Sunday, September 27, 2015

Meet the Brewers #14: Bob Meyer

After Ted Savage pinch-hit for George Lauzerique in the bottom of the fifth inning with the Brewers down 8-0 already to the Angels, manager Dave Bristol brought lefthander Bob Meyer into the game to pitch in the sixth inning of Brewers game Number 1. Perhaps due to how dire the Brewers were in that first game, Bristol used sixteen total players on Opening Day alone.  Meyer was just number 14.

1970 McDonald's Milwaukee Brewers
Meyer was a carryover from the Seattle Pilots. Born, raised, and educated through college in Toledo, Ohio, he was signed out of the University of Toledo by the New York Yankees in 1960. Throughout his career, he struggled with control issues -- averaging 5.8 BB/9 innings over every level of competition at which he pitched.  He struck out plenty of guys too, though -- 6.4/9 in the majors -- so he sounds like one of those guys with "electric" stuff who have no idea where the ball is going. 

He didn't exactly light up the minor leagues -- a 62-80 record over 9 minor league seasons with a 3.92 ERA over 1211 innings in which he walked 784 and struck out 1065 (the strikeouts total is incomplete due to not having the total from his first trip to Single-A Binghamton in 1960).  

Still, he made it to the major leagues in 1964 with the Yankees.  After making 7 nondescript appearances (0-3, 4.91 ERA, 18-1/3 innings, 12 BB, 12 K), the Yankees sold his contract to the Los Angeles Angels on June 12, 1964. With the Angels, he made 6 appearances (5 starts) that were similarly nondescript (18 innings, 13 BB, 13 K, 1-1 record, 5.00 ERA). 

So, six weeks later on July 29, 1964, Meyer's contract was sold to the Kansas City Athletics.  He didn't embarrass himself totally in Kansas City, but he didn't exactly set the world on fire either: 1-4 record, 3.86 ERA, 7 starts, 42 innings, 33 BB, 30 K.  The A's -- both in KC and in Oakland -- were happy to park him at Triple-A in hopes of never having to use his skills in the major leagues.

1971 Topps
In 1968, Meyer had what probably was his baseball career highlight as a professional while pitching for Triple-A Vancouver. He pitched a no-hitter against the Hawaii Islanders, who had the infamous Bo Belinsky pitching for them that night.  

Perhaps management from the Seattle Pilots were in the area that evening, but for whatever reason, the Pilots decided in late 1969 to pick Meyer up from the Athletics with Pete Koegel in exchange for Fred Talbot.  Meyer pitched decently for the Pilots, or at least decently enough for the organization to keep him around for the 1970 season.

With the Brewers in 1970, though, Meyer struggled. He made 10 appearances all season -- all before the end of May.  He threw just 18-1/3 innings, allowing 24 hits, 12 walks, and 2 HR in racking up a 6.38 ERA.  But, there was a good reason for his struggles: an injury. He was placed on the 21-day disabled list on May 29, 1970 with tendonitis in his pitching arm.  

His final appearance for the Brewers on May 20 was also his final appearance in the major leagues. At least he made it a memorable one: he threw 3-1/3 innings in relief of Skip Lockwood, giving up 1 hit, 1 run, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts, but he also got just his second major league hit in his lone at-bat in the game -- a single off later Brewers pitching coach Chuck Dobson against his old team, the Oakland Athletics.

1994 Miller Brewing 25th Anniversary Commemorative Set
After his playing career, Meyer got married in 1971. In 1979, he founded and began publishing BarterNews, which calls itself the voice of the barter industry. Through the Barter News website, you can purchase the "Baseball Autographs" Package from Meyer. For your $50, you get a personalized note, a copy of his 1970 contract with Topps, a copy of an article from his days in spring training in 1964 with the Yankees, a copy of an article about a 1-hitter he threw in 1964, a copy of Sporting News coverage about his 1968 no-hitter, and autographs on all those articles.

My only question is this: if the guy is such a fan and proponent of bartering, why isn't there an option to barter for the Autographs package?

Meyer has six total cards/items featuring him as a Brewers player: the McDonald's card above, a 1970 Mike Andersen Postcard, a 1971 Dell Today's Team Stamp, his 1971 Topps and O-Pee-Chee cards, and the 1994 Miller Brewing card.  So, I have three of the six, and I am (of course) looking for the other three.

1 comment:

  1. That is a lot of memorabilia for $50. Tell him you will send him $30 and see if he'll accept.