Glancing Back, and Remembering Gary Gentry
In his first major league season, Gary Gentry pitched for a championship team: the 1969 Miracle Mets. He was an integral part of the New York Mets’ triumph that season. And pitching for a team for which no success was anticipated, Gentry’s success, so early in his career, was miraculously instant.
Gentry was selected by the Mets in the third round of the 1967 amateur draft after a standout college career. He won 12 games for Jacksonville of the International League in 1968 and found his way onto the Mets’ starting rotation in 1969, going 13-12 in 35 starts during his 1969 rookie season. He posted a 3.43 ERA that year, with six complete games, three shutouts and 154 strikeouts in 233.2 innings pitched. Already a workhorse at age 22, he teamed with fellow starters Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman for one of the most formidable trios of starters in the National League, one of genuine championship caliber.
In the 1969 World Series, Gentry elevated his pitching from good to clutch. He was the starter and winner of the third game of the Series, combining with Nolan Ryan for a four-hit shutout that beat the Baltimore Orioles and Jim Palmer 5-0.
Gentry would never again have such a memorable season. He was 9-9 for the Mets in 1970 with a 3.68 ERA, and was 12-11 in 1971, posting a 3.23 ERA while pitching three shutouts among eight complete games. His record slipped to 7-10 in 1972, and he was traded to the Atlanta Braves in deal that brought Felix Millan to New York. He suffered from an elbow injury in posting a 4-6 record in 1973. Over the next two seasons, Gentry appeared in only 10 games for the Braves, going 1-1. He was released after the 1975 season, and retired at age 28.
Gentry posted a 46-49 record in seven big league seasons. His career ERA was 3.56.