Not known for his power, on this day in 1971 Mets catcher Jerry Grote’s homer in the bottom of the 11th was the difference in a 1-0 victory over Cincinnati at Shea Stadium.
Batting eighth, Grote homered off Wayne Granger to lead off the inning. Grote homered twice that season and 39 times during his 16-year career, which included 12 seasons with the Mets where he carved a reputation as a defensive specialist with a strong throwing arm.
GROTE: Mets’ best defensive catcher. (AP)
Grote was a National League All-Star in 1968 and 1974. In those days, the NL was strong behind the plate with the likes of Johnny Bench, Tim McCarver and Randy Hundley.
How good was Grote defensively? Bench once said: “If Grote and I were on the same team, I’d be playing third base.”
Tom Seaver started that day and pitched nine scoreless innings. He was relieved by Tub McGraw, who worked two innings for the victory.
Grote also played with Houston (1963-64), the Dodgers (1977-78, and 81), and Kansas City (1981).
Grote was inducted into the Mets’ Hall of Fame in 1992.
He is 73 and lives in San Antonio, Tx.
ON DECK: April 11, Mets’ Lineup Against Miami
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