BILLINGS, Mont. — Les Rohr, a highly touted prospect who briefly pitched for the champion 1969 Mets, has died. He was 74.
The Cremation & Funeral Gallery said Rohr died at home on Nov. 6. A cause of death wasn’t listed.
Rohr was the second overall pick in Major League Baseball’s initial amateur draft in 1965. Despite a promising start, the 6-5 left-hander never achieved the success of the first choice, future All-Star outfielder Rick Monday.
Rohr went 2-3 with a 3.70 ERA in six games, four of them starts, in parts of three seasons for the Mets.
A couple of those outings, though, were noteworthy.
Rohr won his big league debut in September 1967 against Los Angeles. He then excelled in his final start of the year, throwing eight shutout innings at Dodger Stadium to outpitch future Hall of Famer Don Drysdale.
Rohr was featured on a 1968 Topps baseball card of NL Rookie Stars with Astros outfielder Ivan Murrell.
In his season debut, Rohr relieved in the opening week during a marathon the Mets lost 1-0 in 24 innings to Houston. He went the final 2 1-3 innings at the Astrodome and was the losing pitcher, and hurt his arm in the process. He pitched just once more in the majors that year.
Rohr made only one more big league appearance, as a reliever in late September of 1969 against Pittsburgh. It was a game started by Nolan Ryan -- who was picked by the Mets in the 12th round of that 1965 draft -- and the last batter Rohr retired was Pirates great Roberto Clemente on a grounder.
Rohr wasn’t on the postseason roster for the Miracle Mets. Watching from the bullpen and bench, he celebrated on the field at Shea Stadium when the Mets beat Baltimore to win the World Series.
After one more season in the minors, a back injury ended the career of a hard thrower with a touch of wildness.
Though Rohr never received a World Series ring, he was proud of his connection to the team. For years, the license plates on his pickup truck in Montana read: 69 METS.
"I don’t consider myself a Miracle Met, because I really did nothing," he once told the Billings Gazette. "I was just lucky to be there."
Born in England while his father was serving in the U.S. Air Force, Rohr later spent over 30 years in the concrete business and coached youth teams in the Billings area.