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Danny Napoleon
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Danny Napoleon
Danny Napoleon
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 292 of 1043 players
Daniel Napoleon
Born: January 11, 1942 at Claysburg, Pa.
Died: April 26, 2003 at Trenton, N.J.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Height: 5.11 Weight: 190

Danny Napoleon was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on April 1, 2004, August 11, 2007, August 12, 2007, August 13, 2007, August 14, 2007, and September 18, 2010.

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First Mets game: April 14, 1965
Last Mets game: October 2, 1966

Share your memories of Danny Napoleon


Richard Kissel
Bob Murphy used to tell this story about the time Napolean was in the minor leagues, where the lighting wasn't too good. Napolean, an outfielder, went back for a long fly ball which went over the fence. Danny pulled an extra ball he kept in his back pocket and pretended he caught it. Apparently, it did the trick and the batter was called out.

June 22, 2001
A legendary All-Ugly -- gotta get his picture up here! See Bouton's Ball Four for reference.

Mike Tenenbaum
August 3, 2001
For Brooklyn Cyclone fans, it may be useful to know that Danny Napoleon made the jump from the Mets' then affilate in the NY-Penn League at Auburn directly to the Mets in one season.

Calvin Young
January 11, 2002
Yes, Daniel Napolean was 1 of 5 rookies to make the jump after their first season in the minors in 1965. It was due to the Rule V draft was in 1964. First year players were eligible for the Rule V draft and had to be kept on the major league roster or they could be lost to the draft or on waivers.

Tug McGraw, Ron Swoboda, Jim Bethke and D. Buist were the others the kept due to the 1964 version of the Rule 5 draft -- previous mlb agreements used the letter V rather than #5. Dennis Musgraves was the lone signee who was protected.

He hit .340+ with 9 home runs in the NYPenn League.

James Caldwell
August 5, 2002
Napoleon won a game with a ninth inning hit and Casey Stengel's sound bite for the press was "Vive la France!" Casey was the greatest!

October 3, 2003
I agree with the person who said we gotta get Danny's picture up here. Ever see his baseball card? That is one meeeeeean looking dude.

Old Timer
November 10, 2003
Ugliest Met I can Remember. Maybe Don Mossi is only other MLer close to being this puke-ugly.

Kevin C. Delahanty, MD
May 22, 2004
I was 10 years old, living in Auburn, NY, when I met Danny Napolean. He was tearing up the league and clearly the most popular member of the team (The Auburn Mets). After a game one night, a family friend asked me if I wanted to meet the team. Without missing a beat I asked if I could meet Danny. I was escorted to the clubhouse and there, walking down the corredor was the biggest, blackest man I've ever seen in a whiter-than-white uniform. All I wanted to do was say hello and maybe shake his hand but was dumbstruck, silent and immobile. He smiled and offered to sign a baseball. I was thrilled and was able to keep that ball as a sacred momento for a year or two.

One day I found that my older brother Brian and a friend were playing catch in the driveway with that very baseball. Danny's signature was no longer visible.

Needless to say, I still look back on that clubhouse encounter with all of the fondness a young boy can muster, and NEVER miss an opportunity to remind my brother of his sacrilege!

Baseball memories are unlike all others. As Mr. Costner said, "It's perfect."

Feat Fan
September 25, 2004
I can still picture that baseball card from 1965 with D.Nap's smiling mug.

February 15, 2005
It was in San Francisco, late April in 1965 when Danny Napoleon hit a game winning HR and Casey said nonchalantly "Vive La France." At that point in the season no one realized that Napoleon was a minor league player and the Mets were embarking on another disastrous season.

Bob P
March 2, 2005
Actually, Napoleon never hit a home run in 130 major league at bats. A check at historicbaseball.com says that the hit was a pinch-hit, three run triple on April 24, 1965. The win gave Casey Stengel his 3,000th victory as a manager on all professional levels.

Danny only had seven RBI in his career, and almost half of them came in that game!

RIP, Danny. He passed away in April of 2003 at age 61. Danny went to Rider College, as did a Yankee in the mid-60s, Al Downing.

Choo Choo
March 3, 2005
I was lucky enough to meet Danny about six months prior to his death. He was a very nice, humble man. I didn't find out about his death until about a year and a half later. I was surprised that it went unnoticed. Not even a mention in the Mets media guide in the all time roster. When I told Ron Swoboda about it at FanFest at Shea, he was shocked. He had no idea. Sad. Thanks for being a gentleman Danny.

Jamey Bumbalo
February 8, 2006
In addition to Casey's "Vive la France" comment, he deserves to be remembered for his absolutely awesome first-year minor league stats: 36 homers, 134 RBI (in 126 games), .351 average. If only he could have approached that with the Mets...

CDR Kevin C. Delahanty MC USN
February 12, 2006
I would agree with Jamey's impressions. As a kid I saw a bunch of that offensive power. Pretty good glove as well, if memory serves me. However, this was all with the Auburn (NY) Mets, of the NY-Penn A league. He was plucked way too early, skipping development in AA & AAA league play, due to his bat and never given the chance to properly develop. Due to the anemic status of the MLB club in those days, I'm sure the front office was grabbing for anything and anyone. Sadly, this impatience cost Mr. Napoleon any real chance of success. He's still my first in-the-flesh baseball hero.

Richard Puter, Grand Junction, CO
April 19, 2006
I have but one memory of Danny Napoleon and that is from his one year in AAA ball with the Denver Bears. I was but a high school kid at the time, but Danny made a play that forever cemented itself in my memory! I don't consider myself a die-hard or even avid pro baseball fan, which makes this memory even more impressive to me.

One night at Bears Stadium in Denver, the Bears were playing another Pacific Coast League team. Danny hit a gapper in the spacious outfield of Bears Stadium and tried to turn a sure double into a triple. It was a bad decision on his part as the relay throw to third had the 3rd sacker waiting for him with the ball before he was 15 feet from the bag. Sure out, right? Wrong! Danny executed the most amazing hook slide I've ever seen and somehow managed to get his hand in under the tag. I think it was the most fantastic play I've ever seen in baseball and a tribute to his prowess on the diamond. I was sorry to hear he died a few years back. I hope this memory of his athleticism will bring a smile to his family members! If he was as great a person as he was a ballplayer, it was indeed a unique individual.

September 8, 2006
Danny Napoleon made the first great hit of my early Met fandom. I'd been watching the Mets on TV since 1962. Went to a few games. Never once saw a walk-off HR or any other type of hit--until Napoleon hit that triple in the top of the 9th against San Francisco. It was the most out-of-character moment in the history of the franchise. The Mets NEVER came back. Though it had no effect on the standings, I rank it up there with the 10 greatest Mets moments.

Raymond Hatfield
October 1, 2006
When I was a young boy in the late 60's and early 70's I saw Dan play with the Arkansas Travelers, a AA team for St. Louis Cardinals. I remember him as a large man. One particular night if memory serves right he had a good night on the field. That night I got a foul ball and my father let me wait at the players exit to get autographs. I was able to get 8 autographs including Dan's. I still have that ball to this day. I know his career was short lived but I will allways remember that night. Just as a footnote playing that night also was Jose Cruz Sr, I also was able to get his autograph.

AJ Naples
September 16, 2007
I worked with Danny Napolean in Wilmington, Delaware at General Motors, really nice guy. He had a knee injury and growing family to support . He decided to retire and raise his family. A truly nice man, he will be missed.

Tim Herndon
October 19, 2011
A shrimpy 10 or 11-year-old in Little Rock, my first baseball hero was Danny Napoleon. (I loved Hank Aaron at the time, but never met him.)

Here's how I met Danny: My big brother took me to the Arkansas Traveler (Texas League, AA Cardinal farm club) clubhouse to see if we could meet him. It was a long shot. We actually knocked on the door, and my brother asked if Mr. Napoleon would come see us. Well, he came, and I was totally mystified, speechless and paralyzed; there was no objective communication to be had.

Danny said, "Wait here". He stepped inside, and reappeared with a bat. Not a broken bat, but a new Louisville Slugger "DN" Professional Model. He was obviously super nice.

I actually tried his bat in Babe Ruth League (because I was young and stupid and apt to try anything), and my coaches laughed their butts off (because the bat was almost as big as me). It would take one heck of a stout dude to play ball with that big honkin' bat. I loved Danny Napoleon, and yes I still have his bat.

February 13, 2012
Daniel Napoleon was raised outside of Southern New Jersey then played baseball at Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey. After attending Ryder University he was signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in 1964. That year he hit .351 with 36 HRs and was named Rookie of the Year in the NY Penn League.

In 1965 he made the Mets club out of Spring Training, making his d├ębut in the second game of the season as an 11th inning pinch hitter against the Houston Colt 45's. He came to bat after Ron Swoboda had just hit a HR, Napoleon then singled in his first career at bat and scored a run on Cleon Jones' base hit. The Mets still took a 10-7 loss.

In just his third career at bat had his brightest moment in the big leagues, it came at San Francisco's Candlestick Park. Napoleon hit a game winning pinch hit triple off the Giants Bob Shaw, earning manager Casey Stengel his 3000th career victory.

Rick Lee
February 26, 2013
I just read some info on Dan. Let's set the record straight. Dan went to high school in Morrisville, Pa. Here he was an awesome four-sport athlete as he excelled in football, basketball, baseball and track. Dan was an all-league selection in baseball in his junior and senior year. He was very instrumental in leading the Morrisville Legion baseball squad to the state finals. After graduating from Morrisville, Dan attended Lincoln University and then transferred to Rider. I know this info because he played three of the sports for my dad Dick Lee.

Roland Smilnak
May 30, 2014
As a young boy, I grew up in Binghamton, N.Y. We were the Mets minor league team in the N.Y. League. I remember going to see the Auburn Mets play and Danny was the centerfielder. All I can say is a complete baseball player. Built like a middle linebacker and could run like a deer and could really tag the baseball. And always had that gentleman's smile. Not surprised to see him in the big leagues the next season.

Jennifer Simmons
August 11, 2015
He was probably the fan's favorite player of the late 1960s AA Arkansas Travelers. No one wanted him to move up because he was ours. Everything about him seemed big and lumbering and he often came up with the clutch hit.

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