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Mets First World Series Champion Jerry Grote Passes Away Post-Surgery

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Clear Facts

  • Jerry Grote, the significant catcher for the Mets’ first World Series championship team in 1969, passed away due to respiratory failure following a heart procedure.
  • Grote’s career included participation with the Mets’ 1969 championship team and the 1973 team that won the National League pennant. He spent the majority of his 16-year career with the Mets.
  • A standout defensive catcher, Grote was part of two All-Star teams during his career and holds the franchise’s record for games played at catcher.

Jerry Grote, a critical player for the New York Mets’ first World Series victory in 1969, died on a Sunday afternoon. His wife, Cheryl, announced his death due to respiratory failure post a heart procedure on Facebook.

Cheryl expressed her sorrow, stating, “It’s with deep sadness that I share this news with all of Jerry’s fans. Today, April 7, 2024 at 4:29 p.m., we lost our cherished catcher.” She acknowledged all the support and memories, adding, “He battled fiercely until the end, as we all expected he would. He is now at peace.”

The Mets organization, expressing their condolences, revealed that Grote passed away at the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute in Austin, Texas.

Grote’s notable career with the Mets lasted a decade, from 1966 until he was traded to the Dodgers in 1977. His commitment to the franchise remained unwavering as he played for both the Mets’ 1969 championship team and the 1973 squad that won the National League pennant.

Grote was recognized as one of the best defensive catchers in baseball during his days, earning two All-Star team selections and becoming the franchise’s leader in games played at catcher.

In a statement, Mets owners Steve and Alex Cohen expressed their grief over Grote’s loss. “The Mets Hall of Famer was the pillar of a budding Mets team that won the hearts of New York City in 1969. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Cheryl, and their family and friends.”

Grote’s ability to guide young players was well-respected, particularly his role in developing some of the most successful pitchers in Mets history.

Commending Grote’s expertise, Jerry Koosman, a pitcher for the Mets, reminisced, “He was a superb defensive catcher. It was a joy working with him.”

Grote embodied the spirit of the 1969 Miracle Mets, a team that astounded the world by defeating the Orioles in the World Series to secure the franchise’s first championship. Grote’s belief that the team could accomplish this was evident when he stated, “I felt we had the pitching and the defense. All we needed was that one more person.”

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Grote’s standing was so noteworthy in baseball circles that the Hall of Famer Johnny Bench once said he would have to play third base if he were on the same team as Grote, who would be the catcher.

Grote, born in San Antonio, began his career with Houston at the age of 20 in 1963 and concluded it with the Dodgers and Royals in 1981. He played in 1,421 games, recording 1,092 hits with a .252 batting average.

His contributions to the sport earned him an induction into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991, and he was included in the Mets Hall of Fame a year later, in 1992.

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