In his 1978 card, Pat Zachry looked like a college kid. On the 1979 card pictured here, Zachry looks like a middle-aged man on a first-name basis with the clerk at the local liquor store. I wish I had a current photo of him. I’d like to think he still has the bushy beard but I have my doubts.
Of course there were always doubts about Zachry. Why would the Reds trade a guy who won 14 games as a rookie? What would he have done with the Mets if he was able to stay healthy? Would he have lost 20 games in 1981 without the strike? How could a guy be traded for Tom Seaver and Al Oliver and … Jorge Orta? And the biggest doubt – did he really pitch for the Phillies?
Zachry pitched decent enough for the Mets once they acquired him in 1977, certainly much better than he had earlier in the season with the Reds. The following year he was even better. Zachry made the All-Star team and not just solely because the Mets needed a representative. He was 10-4 with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.192 WHIP at the break.
Fittingly for the late 70s Mets, Zachry soon injured himself. He was mad at himself and decided to take his frustration out on a batting helmet by kicking it. And in a late 70s Mets kind of way – he kicked and missed and sat out the rest of the year.
Elbow problems limited him to just seven starts in 1979 but he went 5-1. During the ’78-79 seasons, when the Mets had a 129-195 (.398) record, Zachry was 15-7 (.682). Now wins are not the best way to evaluate a pitcher’s performance but in an era with little to cheer for, Zachry was someone upon which to wishcast.
Coulda, shoulda, woulda.