Mets’ Memories: Bing Devine Was Always Working On Something

An article by posted on September 27, 2012

In a previous post, I indicated why I was so discouraged with the Alderson regime for doing almost nothing to try to improve the ball club.

Contrast what this regime has (or hasn’t) done with the work of Bing Devine whose tenure as GM of the Mets spanned the years 1965 to 1967 between stints with the St. Louis Cardinals.

I would hardly call Devine’s work with the Mets perfect, especially since he had the final call on drafting Steve Chilcott over Reggie Jackson, but he was certainly an aggressive executive who while building up the farm system was also always looking to improve the team with trades and waiver pickups

In his 2004 book, Memoirs of Bing Devine, he states that in 1967 alone, the Mets made FIFTY-FOUR deals.

While many of the players acquired did little or nothing to help the Mets, seven of those players, Tommie Agee , Ron Taylor, Cal Koonce, Art Shamsky,  JC Martin, Al Weis  and Ed Charles were later instrumental in helping the 1969 Mets win a World Championship.

Earlier in Devine’s tenure, he had also dealt for Jerry Grote and Don Cardwell.

None of these players carried a high price tag or cost the Mets any promising young talent.

Add to Devine’s accomplishments that it was completely upon his recommendation that George Weiss agreed to put their name in the hat in the Tom Seaver lottery and that he and assistant Joe McDonald persuaded Weiss to keep Jerry Koosman who he was ready to release after a poor season in the low minors.

Devine’s time with the Mets was relatively short, but he certainly accomplished a great deal in that time. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2007 at the age of 90 at his home in St. Louis.

Did You Know?

It was a trade engineered by Bing Devine that had the greatest impact on Major League Baseball and changed the game forever.

On October 7, 1969, Devine traded star center fielder Curt Flood, along with Tim McCarver, Byron Browne and Joe Hoerner, to the Philadelphia Phillies for Dick Allen, Cookie Rojas and Jerry Johnson.

Flood refused to go to Philadelphia, ultimately challenging baseball’s reserve system that bound players to one team. His suit against baseball set the stage for free agency, and was undeniably one of the most pivotal events in the game’s history.

About the Author ()

I've been following the Mets since 1962. Have to admit I was a Yankee fan as a kid, but I found it to be so much more interesting to see how a young team could build itself up rather than following a team where the season didn't really begin until October. I remember them all - Casey, Marv, ChooChoo, Don Bosch, The Stork, etc. As the years went on, I became more and more of a Mets fan, and a Yankee hater once Steinbrenner and Billy Martin entered the picture.After retiring, I relocated with my family from Long Island to Chapel Hill, NC in 2005. I spend a lot of my time now checking out all the various Mets blogs. Fortunately, I still get to watch almost all of the Mets games (except those that are blacked out here).

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