 

 He then suffered two tough no decisions, the first was a nine inning, one run performance, where his run was unearned, at Dodger Stadium. L.A. won the game on a walk off HR by Frank Robinson.

On July 22nd, in San Francisco,  Matlack had an eighth inning, one run performance, but the Mets lost the game on a Danny Frisella wild pitch. 

On July 27th, he tossed a ten inning, four hit, shutout against the reigning World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates. He out dueled, Nelson Briles, as The Mets won it on Wayne Garrett's 9th inning sac fly, in the first game of a double header. The Rookie was holding a 2.08 ERA at that point, impressing everyone.

In the month he went into the 8th inning or beyond five straight times, allowing only three earned runs overall, but earned just two victories. In August, he was 1-3 with three no decisions. That win came on August 21st at Shea, beating the Astros in a complete game 4-2 victory, where he struck out eight. It was his 11th win of the season.

On September 4th, at Wrigley Field, the Mets were shut out by Fergie Jenkins. Matlack allowed HRs to Ron Santo & Carman Fanzone, as he tied his season high 9 Ks. 

After that, he would win three straight games. On September 8th, in the first of two at Shea, he allowed 12 hits but still beat the Cards 8-2. On September 13th, the Phillies knocked him out by the 4th inning, as he gave up five runs (four earned) at Veterans Stadium. 

On September 18th, he out dueled Nelson Briles with a 1-0 complete game shut out, over the first place Pirates. The Mets won the game on Duffy Dyer's walk off single scoring Rusty Staub. Next was a complete game victory at Philadelphia, where the Phils scored three unearned runs

MLB Trivia:
On the last day of the 1972 season, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Matlack went into the history books. 
In the 4th inning, he served up a double to Roberto Clemente. It was Clemente's 3000th hit. 

It was also the last hit of Clemente’s career, as he would tragically be killed in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve later that year. Clemente was delivering supplies to earthquake victims on Nicaragua.

Matlack had met Clemente prior to the 1972 season, while the two were playing winter ball in San Juan. 

Clemente invited some of the American Players, including Matlack to his home. Matlack was in awe, as Celemente showed them one of his huge bats in his trophy room.

When Clemente got the hit, Matlack was unaware of the significance of it. Clemente just raised his hat to the 17000 plus fans who actually knew what was happening. The game went on, bot have times changed.




Rookie of Year Award: That season Matlack became the first Mets player to win a Rookie of the Year Award. He was also named to the Topps All Star Rookie team & with his addition to a staff that already included Tom Seaver & Jerry Koosman, had  a lot of teams taking notice.

Matlack finished the 1972 season 15-10 (7th most wins in the NL) with a team leading 2.32 ERA (4th in the league). He also led the talented Mets staff, with four shut outs (sixth most in the NL), while throwing eight complete games and posting 169 strikeouts (tenth most in the NL) pitching in 244 innings, walking 71 batters.

1973 Mets Pennant Season:
I
n the 1973 Mets pennant season, Matlack like the rest of the team struggled at the start. On April 7th, he started in the second game of the season beating the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2. He allowed just four hits in nine innings of work. 

On April 13th, he was beat up for six runs in just four innings of work at Philadelphia.

On April 18th, he lost a 1-0 heart breaker to the Chicago Cubs as Ray Burris & Jack Akers shut out the Mets. After a loss in Houston, he fell to 1-3, then beat the Braves in Atlanta, in a seven inning two run performance, where he struck out nine. On May 3rd, the Big Red Machine got him for five runs in a 6-5 loss.

Hit In the Head With A Line Drive: On May 8th, at Shea Stadium in a game against Atlanta, Braves, Matlack suffered a horrible blow.

In the top of the 7th inning, with two men on & the Mets leading 3-1, Shortstop Marty Perez lined a shot back to the mound, that hit Matlack in the fore head. He fell to the ground, the liner fractured his skull. 

The play resulted in a double that tied the game.  Matlack was carried off the field in a stretcher and it was feared his season was over, or maybe even worse. 

Incredibly, after suffering the horrible injury,  Matlack returned to the mound eleven days later.

Return to the Mound: On May 19th, he threw six shut out innings at Shea Stadium, shutting down the Pirates. The Mets lost the game 4-1.

After two losses on the West Coast & another in Cincinnati, he found himself at 2-8 with a 4.55 ERA at the start of June.

 Matlack then won two games, as the West Coast teams came to Shea for a Mets homestand. He beat Al Downing of the Dodgers 4-2, then beat Steve Arlin & the Padres 5-2, as both games were complete game wins. He then lost two games & saw his ERA go over four.

The Mets were still struggling, mostly due to injuries of their key players. 

On June 10th, he went at it with the Cubs, Burt Hooton, at Shea Stadium. Matlack winning the 2-1 pitchers duel, as George "the Stork" Theodore's fielders choice was the difference as Ken Boswell scored.

One Hitter: On July 10th, in front of just under twenty thousand fans at Shea, Matlack pitched a spectacular one hit, 1-0 shutout against Jerry Ruess & the Houston Astros. The only hit, was a sixth inning double, from short stop Tommy Helms. It was the first of two Mets career one hitters he would toss. I was the tenth one hitter in Mets history.

 For the rest of his month went 0-4, giving up six runs twice & two runs or less the other two outings.

Then From August until the end of the year he was brilliant, going 7-2, pitching five complete games, with three shut outs. He struck out nine batters or more in six of twelve games. 


On August 3rd, he struck out a season high 11, in a complete game win over the Cards. On August 8th, he struck out nine Dodgers & pitched a two hit shutout at Dodger Stadium. It was another 1-0 squeaker, as Andy Messersmith also held the Mets in check. The difference was Jerry Grote's RBI single.

The only two Dodger hits, came from Willie Davis & Manny Mota. Mota's hit came in the fourth inning, as Matlack retired the last 18 batters.

After a no decision, where he struck out 10 ore batters, he won two more games in August, a 12-1 walloping of the Reds & then an 8-6 win, with the help of some run support, against the Padres. 

September Pennant Run: In the final month the whole Mets team came together at once, Matlack joined in, going 3-1 down the stretch. 

On September 7th he won yet another 1-0 game, beating former Met prospect Steve Renko in Montreal. Matlack pitched into the 9th inning, with 7 Ks.

Tug McGraw helped out with the save, getting Mike Jorgensen to ground into a double play.. 

 Five days later on September 12th, he etched out a 3-2 win beating Wayne Twitchell in Philadelphia striking out nine Phillies. At this point the Mets were just 2.5 games out of first in a five team race.

On September 18th, at Three Rivers Stadium, the Mets were down 4-1, when they rallied for five runs in the top of the 9th inning, helping Matlack from taking a loss against the first place Pirates. 

The win brought the Mets again to 2.5 games of Pittsburgh, but the Expos & Cardinals were also ahead of them. 

On September 22nd, Matlack did all to eliminate the Cardinals from the race, when he pitched a 2-0 shut against them at Shea Stadium. This night the Mets sat up in first place in the NL East & would hold that lead, clinching the NL Eastern Division on the last day of the season.

On September 30th, after four days of rain, the Mets went to Wrigley Field for a twin bill, with a chance to clinch the division.

In the first game , Matlack lost a 1-0 heart breaker when Ron Santo singled home Dave Rosello in the 8th inning with the winning run. Rick Reushel & Bob Locker held down the Mets.

The Mets clinched the division winning the second game of the double header &  then the first game of a scheduled twin bill the next day at Wrigley.

1973 Stats: He finished the year at 14-16, second on the staff (tied with Jerry Koosman) behind Tom Seaver in wins. He struck out 205 batters (3rd in the league), and his strikeout per nine inning ratio (7.6) was also third best in the N.L.

Matlack made 34 starts, pitched 242 innings, with 14 complete games (4th in the league) and three shutouts. He posted a 3.20 ERA and walked just 76 batters. He was a favorite of his manager Yogi Berra, who said he would never trade Matlack away, “what a career he has ahead of him" Berra told NBC's Tony Kubek, during a pre game World Series interview. 

1973 Post Season- NLCS: In Game #2 of the 1973 NLCS, Matlack pitched one of the best Mets post season games ever. He threw a two-hit shutout against “the Big Red Machine” of Cincinnati. 

He struck out nine Reds & walked three in Riverfront Stadium. The win evened the Series to a game apiece. The Reds veteran, Andy Kosco, got both Reds hits & drew a walk.

Darrel Chaney also reached twice, drawing two walks Kosco & Chaney were the only Reds to reach base that day.

Outfielder Cesar Geronimo struck out three times against Matlack. It was after this pitching performance that Bud Harrelson remarked the Reds “looked like me hitting out there” in that game. Those words angered the Reds and led to the Harrelson/ Rose bench clearing brawl in Game three.

1973 World Series: Matlack would get three starts in the 1973 World Series, and pitch well in all of them except the last start. He was the starting pitcher in the opener at Oakland against the A's Ken Holtzman. 

Matlack was superb going six innings, allowing two unearned runs, on just three hits against the mighty Oakland line up. He struck out three and walked only two along the way.

In the third inning, Oakland's Bert Campaneris reached base on a ground ball that went through the usually sure handed Mets second baseman Felix Millan's legs. 

With Campy aboard (the American League's best base stealer), Matlack botched a pickoff attempt allowing Campy to move up to second base. He then scored what would be the winning run on Joe Rudi’s base hit, as the Mets lost the game 2-1.

Jon came back to pitch Game #4 at Shea Stadium and would get plenty of run support this time, thanks to Rusty Staub’s big five RBI night in the Mets 6-1 win. Matlack was fantastic again, allowing only one run, on three hits, while striking out five Oakland A’s, walking only two.

Reggie Jackson, Gene Tenace & pinch hitter Deron Johnson were the only A's to gather hits that night. Matlack also hit Bert Campaneris with two pitches, late in the game without any incidens taking place. It turned out to be the only World Series win in Matlack's career.

A tired Matlack was called upon to pitch Game #7 on three day’s rest, over a well rested George Stone. That year Stone was 12-3 with a 2.80 ERA & had only made a relief appearance in Game #2. 

To this day it is one of Met fans biggest questions: Why didn't Yogi Berra start Stone in Game #6 & have a rested Matlack as well as Tom Seaver ready to go in Game #7?

It turned out to be Matlack's worst post season outing, allowing four runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings pitched. He gave up the big blows, HRs to Reggie Jackson & Bert Campaneris as he took the 5-2 loss.

Overall Matlack went 2-2 in the post season, allowing only four earned runs in 25 innings pitched for a fantastic 1.40 ERA. He struck out 20, & walked eight batters in his only postseason appearance.

Trivia: Jon Matlack & Ron Darling are the only two Mets to start three World Series games in a single World Series. They both got the starts in games one, four and seven.

Jon Matlack: Mets Hall Of Fame Inductee (Part Two - 1974-1977)


After the Pennant: In 1974 Jon Matlack began the year with a 9-2 win in Philadelphia, as he allowed just one run, pitching into the 8th inning with seven strike outs. In his next start he struck out ten Phillies at Shea Stadium, but earned no decision, in a 2-1 Mets loss.

On April 23rd, he was roughed up in San Diego. allowing 4 runs in 3.2 innings, taking a loss. Jon then won four straight games, first on that West Coast road trip, he shut out the Giants on a four hitter, lowering his ERA under two at 1.98.


Back at Shea on May 4th, he beat Randy Jones & the Padres to get to 3-1. On May 8th, he pitched a complete game win over the Giants, allowing two run on just four hits, while striking out a season high 12 batters.


On May 18th, he threw another four hit shut out, this one against Steve Rogers & the Montreal
Expos, as he struck out nine. His ERA wa back under two at 1.89.

He lost his next four decisions & got two no decisions, mostly due to lack of run support, as he only allowed two earned runs runs in four of those seven outings. 

On June 29th, he pitched a one hit shut out against the St. Louis Cardinals, at Shea Stadium, striking out seven walking just three. The only hit was a 3rd inning single, coming off the bat of the opposing pitcher, John Curtis. He was at 6-5 with a 2.47 ERA. 

He was the winning pitcher, in the first game of an Independence Day double header at Philadelphia, where he struck out ten. After a loss to the Padres at home, he pitched two more complete game victories, beating the Dodgers & Padres on a West Coast road trip, leading up to the All Star Game.

1974 All Star Game: At the All Star break, Matlack was 9-6 with a 2.55 ERA. His manager, Yogi Berra was the NL All Star Manager, & he brought Matlack with him to Pittsburgh for the All Star Game at Tree Rivers Stadium. It was the first of Matlack's three straight All Star appearances. 


With the game being held in Pittsburgh, the hometown fans were upset at Berra for his choice of his own player. They preferred their new hometown hero, a young Dave Parker instead. Matlack would pitch a scoreless 6th inning in the game, allowing a hit & a walk in the 7-2 NL victory.

After the All Star break Matlack having his best season to date, threw three more complete game shutouts. On August 3rd in Montreal, he threw a seven hitter, walking just one. The win got him into double figures for the third straight season

After a loss at Pittsburgh, where he gave up a season high 12 hits, he tossed a four hit shut out, at Shea Stadium against Al Downing & eventual NL Champion, Dodgers. In that game he struck out eight & walked one.

The rest of August resulted in a loss & two no decisions, as the defending NL Champs found them selves 15 games under .500 in 5th place. 

On September 3rd, in the first of a twin bill at Wrigley Field, Matlack tossed yet another four hit shut out, reaching the ten strike out mark for the fifth time on the season. It was his 5th shut out as well.

Matlack was 12-10 on the year but then lost his next three starts to go under .500. On September
7th, Matlack gave up just two runs in St. Louis, but Bob Gibson held the Mets to just one run. The Cards won it on Lou Brock's walk off single. The Cards then got him for a season high six runs at Shea in a 12-5 loss.

On September 22nd, Matlack threw a 4-0 three hit shutout at Three Rivers Stadium, in Pittsburgh. 

Although he had pitched brilliantly at times, he lost seven decisions from August to the end of the season. He had only allowed more than three earned runs in one of those games, and more than two earned three times.

Matlack finished the disappointing Mets 1974 season with one of his best years, leading the league in shutouts with seven. He led the Mets staff with a 2.41 ERA (3rd best in the league). Matlack had 14 complete games (5th most in the NL) with 265 innings pitched (7th in the NL). 

He struck out 195 batters (4th best in the league) & had five different games where he struck out
ten or more batters. 

His record certainly didn’t reflect how good he was that season. He went 13-15 suffering a lot of hard luck losses, on a team that didn’t score many runs.

1975: Matlack began the 1975 season, pitching in the second game of the year. He allowed two runs over seven innings but earned no decision as the Mets fell to the Phillies 3-2. 

On April 20th, he won his first game of the year, even though he gave up six earned runs, the Mets scored eight in a win at Wrigley Field. 

After going 2-3 bythe first week of May, he had a five game win streak from May 12th into the start of June. In that time he only allowed six earned runs over 38 innings. 

On May 12th, he went seven innings, holding the SF Giants to a run, out dueling Jim Barr for a 3-2 win. At the Astrodome, he pitched just six innings, but held the Astros down to two runs, for a 6-4 win. On May 23rd, in Atlanta, he pitched into the 8th inning, holding the Braves to arun, as he beat Carl Morton 3-1 to get to 5-3.

On  May 28th, he won a 43 game beating the Dodgers & Doug Rau at Shea Stadium. The streak was topped off with a June 2nd, 2-0 four hit shutout victory, over the Houston Astros.

On June 7th, the Braves knocked him out in the 2nd inning, scoring four runs in a loss. He
rebounded with a three hit shut out, beating Don Suttton & the Dodgers in Los Angeles. In that game he struck out Steve Garvey three times. In his next start the Expos roughed him up for six runs, taking a loss then earning two no decisions.

Matlack started out July, with a two run complete game win over the Cubs at Shea Stadium, where he collected a season high 8 Ks. By the break he was 10-7 with a 3.54 ERA, earning him another trip to the All Star Game.

1975 All Star MVP: He went to his second All Star Game that year, with the 1975 Mid Summer Classic being held in Milwaukee's County Stadium. He followed Tom Seaver in the 7th inning, after Seaver served up a three run game tying HR to Carl Yastremski. 

Matlack held his own, pitching two scoreless innings while striking out four American leaguers (Rod Carew, Bucky Dent, Gene Tenace & Fred Lynn) in the 6-3 National League win.

He ended up sharing the All-Star MVP Award honors with the Chicago Cubs Bill Madlock, who drove in the game winning runs off Rich Gossage in the top of the 9th inning.

After the All Star Game he took a loss to the Braves, but then went on to a six game win streak. He started with a complete game win at Shea, beating the Big Red Machine.  

 He then gave up ten hits & five runs, but still earned a win in St. Louis. Matlack then won two game on the west coast road trip, including a one run complete game over the Dodgers in L.A.

It seemed he was on his way to his first twenty win season, joining Tom Seaver on the staff, who would win his third Cy Young Award that year.  

The Mets entered September, just four games behind the Pirates. But September was a huge disappointment

It would be Matlack's worst month as he went 0-4 with two no decisions as the Mets faded from the race.

That season he finished up 16-12 (7th most wins in the league) with 154 strikeouts (10th most in the league), He posted a 3.38 ERA with eight complete games & three shutouts (tenth in the NL) in 33 games.


Bicentennial Year: The bicentennial year began to bring changes to the Mets family, but it still was the last year before the bottom fell out. Matlack probably had his best Mets start to a season. 

In the second game of the season, he beat Woody Fryman & the Montreal Expos 1-0 at Shea Stadium pitching a four hit shutout. 

His second start was a disaster, as he allowed six earned runs to the Cubs at Wrigley. On April 20th,  he shutout the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, pitching a six hitter striking out seven. After a rough loss at Houston where he gave up just two runs, he beat them at Shea allowing just one run in a complete game win to get to 3-0.

On May 5th, Matlack shut out the Big Red Machine for 9.2 innings, dueling with the Reds Gary Nolan. He struck out a season high 11 batters in the game. The Mets lost the game in the 11th inning. A modest May had him win two games against one loss, as he improved to 5-1.

In June he threw three straight complete game victories, allowing just two runs in 27 innings of work. In that stretch he threw 18 consecutive scoreless innings.

On June 5th in Los Angeles, he gave up just one run in a 3-1 win over the Dodgers & Doug Rau. Five days later in San Diego, he shut out the Padres, striking out eight & walking five. He then beat the Dodgers & Burt Hooton in a 2-1 pitchers duel at Shea Stadium, on June 15th. He was now 8-1 with a 2.30 ERA, among the best in the league.

On June 20th he had a terrible seven run, three inning outing against the Giants at home, taking a 9-2 loss. On July 1st, he threw a five hit shutout, in a 13-0 Mets blowout against the Cardinals. That brought his record to 10-2 with a 2.65 ERA leading all NL pitchers.


On July 6th, at the Astrodome, he pitched shutout ball for nine innings, but the Mets lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to J.R. Richard & the Astros. Jerry DaVannon singled off Skip Lockwood in the 10th inning scoring Wilbur Howard with the walk off run.

1976 All Star Game: He went to his third  All Star game in 1976, along with Mets teammates Tom Seaver & Dave Kingman. Matlack did not pitch in the 7-1 NL win at Philadelphia. 


He had a rough start to the second half, losing four straight games, although he allowed three earned runs or less in all of the games. He rebounded, winning at Pittsburgh & beating the Padres at Shea.  After a loss in Los Angeles, he shut out the Padres 1-0 in San Diego on August 22nd. In that game, he dueled with Cy Young winner, Randy Jones. The only run came on Jerry Grote's double, scoring Pepe Mangual.

On August 28th, he had another pitching duel, this time with the Dodgers Rick Rhoden, the Mets winning it 2-1, on a Felix Millan walk off single. He went 3-3 in a meaningless September where the Mets finished the season in third place.

This year Matlack was overshadowed once again on his own staff, this time by Jerry Koosman who won twenty games for the first time in his fabulous career. Matlack won a career high 17 games (17-10) seventh most wins in the league.

 He led the league in shutouts for a second time in his career with six. He pitched 16 complete games (Third most in the NL) with 262innings pitched (6th in the NL). Matlack posted a 2.95 ERA (tenth in the NL) with 153 strikeouts (8th in the NL) walking 57 batters.

1977 Season: It all went downhill for the Mets as well as Matlack in 1977, as the team sunk to last place. 

He started out the year at 0-4 but then threw back to back complete game shut outs on a West Coast road trip in Los Angeles & San Francisco. It was a short lived streak as he lost seven straight decisions including a 1-0 loss to the Phillies Jim Lonborg.

Matlack said he believed the Mets had good pitching & if they had some offense they could contend once again. Management thought he was complaining & was criticizing their horrible moves. Things were bad.

The Midnight Massacre: On June 15th, the night when Tom Seaver was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, Matlack got the start in Atlanta. He allowed five runs in six innings but earned no decision as the Mets rallied to beat the Braves 6-5. 

Matlack missed a month of action due to injury from the end of August to September 30th.

When he returned to make one last start on the year, it turned out to be his last as a New York Met. He won that game pitching into the 5th inning at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, beating the Cardinals. On the year he went 7-15 with a 4.21 ERA. He gave up a career high 19 HRs, and allowed 176 hits in 169 innings.

The Mets were cleaning house quickly and were dumping all the players from their glory days. Tom Seaver had been dealt away earlier that year & Matlack was no exception. 

Traded: That December, he was traded as well, in a strange four-team deal involving a number of players, Matlack went to Texas along with John Milner (who then went to Pittsburgh) in exchange for Willie Montanez, Ken Henderson and Tom Grieve. The trade shocked Matlack.




Quotes- Jon Matlack on his time with the Mets: "That was a staff that knew how to compete and was willing to do whatever it took to be successful and put zeros on the board. We all fed off each other and it snowballed into not wanting to be the one who was the weak link.

It’s easy to focus when you have to follow greatness and it became a very professional approach. I would do what ever I had to, to work on an aspect of my delivery or the details of the grip on a specific pitch. No matter how long it took, or how much work I needed to do I was willing to do it and so was the rest of the staff."

Post Mets Career: In his first year in the Arlington/Dallas area he went 15-13 & was second in the American League with his 2.27 ERA. He threw eight complete games (4th best in the AL) struck out 157 batters (6th in the AL) pitching in 270 innings (8th in the AL) in 35 starts. 

Matlack helped the Rangers tie for a second place finish with the California Angles, finishing five games behind the mighty Kansas City Royals of the late seveties.

In 1979 injuries limited him to only 13 games, going 5-4. It was his last year with a winning record as he’d go 10-10 in 1980 with a 3.68 ERA. 

That year he began the season with a three hit shutout against the AL New York club, in Texas Stadium. In August he broke up George Brett's 30-game hitting streak in August, holding him to an 0-3 night in Arlington. 


In 1981 he was limited to just 17 games going 4-7 with a 4.14 ERA. Matlack was the Texas Rangers Opening Day starter for three straight seasons. He was released by the Rangers in October 1983 and retired at age 34.

In a 13-year career, he was 125-126 with 1516 strikeouts (179th all time) with 638 walks, posting a 3.18 ERA, with 97 complete games, & thirty shutouts (110th all time) 

He pitched in 2363 innings pitched in 361 games. At the plate he hit .129 (57-441) with three doubles & 23 RBIs.

METS ALL TIME LIST: Jon Matlack ranks high on many of the Mets All Time pitching records; 

He is tied for second, with Jerry Koosman & behind Tom Seaver with 26 shut outs. His 3.03 ERA ranks fourth best on the Mets all time list, with pitchers pitching 500 innings or more in a Mets career.

He pitched 65 complete games (4th best most on Mets all time list) 1448 innings (6th most) 82 wins (7th best) 199 starts (7th most) 1023 strikeouts (9th most) & 81 losses (fourth most on Mets all time list). 

Retirement: Matlack resurfaced in the short lived Senior Professional Baseball Association where he had a solid 10-2 record. Outside of baseball he sold commercial real estate & also raised horses.

Starting in 1988, he was a minor league pitching coach for the San Diego Padres & then moved on to the Chicago White Sox organization. He was then a pitching coach for the Detroit Tigers for part of the 1996 season. 

From 1997 to 2012, Jon was a roving instructor for the Detroit Tigers. He was instrumental in helping develop talent for the 2006 & 2012 AL Champions.

In 2012 he began a "roving" job as a minor
league pitching coordinator for the Houston Astros.


Jon currently lives comfortably, in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, in the town of  Johnsburg, NY.

FamilyHe & his wife, Diana "Dee" have been married since 1968, when Jon was in the minor leagues. 

Together they have three children, Kristin, Jenifer  & Dan. They also have grandchildren.

Diana Matlack is in the medical field where her specialty is advanced Practice Midwifery.

Honors: In 2021 Jon Matlack became a member of the New York Mets Hall of Fame, along with Ron Darling & Edgardo Alfonzo.