Hobie Landrith was a former Major League Baseball catcher who played for seven teams between 1950 and 1963. He died on April 4, 2023, at the age of 93.
Landrith is best known for being the original Met because the New York Mets selected him first in the expansion draft of 1961.
Who was Hobie Landrith?
Landrith was born in Decatur, Illinois, on March 16, 1930, and raised in Detroit, Michigan. After leading his Detroit team to a second-place finish in the 1948 National Junior Amateur Federation Tournament, he was spotted by the Cincinnati Reds.
He played for the Reds from 1950 until 1955, when he made his MLB debut. Before signing on with the San Francisco Giants in 1959, he later spent a few brief seasons with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals.
Landrith enjoyed his most prosperous season With the Giants in 1959, batting.272 with nine home runs and 43 runs batted in.
Sam Jones and Mike McCormick both threw no-hitters that year, and he caught both of them. He stayed with the Giants until the expansion draft in 1961 when the Mets took him with the first pick.
Landrith’s Career Statistics and Reputation as a Defensive Specialist
On April 11, 1962, when the Mets played their inaugural game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Landrith got the start behind the plate. He failed to record a hit in four at-bats and made a mistake as the team lost 11-4.
Before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles in May, he only participated in 23 games for the Mets. Before quitting the game after the 1963 season, he later played for the Washington Senators.
Landrith batted 233 With 34 home runs and 203 runs throughout his career; He was a pitcher-handling backup catcher primarily valued for his defensive powers.
Although he was never an All-Star, he did have a memorable game with the Mets on May 12, 1962, when he hit a walk-off home run off Milwaukee Braves pitcher Warren Spahn.
Landrith worked as a scout for several teams after his playing career before coaching for the Senators in 1964. He passed away on April 4, 2023, in Sunnyvale, California, where he resided. His wife, three children, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren are still alive.
Landrith will always be known as the first Met, a title he proudly and humorously embraced.
Hobie Landrith was an accomplished baseball player renowned for his strong defensive abilities. Throughout his playing career, he was a member of numerous teams and was regarded as one of the top catchers of his era.
He was inducted into the San Francisco Giants Wall of Fame and the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame after his baseball career was over. He also worked as a scout for several teams. He will be regarded as one of the all-time greats in the sport.