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We are saddened to learn of the passing of Hobie Landrith, the first ever New York Met, who died at the age of 93.
Landrith was born in 1928 in Richmond, Virginia, and his passion for baseball began at an early age. He started playing for his high school team before joining the semipro team the Richmond Colts in his late teens. He then spent two years in the United States Army before beginning his professional baseball career with the Danville Leafs, in the Appalachian League in 1949.
Landrith quickly developed a reputation as a talented catcher, which led to him being signed to the Cincinnati Reds in 1950. However, he struggled to break into the team due to the presence of the legendary catcher, Roy Campanella, in their ranks. After a few seasons with minor league affiliates, Landrith was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1954, where he spent a season before being traded again, this time to the San Francisco Giants in 1955.
But it wasn’t until 1962, at the age of 34, that Landrith made his debut for the New York Mets, who had only been established the previous year. Landrith’s arrival at the Mets was significant, as he became the first player acquired by the team, and he helped to establish the fledgling franchise as a force to be reckoned with.
Landrith played just one season with the Mets, but his impact on the team was significant. He played in 80 games and hit .218, but his ability to mentor young pitchers and set an example for the rest of the team was invaluable. In later years, Landrith often remarked that playing for the Mets was one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences of his career.
After leaving the Mets, Landrith played for a number of other teams, including the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox, before retiring in 1963. In his career, Landrith played in 10 seasons, appearing in 726 games and batting .233 with 27 home runs and 163 driven in.
Following his retirement from baseball, Landrith remained involved in the sport, working as a scout for a number of teams, including the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals. He was particularly successful in this role and was responsible for identifying a number of top talent in the game, including future Hall of Fame pitcher, Goose Gossage.
Landrith’s contribution to the sport of baseball was recognized in 1998 when he was inducted into the Richmond Braves Hall of Fame, and again in 2006 when he was honored at a special ceremony at Shea Stadium.
Landrith will be remembered for his love of the game and his unwavering commitment to excellence, both on and off the field. He will also be remembered as a pioneer and trailblazer, paving the way for future generations of players and inspiring countless others to pursue their dreams.
In the end, Landrith’s legacy is one of resilience, dedication, and determination. He was a true icon of the sport and will be deeply missed by fans, friends, and family alike.