01 Feb

fitting tribute

MLB Network did a nice tribute to former big leaguer Jeff Innis, who died Sunday at 59 from cancer. Old Jackson Mets fans will remember Innis, a skinny, sidearming right-hander who served two stints at Smith-Wills Stadium, in 1984 and again in ’86. He was humble and witty in those days — and an effective reliever for two good teams. MLBN’s Tom Verducci, who also wrote a piece for si.com about Innis, called him a “calm port in a busy storm” with the New York Mets of the late ’80s and hailed his “humility and kindness.” Other tributes from former teammates echoed those sentiments. Innis said in a 1986 interview that he was buried in the bullpen at Illinois when he decided to start throwing sidearm. Despite a low-80s fastball, he showed enough potential that the Mets drafted him in the 13th round in 1983. Innis put up a 4.25 ERA and eight saves for the Texas League champion JaxMets in 1984 and, after being bumped back to A-ball in 1985, became the closer (2.45 ERA, 25 saves) for the ’86 team that reached the TL title series. Innis was never a star during seven seasons with the big Mets, but he was a good pitcher: 3.05 ERA in 288 games. He was also a good guy who evidently touched a lot of lives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: