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Jesse Gonder
vs. the Mets
Jesse Gonder
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Game Log Memories of
Jesse Gonder
Jesse Gonder
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 174 of 1043 players
Jesse Lamar Gonder
Born: January 20, 1936 at Monticello, Ark.
Died: November 14, 2004 at Oakland, Cal.
Throws: Right Bats: Left
Height: 6.05 Weight: 200

Jesse Gonder was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on November 18, 2004, November 19, 2011, and October 26, 2012.


First Mets game: July 6, 1963
Last Mets game: July 17, 1965

Share your memories of Jesse Gonder


October 3, 2001
Who could forget Jessie Gonder? Although his career with the Mets was way too short, his achievements will always be remembered. I still get goosebumps visualizing Jessie trotting around the bases after another majestic home run. My friends and I used to say "That's a Gonder" (a phrase stolen and modified by Howie Rose many years later) whenever Jessie connected. He was a true Met in every sense of the word.

October 4, 2001
Jesse's only problem as a catcher was being able to catch the ball. I never saw so many passed balls. Choo Choo Coleman was a better catcher.

Pistol Pete
February 27, 2002
I remember him coming up to the Yankees in the late 50's and hearing that he was a good hitter. He was a soo so hitter but compared to his fielding he was a GREAT HITTER. This guy knew the territory behind the plate in every park he played in , chasing passed ball after passed ball. He made Choo Choo Coleman look like a Hall of Famer, defensively

July 29, 2002
My most fond memory of Jesse Gonder was a towering home run he hit into the third row of the upper deck at the Polo Grounds in 1963. What was especially significant about this home run was that it landed underneath my seat. Me being only nine years old at the time, I could not react quickly enough, and someone else grabbed the ball, but nearly forty years have passed, and I've never gotten closer to one since!

February 3, 2003
One of the best banners at the Polo Grounds: UP YONDER WITH GONDER

November 15, 2003
Every year I kept getting his baseball card in triples. One time I got two Gonders in one pack of 5. He was with the Pirates.

January 4, 2004
I grew up in Chicago, but became a Mets fan in 1964 (too many just misses for the White Sox). Jesse Gonder became my favorite player and to this day he still is. (had something to do with a paper ball).

I remember Harry Walker not liking him in Pittsburgh. If only he could have come back to the Mets, they might have swept Baltimore in '69 instead of losing a game.

It's great to see he's still remembered...

Feat Fan
January 11, 2004
Gonder was one of a gazillion players who played for both the METS and YANKEES. I fondly remember him and equate him with the noteworthy Larry Elliots, Danny Napoleons, Gary Krolls, Bobby Klausses of his time.

He could hit a bit topping .300 in PT duty and .270 as a regular... I remember him as a PIRATE in '66. The lineup had a bunch of .300 hitters and he backed up a fading Paglioroni and hit 7 homers in 160 at bats. Stat-O-Matic turned him into a HOMERUN machine and during one of our "leagues" he was drafted by one of the guys and went on to hit 41 dingers!

Boy, the things you remember!

October 23, 2004
I had the pleasure of meeting Jesse Gonder recently and was honored to be his nurse. He is so very kind and appreciative. What a great man he still is. God Bless him.

Ed K
November 18, 2004
R.I.P. to Jesse who passed away at age 68 in Oakland, CA on 11/14/04.

I always remember collecting baseball cards as a kid and Jesse was on the Topps all-rookie team at catcher in 1963 when he hit .302 in 126 at-bats. Of course, there was a dearth of rookie catchers that year but in 1963 the Mets had little else to crow about save Ron Hunt.

Bob Schwartz
September 24, 2005
Jesse Gonder did have some power, but he was as slow as molasses. In the Jim Bunning perfect game (Father's Day, 1964), Jesse hit a ball up the middle that ought to have been a hit, and it probably would have been a hit if anyone else had hit it. Instead, Phillies second baseman Tony Taylor dove for the ball and made a backhand stop, then was still able to turn around and throw Jesse out at first base. If anyone other than Jesse Gonder had hit that ball, Bunning would not have had his perfect game.

November 16, 2006
When I was 9, I met Jesse at a sporting goods store on Kissena Boulevard in Flushing. He had just had a big game winning hit and was in a great mood. I asked him to sign a football I was buying and he refused. My dad then asked him why, and Jesse's response was it was the wrong sport. My dad said how would that matter for a simple signature for a kid.

Jesse seemed a little stunned, then signed the football and signed a baseball card for me as well.

I'm not sure why this seemed to be an issue for him.

November 10, 2012
I have always enjoyed watching these all hit no field types prior to the DH coming into baseball. Teams like the Mets in the 1960's and 1970's were so hard up for talent guys like Gonder, Dave Kingman, Chuck Hiller and Joe Christopher had to be forced into the lineup in order to score runs. When a player has the hands of a blue claw crab but a nice swing of the bat some very entertaining baseball can result.

August 11, 2015
About Gonder's "hit" snagged by Tony Taylor in Jim Bunning's no-hitter: Wasn't Johnny Stephenson the Mets catcher that day? I think Stephenson caught and made the last out. Was Gonder even with the team at that point?

September 25, 2015
Bruce, you are correct that Johnny Stephenson made the last out in Jim Bunning's perfect game, but it was as a pinch-hitter.

As this site shows, Gonder was with the Mets from mid- 1963 through mid-1965.

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