Jerry Grote, 1969 Mets World Series catcher, dies at 81 – Generic English

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Grote was “a tough catcher who pushed his teammates to throw harder, who could assault reporters and official scorers,” sports columnist George Vecsey of the New York Times wrote in 1981. He quoted Grote as saying, “I had a red neck. I was red all over.”

Gerald Wayne Grote was born on October 6, 1942 in San Antonio, Texas. He was the eldest of three children of Clarence and Leila Rittmann Grote.

In high school he pitched, caught and played third base, then enrolled at nearby Trinity University. Del Baker, a former Major League catcher, manager and coach, who was an advisor to Trinity’s baseball team, tutored him in catching skills.

The Houston Colt .45s (the future Astros), a team that entered the National League along with the Mets, signed Grote in their first season. He shuttled between Houston and the minors until he was traded to the Mets 1965 for pitcher Tom Parsons.

When batting over .300 midway through the season in 1968, Grote became only the second Mets player, after second baseman Ron Hunt, to make an All-Star Game starting lineup. He finished the season with a batting average of .282.

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