Jon Matlack

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Jon Matlack
Jon Matlack 2012.jpg
Matlack in 2012
Born: (1950-01-19) January 19, 1950 (age 69)
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
July 11, 1971, for the New York Mets
Last MLB appearance
September 15, 1983, for the Texas Rangers
MLB statistics
Win–loss record125–126
Earned run average3.18
Career highlights and awards

Jonathan Trumpbour Matlack (born January 19, 1950) is an American former professional baseball player. He played as a left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. He was the fourth overall pick by the New York Mets in the 1967 Major League Baseball draft. Matlack also pitched for the Texas Rangers.

New York Mets[edit]

Matlack compiled 1,023 strikeouts and a 3.03 earned run average as one of the "Big Three" pitchers the New York Mets were built around in the 1970s, along with Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. Unfortunately, the Mets were also a light hitting team at the time,[1] and his 82–81 record is not nearly indicative of how well he pitched for the club.

Rookie of the Year[edit]

Matlack's best minor league season was 1968, when he went 13–6 with a 2.76 ERA for the Raleigh-Durham Mets of the Carolina League. During his fifth season in the Mets' farm system, Matlack debuted with the Mets in the second game of a July 11, 1971 double header with the Cincinnati Reds. He pitched seven innings, and left the game with a 3–2 lead, however, Tug McGraw and Tom Seaver were unable to close the game.[2] For the season, Matlack went 0–3 with a 4.14 ERA in seven appearances (six starts). His finest pitching performance was his last, when he gave up just one run in eight innings of work against the Pittsburgh Pirates.[3]

Matlack made the team out of spring training 1972, and got off to a 6–0 start with a 1.95 ERA in the first two months of the season. He ended the season with a 15–10 record and 2.32 ERA to win the National League Rookie of the Year award. On September 30, he gave up Roberto Clemente's 3000th, and final, career hit.[4]

On May 8, 1973, a vicious line drive off the bat of Marty Perez of the Atlanta Braves struck Jon's head so hard that the ball rebounded into the dugout. Matlack suffered a hairline fracture of his skull, but recovered quickly enough to return and pitch six shutout innings at Pittsburgh on May 19. He ended up winning 14 games for the National League champion Mets.

1973 NLCS & World Series[edit]

Matlack's record dipped to 14–16 in 1973, however, he was 5–1 from August 18 on, helping the Mets capture the National League East crown. Perhaps his most memorable moment with the Mets occurred on October 7, 1973 when he held the "Big Red Machine" to just two hits in Game 2 of the 1973 National League Championship Series. Both hits were by reserve outfielder Andy Kosco.[5]

He was equally impressive in the 1973 World Series, giving up just three hits in six innings in game one of the World Series, however, the Oakland A's scored two runs on a Félix Millán error in the third, and held on for the 2–1 victory.[6] He won game four, giving up just one run in eight innings.[7] However, he lost the seventh and decisive game of the series 5-2; in the third inning of that game, he gave up two-run home runs to both Bert Campaneris and Reggie Jackson—the only two home runs Oakland would hit the entire Series.[8]


Matlack was an All-Star for the Mets for the next three seasons, sharing MVP honors in the 1975 game with Bill Madlock.[9] In 1976, Matlack went 17–10 with a 2.95 ERA and a league leading six shutouts to finish sixth in N.L. Cy Young Award balloting.

In 1977, Matlack's record dipped to 7–15 with a 4.21 ERA (he had entered the season with a career ERA of 2.88) for a Mets team that lost 98 games and finished last in the N.L. East. Following the season, Matlack was included in a four team off-season trade that sent him to the Texas Rangers. The Rangers sent Adrian Devine, Tommy Boggs, and Eddie Miller to the Atlanta Braves, a player to be named later and Tom Grieve to the Mets and Bert Blyleven to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Mets received Willie Montañez from the Braves, and sent John Milner to the Pirates. The Pirates sent Al Oliver and Nelson Norman to the Rangers.[10] The Rangers later sent Ken Henderson (March 15, 1978) to the Mets to complete the trade.[11]

Texas Rangers[edit]

Matlack went 15-13 with a 2.27 ERA (second to Ron Guidry) and earned his first career save his first season in Texas, however elbow surgery limited him to just 13 starts in 1979. He rebounded to make 34 starts in 1980, one of which was on August 19, when he held George Brett, who was batting over .400, hitless, ending his 30-game hitting streak.[12]

Career stats[edit]

125 126 .498 3.18 361 318 97 30 3 2363 9789 2276 835 970 161 .254 1516 638 2.4 68 26 .952 .129


Matlack retired following the 1983 season. After four years away from the game, he was hired as pitching coach for the San Diego Padres' Arizona League affiliate. He also coached in the Chicago White Sox organization before he was hired as the Detroit Tigers' major league pitching coach in 1996. He was later hired as their minor league pitching coordinator. He spent the 2012 season as the minor league pitching coordinator for the Houston Astros.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kent Hannon (1976-09-13). "The Throes Of Frustration". Sports Illustrated.
  2. ^ "Cincinnati Reds 5, New York Mets 3". 1971-07-11.
  3. ^ "New York Mets 2, Pittsburgh Pirates 1". 1971-09-25.
  4. ^ "Pittsburgh Pirates 5, New York Mets 0". 1972-09-30.
  5. ^ "1973 National League Championship Series, Game 2". 1973-10-07.
  6. ^ "1973 World Series, Game 1". 1973-10-13.
  7. ^ "1973 World Series, Game 4". 1973-10-17.
  8. ^ "1973 World Series, Game 7". 1973-10-21.
  9. ^ "1975 All-Star Game". 1975-07-15.
  10. ^ Matlack, Milner go in four‐Team Trade
  11. ^ Mets get Ken Henderson, outfielder, from Rangers
  12. ^ "Kansas City Royals 4, Texas Rangers 3". 1980-08-19.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Anthony McCarron (2008-11-29). "Where are they now? Former Met Jon Matlack Can't Stay Away from the Game". New York Daily News.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ralph Treuel
Detroit Tigers pitching coach
Succeeded by
Rick Adair