This week’s tribute to the 1973 Mets focuses on the team’s backup catcher, Duffy Dyer. Born Donald Robert Dyer, “Duffy” was the quintessential backup catcher. He was outstanding defensively, and wasn’t much of hitter. Dyer backed up Jerry Grote in the 1973 season, and made his share of contributions to the Mets over the course of several seasons.
Dyer made his major league debut with the Mets in 1968, appearing in 1 game. He then spent some time in the majors in 1969, with 29 game appearances. Starting in the 1970 season, Dyer became the Mets official second catcher, and served in that role with the club through the 1974 season. In the pennant-winning season of 1973, Dyer appeared in 70 games, batting .185 over 204 plate appearances. He had 1 home run and 9 RBI. Dyer did not play in the 1973 post season, as Jerry Grote carried the full catching responsibilities.
Dyer played for the Mets for parts of 7 seasons, posting a combined .219 average, with 16 home runs and 97 RBI. After the 1974 season, Dyer was traded to the Pirates for Gene Clines. He spent 4 years in Pittsburgh, posting a .227 average with 9 home runs and 57 RBI. Dyer also played for the Tigers for his final 2 years, and also spent the 1979 season with the Montreal Expos.
Dyer remains active with the Mets, and appears at team functions. He was at the 40-year tribute to the 1969 team in 2009 at Citi Field. While never a star in his own right, Dyer was a well-respected member of the 1973 team, and earned the trust of the team’s most precious asset, its starting pitching staff. Here’s a Rising Apple hat-tip to a good soldier of the 1973 Mets, catcher Duffy Dyer.