Thursday, April 26, 2007

Old Time Mets - Luplow, Stahl, and Elliot

I don't remember if the mid -'60's Mets' careers of Al Luplow, Larry Stahl, and Larry Elliot overlapped at any point, because they were all virtually the same player. Lefthanded hitters with good speed, good power (when the pitcher made a mistake, anyway) and good enough range to play centerfield. Unlike Cowan, Lewis, and Bosch, they were all obtained in cash deals, so the fans' expectations weren't all that high. All were around 26 years old when the Mets got them, beyond the prospect stage, but not old enough to be characterized as veterans. It was kind of like "they must be better than what we've got". And statistically, they weren't terrible, batting in the .240 range, which was a lot better than the Mets had been getting from the likes of Billy Cowan, Danny Napoleon, and Hawk Taylor, who struggled to hit .200.

None was a regular with the Mets, not even on a platoon basis. They would get an occasional start, but seemed to be used more often as pinch-hitters and late inning defensive replacements. They all represented a "threat" at the plate, but my most vivid memories of all three was that in a clutch situation when a bloop single or even a sac fly was needed, you could almost always count on them to strike out.

Luplow had been a semi-regular with the Indians, Elliot a big minor league home run hitter in the Pirates' organization who had no chance to win a spot in Pittsburgh's outfield, and Stahl was an extra outfielder with the Kansas City A's who had a reputation for hitting some long home runs, though not on a consistent enough basis to cause much excitement.

I can't remember a single highlight for any of them, and I guess that's telling. But they were there, they were Mets, and Luplow and Stahl managed to find job with other big league teams after their Mets' days were over, so I guess they weren't all that bad.


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