A Look Back at the Mets First Good Third Baseman, Wayne Garrett

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The Mets had tried 39 players at third base in their first seven seasons when Wayne Garrett became number forty in 1969. The 21-year old redheaded rookie helped the team to an unexpected championship that season and tried earnestly to hold onto third base for the next seven and a half years, usually successful at staving off competition for his job. He remained the team leader in games played at third until Howard Johnson surpassed him, a record later wrestled away by David Wright.

After Garrett’s platoon partner Ed Charles retired, the Mets embarked on their search for a star third baseman. The team made two of the worst trades in team history trying to get veteran third basemen. First they dealt Amos Otis to the Royals for Joe Foy, and a few years later they traded Nolan Ryan to the Angels in exchange for Jim Fregosi. Neither Foy nor Fregosi panned out, and Garrett kept his job.

Garrett had a short career, ten seasons in the majors. His shoulder was blown out and he was not very good at going to his left by the late 1970s when he accepted an offer to play professionally in Japan for more money. He was only 30 years old.

“If I could have played well, run, and thrown normally, that would have been different,” Garrett said. “I went to Japan, took the money, and did as well as I could. I earned my salary there. It wasn’t the same. It was just to make a few bucks. It wasn’t a lot of fun.”

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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is the author of three books about baseball, including Ty Cobb: A Biography. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Major League Baseball Advanced Media. He lives in Michigan where he writes, runs, and enjoys a good orange soda now and again.
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