Jim Bethke
vs. Other Teams
Game Log Pitching
Memories of
Jim Bethke
Jim Bethke
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 577 of 1043 players
James Charles Bethke
Born: November 5, 1946 at Falls City, Neb.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Height: 6.03 Weight: 185


First Mets game: April 12, 1965
Last Mets game: September 11, 1965

Share your memories of Jim Bethke


October 10, 2002
Jim Bethke had a great fastball when he came up. The only thing holding him back was control and he unfortunately never found it.

Feat Fan
April 10, 2004
18-year-old flame thrower retired undefeated at 2-0. I remember him on Kiner's corner. He appeared reticient and shy. Ralph appeared drunk!

February 10, 2005
I saw his name in the back of the '69 or '70 yearbook. It was a picture of a blackboard with the names of the players and the minor league teams they were playing for in the Mets system! This was 4-5 years after he pitched in the majors. The Mets saw something, to keep him around that long! What is he doing now? I've wondered how anyone could be in the majors at such a young age. Post decent numbers, and never get back. I see where someone wrote he was a flamethrower at 18. Did he hurt his arm? Or was he a victim of Steve Blass disease?

Jamey Bumbalo
January 26, 2006
His only claim to fame is appearing on one baseball card: with Tug McGraw and Ron Swoboda (their rookie card) and Dan Napoleon.

Ed K
January 24, 2007
The third of five pitchers to wear #41 for the Mets. Clem Labine, Grover Powell, Gordy Richardson, and, of course, Tom Seaver are the others.

Bob Beagley
May 10, 2007
Jim was my son's youth football coach here in Kansas City in 1990. He was working for the railroad as a train engineer last I was told. Jim worked well with kids. His son was a outstanding player with Oak Park High School back in the 90's.

Ed K
July 17, 2007
One other little known note about Jim Bethke: he may have been the only "bonus baby" ever signed by the Mets.

Before the creation of the Entry Draft, the owners created a rule in the 1950's to discourage large bonuses to sign prospects out of high school and college. The original rule was that a "bonus baby" had to be on the major league roster for two years before going to the minors.

The original rule was repealed but a revised version was passed in the 1960's which allowed a "bonus baby" to go to the minors for the rest of the sesaon in which he was signed but he then had to be on the major league roster the next season.

That is how Jim Bethke found himself on the Mets major league roster at the tender age of 18 years old in 1965. But before the season was over, the first Entry Draft was created (the Mets drafted Les Rohr) and the Bonus Baby rule was abolished. Jim Bethke got a ticket to the minors and never returned.

Kevin C. Delahanty, MD
July 19, 2008
I was looking through some of my old Mets memorabilia the other day and came across a NYPenn (Single A) "Hot Stove" program that was held in my hometown of Auburn, NY. The main speaker was Yogi Berra. He was just acquired by the Mets. I met him, ("Hi'ya kid."), and got him to sign my program. Bethke's signature and that of Tug McGraw are on there as well.

Gosh, wasn't life sweeter when you were a kid?

May 16, 2010
Jim Bethke was still hanging on in the minors as late as 1971, in the Royals system. By that time, he was a knuckleballer.

September 21, 2010
Jim was a great teammate at Auburn, and LOTS of fun.

"Scooter" Smith.
January 4, 2013
James Charles Bethke was born on November 5th 1946 in Falls City, Nebraska. The six foot right hander was signed as a bonus baby by the New York Mets in 1964. After one season in the rookie league and A ball he was invited to Spring Training 1965. He did well enough for the desperate Mets to give him a shot in the big leagues. Bethke was the youngest player in the league at age 18 and 26 years younger than team mate Warren Spahn.

The six foot three, right hander had a great fast ball but poor control. He made his debut finishing off the Opening Day loss to Don Drysdale and the Los Angeles Dodgers. On April 15th he came in to pitch in the top of the 10th inning of a 4-4 tie in a game at Shea Stadium against the Houston Astros. He walked Joe Morgan and then got Al Spangler to ground into a double play. The Mets won the game and Bethke earned his first win as Bobby Klaus hit a walk-off HR.

On May 2nd Bethke earned his second and final career win, when Ed Kranepool singled home the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning after he had pitched two scoreless innings. That year he also spent some time at AAA Buffalo going 1-5 with a 5.70 ERA. For New York he was 2-0 with a 4.28 ERA finishing up 12 games making 25 appearances.

Bethke would never pitch in the major leagues again, he pitched in the Mets minor leagues through 1970 and then finished his career in the Kansas City Royals organization. In eight minor league seasons he was 36-42 with a 3.36 ERA in 195 games.

Retirement: After his playing days he worked for the railroad in the Kansas City area and coached kids baseball.

Meet the Mets
  • All-Time Roster
  • Mug Shots
  • Player Awards
  • Transactions
  • Managers and Coaches
  • Mets Staff
  • Birthplaces
  • Oldest Living Mets
  • Necrology
  • Games
  • Game Results
  • Walkoff Wins and Losses
  • Post-Season Games
  • No-Hitters and One-Hitters
  • All-Star Games
  • Opponents and Ballparks
  • Daily Standings
  • Yearly Finishes
  • Mayor's Trophy Games
  • Stats
  • Interactive Statistics
  • Team Leaders
  • Decade Leaders
  • Metscellaneous
  • Fan Memories
  • Mets Uniforms
  • Uniform Numbers
  • About Us
  • Contact us
  • FAQ

  • Copyright 1999-2018, The Ultimate Mets Database