Happy Birthday Pat Zachry

pat-zachryThe day June 15, 1977 lives in infany as the darkest day in Mets history.

For those too young to remember, it was the day that the Mets traded “The Franchise” — Tom Seaver — to the Reds in return for a gaggle of Cincinnati’s worst “top prospects”: Steve Henderson, Doug Flynn, Dan Norman, and young hurler Pat Zachry. In addition, Dave Kingman was also traded on the same day — the Mets’ only offensive force at the time.

Zachry, born on April 24, 1952, was a stringbean of a pitcher with a scruffy beard, standing 6’5″ and weighing about 180 lbs. Though he managed winning records in ’77, ’78, and ’79, he never quite escaped the shadow of that fateful day, nor the fact that he replaced Seaver in the Mets’ rotation. Though he showed promise as a 24-year-old rookie in 1976, going 14-7 for the Big Red Machine, Zachry never won more than 7 games in a season after the age of 26 — the victim of woeful run support and injuries to his foot (he kicked a dugout step after allowing Pete Rose to tie the NL record for hits in consecutive games) and, later, his elbow.

Another happy birthday shout out goes to Carlos Beltran, who ironically, was born on this date in 1977.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.