5) NY Mets trade for Jerry Grote
It’s kind of amazing to picture Jerry Grote in any other uniform than a Mets one especially early on in his career. The club’s catcher and the only position player on this list, he saw limited action early on in his career with the Houston Astros in 1963 and 1964.
After not hitting much, he spent all of the 1965 season in the minor leagues to try and figure things out. He ended up traded to the Mets in October of that year for Tom Parsons.
Grote was not a good hitter early on in his Mets career. He batted .237 in 1966 and .195 in 1967. In 1968, a year when pitchers dominated across both leagues, he somehow managed to slash .282/.357/.349 and earn himself a trip to the All-Star Game.
In parts of 12 seasons with the Mets, Grote batted .256/.321/.329. Never an elite hitter, his best attribute was the way he performed behind the plate. Pitching was how the Mets won games back in those days—almost exclusively at times. Grote was a big reason for their success. It’s just a shame that he never was able to win a Gold Glove. He certainly had the numbers to do it. Instead, he’ll just have to settle for being one of the best catchers in Mets history.