They weren’t related but shared a name and a Polo Grounds locker room for the 1962 Mets, becoming one of the mildly amusing sidelights in that sadly comic debut season.
That’s Robert Lane Miller on the left. He came to the Mets in the expansion draft from St. Louis, where he was a 1957 Bonus Baby and though unproven at the major league level, was just 23 with a promising right arm. Observers of the ’62 squad would say Bob L. Miller (No. 24 in your scorecards) had some of the best “stuff” on staff, but they also felt he hadn’t handled adversity well despite getting his share of it with a 1-12 record. He was traded after the season to the Dodgers and quietly began building a solid resume as a relief pitcher. Miller wound up pitching for 17 seasons for 11 different teams — including the Mets again in 1973 and ’74, when he suited up in No. 30. In retirement Miller became the first pitching coach in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays, and was a scout for the Giants when he was killed in an auto accident in 1993.
His roundfaced teammate to the right was Robert Gerald Miller, also a former Bonus Baby (Detroit, 1953) but a lefthanded minor-league journeyman when acquired by the ’62 Mets in midseason.Bob G. pitched exclusively in relief for the ’62 Mets, including five times in relief of Bob L. Miller, racking up a 2-2 record but a 7.08 earned-run average that year, wearing No. 36. He was released shortly after the season and never pitched in the majors again, but confessed to reporters he was often mistaken for his more accomplished teammate.
BIG thanks to longtime MBTN supporter Ed A. for providing the cards (he sent along even more cool stuff we’ll get to). And stay tuned for ruminations on the Bobby Joneses, Pedro Martinezes and Mike Marshalls.
Met roster genius Jason writes in to point out that Carlos Muniz’s arrival with the Mets, while late in the season, isn’t the latest in history.
His addition to the 40-man roster Sept. 19 is the 3rd-latest ever made: In 1973, the Mets added reliever Bob L. Miller 30 to the 40 on Sept. 23. But the latest arrival to the 40 was Doc Medich 22, claimed off waivers from Seattle on Sept. 26, 1977.
Muniz has yet to appear for the Mets, and there’s no guarantee he will, but if he does he’ll place somewhere in the list below of latest-debuting Mets of all time, again courtesy of Jason:
Mets Debuts after September 19:
TBA Carlos Muniz
9/20/70 Dean Chance
9/20/80 Scott Holman
9/21/68 Duffy Dyer
9/21/72 Joe Nolan
9/22/62 Ed Kranepool
9/24/88 David West
9/24/06 Phil Humber
9/27/77 Dan Norman
9/29/77 Doc Medich
9/29/82 Ronn Reynolds
9/29/93 Kenny Greer
9/30/90 Chris Jelic
10/2/01 Mark Corey
10/3/04 Joe Hietpas
10/6/85 Randy Myers
Thanks to eBay fiends Gordon, Pete and Jason who all shot us a copy of a Cubs scorecard up for bid on E-bay from the final series of the 1973 season, confirming long-held suspicions that Bob L. Miller wore No. 30 in his second go-round with the Mets. Miller was an original 1962 Met and the team’s first wearer of the No. 24 jersey but was cashiered after a 1-12 season for what one writer cracked was “half an infield” — Tim Harkness and Larry Burright — only to go on to a pretty fair career as a reliever for eight more teams and 11 more years before returning to the Mets in a waiver deal for the final two weeks of the 1973 season. By then, his No. 24 belonged to Willie Mays.
As the Winter Meetings begin and the possibility of seing the Mets’ first-ever No. 75 are high, the Mets welcomed back Tom Glavine 47 and bid farewell to free agent Chris Woodward 4, Cliff Floyd 30, Steve Trachsel 29, Chad Bradford 53 and Roberto Hernandez 39. Of these men, we’ll obviously miss Floyd most of all, whom we wouldn’t have guessed would grow so Metly when he arrived in the Winter Meetings four years ago. The Mets are also expected to name a third-base coach shortly, seeing as Manny Acta 3 a few weeks back was named manager of the Washington Nationals. The Mets reportedly are considering Howard Johnson and Gary Carter, among others, to take Acta’s role.