Many good players from the early years of the New York Mets have been overlooked. Let’s teach the kids a little bit about Gary Gentry.
Gary Gentry didn’t have a long career in Major League Baseball. What he did have was an impactful one with the New York Mets.
Timing is important in all areas of life. Gentry’s debut couldn’t have been better. He made his MLB debut in 1969 as a member of the Mets. He went on to go 13-12 with a 3.43 ERA while tossing 233.2 innings. Behind Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman, it was just what the team needed.
Gentry wasn’t just a one-year wonder. He stuck around and called Shea Stadium home for three more years. Winning wasn’t his greatest strength, though. Despite having a strong 3.56 ERA, Gentry’s record with the Mets was below .500 at 41-42.
Still, he helped round out the rotation behind some more well-known arms in franchise history. Because it was so short and he was third-string in his best years, not many of the kids know about Gentry.
Maybe the biggest game of his life, Gentry started Game 3 of the 1969 World Series. With the series knotted up at 1-1, the freshly turned 23-year-old delivered 6.2 innings of shutout baseball.
New York went on to defeat Jim Palmer and the Baltimore Orioles 5-0. There was no looking back after this win. The Mets would be victorious in the next two games and seal their first championship.
Gentry’s time with the Mets came to an end following the 1972 season. After a down year, New York flipped him in a deal with the Atlanta Braves. Nobody knew at the time but this would turn out to be what I consider the most underrated trade in team history.
Along with Danny Frisella, Gentry headed to Atlanta for a pair of players. They were infielder Felix Millan and pitcher George Stone. Each had an incredible year in 1973. Without them, the Mets don’t make it to the 1973 World Series.
Gentry never made an All-Star team or competed for a Cy Young. He was never the team’s ace, but how could someone be when Seaver was on the roster?
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Gentry happened to be one of those quality players who had brief success with the Mets during the early years when winning was possible. Largely forgotten over time, he’s one of those men from yesteryear worth telling the kids about.