A lot of our readers are going to have to ask for help on this one. Your parents will be able to give you chapter and verse on this guy. Jerry Grote was the prime example of a catcher that I mentioned on the opening slide. He helped the Mets to their first World Series title in 1969 and their second appearance in 1973. He was tasked with holding together a young pitching staff with the likes of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and company and he did that job with gusto.
He was tough on his pitchers. Jerry Koosman told a story about how Grote would fire the ball back at your belt if the pitcher wasn’t listening to his calls. Let’s say that didn’t go over too well with Jerry:
"“I told him, ‘If you throw the ball back at me like that one more time I am going to break your f—ing neck,’” Koosman told Peter Golenbeck in Amazin’. “I turned around and walked back to the mound, and he never threw it back at me again. We had great respect for each other after that.”"
He was fiery and intense but it worked. Grote caught over 56% of the base stealers and posted a .991 fielding percentage. The Mets staff was second in the league in ERA and led the league in both victories and shutouts in 1969. He threw out over 50% of base stealers in two separate seasons and got close (49%) in another. Grote is also the leader in games played behind the plate for the Mets with 1,176.