October 27, 2023

Former New York Yankees and Mets Pitcher Dead at 78

Why does it seem that with every passing day, another “star” from our childhood days is passing away?

The latest being Rob Gardner, who pitched for both the Yankees and Mets, as well as several other MLB teams.

Gardner passed away on Saturday at the age of 78. His obituary did not list a cause of death.

More Than a Cup of Coffee

Gardner spent all or part of five of his eight seasons in major league baseball in New York, pitching for either the Mets or Yankees.

He came up for his first cup of coffee in 1965, appearing in five games, starting four of them, with a very respectable 3.21 ERA. Unfortunately, he did not find his way into the win column that season.

That was actually the narrative for most of his career, unfortunately.

After spending two seasons with the Mets, he pitched for the Cubs and Indians, then spent a year with the Yankees in 1970. After one year with the Yankees, he went to Oakland for a season, then made his way back to New York and the Yankees for two more seasons, finishing up his career split between Oakland and Milwaukee in 1973.

His final season was a nightmare, finishing up with an 8.10 ERA in 13 appearances, but that was far from how the rest of his career had played out.

In four of his seasons, he had an ERA under 4.00, with his best season being 1971, where he finished with a 2.53 ERA, but still failed to register a win.

Overall, his record was 14-18, 4.35 ERA in 109 appearances, and 42 starts.

He logged 331 innings, with most of those coming in 1966 and 1972, when he started 31 games. His best season as a starter was in 1972, pitching for the Yankees when he went 8-4 with a 3.06 ERA.

After baseball, he joined a local fire department and later became a paramedic. In retirement, he split his time between Florida and Binghamton, doing exactly what he loved, fishing and golfing.

Rest in peace, sir.

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