Originally written on Mets Merized Online  |  Last updated 11/25/12
In 1960 and 1961, Jesse Gonder was a good hitting young catcher in the Yankee organization who had no chance of making a team that already had two of the best catchers in the league in Yogi Berra and Elston Howard. Plus Jesse had a reputation as one of the more outspoken black ballplayers at the time. The Yankees were beginning to add some black players to their team, but they were generally quiet guys like Howard and Harry “Suitcase” Simpson. Gonder may have also had a better chance at a good major league career if the DH rule existed in those days, since he was a lefthanded hitter with a sweet swing. But since his only position was catcher, and he frankly, wasn’t all that good defensively, he languished in the minor leagues. After leaving the Yankees organization, he put up great numbers in the PCL in 1962 and got a shot with the Reds, but the team already had a pretty good lefty-hitting catcher in Johnny Edwards. The 1963 Mets, of course, could use all the help they could get, an...
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