Mets we’ve loved: Felix Millan

Felix MillanFelix Millan was a great Met.  Millan came to the Mets as part of the exchange with the Atlanta Braves before the 1973 season. The deal sent pitchers Gary Gentry and Danny Frisella to the Braves in exchange for Millan and pitcher George Stone.

Generally considered one of the best deals ever made by the Mets organization, it brought not only Stone (already profiled in an earlier article) but also Millan who added a professional offensive and defensive prowess to the team at second base.

Felix “Felix the Cat” Millan replaced Ken Boswell who had hit only .211 in the previous season.  In addition to playing stellar defense and stabilizing the double-play partnership (with Bud Harrelson), Millan became the team’s number two hitter and gained permanent recognition by Mets fans everywhere through his iconic batting stance.  He crouched and choked extraordinarily high up on his bat.  With this stance, he commanded superb control of his bat.

He set the team record for hits (185), sacrificed 18 times, and set the club record for singles with 155 He led the club in games played with 153, at-bats with 638, runs scored with 82, and and batting average with a .290 mark.  He was also the most difficult batter to strike out in the National League (doing so only 22 times that season).

Millan continued his solid play during the 1974 season.  He struck out only 14 times in 518 at-bats.  He played in 136 games, hit .268, had 33 RBIs, and scored 50 runs.  He also went 55 consecutive games without an error.

In 1975, as the overall team’s performance deteriorated, Millan’s solid performance remained intact.  He played in every game and set personal records with 676 at-bats, had 191 hits and 56 RBIs.  He was, once again, the toughest batter in the league to strike out, and ended the season with a .283 batting average.

In 1976, he continued his dependable play by appearing in 139 games.  Although a shoulder injury sidelined him for a while early in the season, he still tied John Milner for the club lead in doubles with 25 doubles.  He was the second toughest batter in the league to strike out (behind only Dave Cash).

After a lackluster start to the 1977 season, which included Manager Joe Frazier’s relegating a number of the team’s veterans to part-time status, the Mets senior management reacted by replacing Frazier with Joe Torre.  Torre immediately reinstalled Harrelson as the starting shortstop and Millan as the starting second baseman.

The end of Millan’s career came abruptly though on August 12th of that year, however, when Pirate catcher Ed Ott drove Millan into the ground at a play at second base.  Ott broke Millan’s collarbone in the process.  Doug Flynn would shortly thereafter step in as Millan’s successor.  Millan never played another game in the major league’s again.

For the Mets, Millan would finish with 681 games played 743 hits in 2,677 at-bats.  He hit .278 and knocked in 182 RBIs.

1 comment for “Mets we’ve loved: Felix Millan

  1. NormE
    August 11, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Thanks Jim. I have fond memories of Felix Millan and his professionalism.

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