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Jerry Grote
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Jerry Grote
Jerry Grote
Inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame, 1992
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 23 of 974 players
Grote
Gerald Wayne Grote
Born: October 6, 1942 at San Antonio, Tex.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Height: 5.10 Weight: 185

Jerry Grote has been the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup 35 times, most recently on August 31, 2011.

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First Mets game: April 15, 1966
Last Mets game: August 23, 1977





Share your memories of Jerry Grote

HERE IS WHAT OTHER METS FANS HAVE TO SAY:

Paul
Living here in Cincinnati, I have to put up with constant crap about what a great catcher Johnny Bench was. Granted, Bench was a better hitter. But no one will ever convince me that Grote wasn't the best behind-the-plate (cacthing, throwing out runners, handling pitchers) man of his time.

Mike
Lou Brock said Grote was the toughest catcher to steal against; I think that says it all. Not as much offense as Johnny Bench, but defensively one of the most under rated.

Stuart Gotz
I worked at Shea Stadium back in the late sixties and through the seventies. Jerry Grote was one of the nicest guys on the team. I remember accidentally knocking him over when I kicked open a steel door and he was very understanding and nice about the whole thing. Later that week I found horse dung all over my car and I'm ashamed to say that I suspected Grote, but it turned out to be Matlack.

Kevin Mc
Johnny Bench once said: If Jerry Grote played for the Reds, I'd be playing 3rd base.

Robert Senécal
I was the Montreal Expos visiting team batboy in 1971 at Jarry Park in Montreal. So I had the chance to see and talk to Jerry Grote. He is a gentlemen with a big "G" I remember a night when it was raining like hell and it took about five hours to play the regular game. So after the game my job was consisting to clean all the players and coaches spikes. When I found Jerry's spike it was about two inches of dirt and I did a very good job on cleaning them. So when Jerry arrive the day after and saw his spikes he ask me if I was the man who clean his spikes and I told him it was me, so he thank me very much and told some other player to take a look at the good job that I've made and he gave me a $5.00 tip. I'll always remember that not that he gave me money but that he told everybody in the room that I made a good job. Thanks again Jerry...
Bob Senecal.

Jerry O
January 22, 2001
I haven't seen another catcher in the past 30 years who worked as hard as Grote did defensivly. Backing up first base seems to be lost cause today. I remember seeing Grote balling out his pitchers for something they did, them seeing the pitcher come back and really kick butt. Strong arm and accurate. Some say underated, but whenever there is a discussion of great defensive catchers, I hear his name brought up. Started thinking about my '69 heros again tonight, because of the passing of Tommie Agee. Hope Jerry is doing well.

Won Doney
July 14, 2001
He was the best defensive catcher the Mets ever had. Before he came, that position was almost a joke for the Mets. He was the first of the good catchers on the Mets. It was him, then Stearns, then Carter, then that one season for Hundley ('96), and finally Piazza.

Celebrity Bowling
July 24, 2001
Growing up as a Mets fan in the late 60's I didn't see many bases stolen for the first few years that I watched them on TV (and occasionally at Shea). The Mets didn't have any base stealing threats and very few people tried to run on Grote. I have heard that Johnny Bench once said that if Jerry Grote was a Red that he (Bench) would have been a third baseman. No one covered a bunt better, few threw out base runners better, and he called a great game. Seaver always thought Grote was the best catcher he ever saw (and he was teamed with Bench and Fisk later in his career).

Joe Figliola
September 25, 2001
If Rick Ferrell, whose career was absolutely worthless, is in the Hall of Fame, then the new governing board should consider guys like Jerry Grote. Jerry may have lacked the offensive punch of a Bench or Carter, but man did he call a great game! And he was a lot better defensively than those guys, too!

I remember seeing Jerry, along with Willie Mays, Teodoro Noel Martinez, and Jon Matlack at Prospect Park in Brooklyn in 1972. They were signing FREE autographs at a place that was FREE to get into. (Those were the days!) Anyway, Jerry was on the DL with an arm injury and he looked ZONKED! I don't know if the heat or the prescription drugs got to him, but he did not disappoint this then nine year-old.

Game memories? I remember Jerry's lone homer of 1973. It was his first career grand slam against San Diego. Despite very limited power, I thought he handled the stick quite well. Behind the plate? That was an entirely different, but greater, story.

Jim from Floral Park
February 14, 2002
I can say without hesitation that Grote was the best defensive catcher I've ever seen. Like most catchers, he wasn't a speedy runner at all, but he had the agility and reflexes of a tiger from behind the plate - especially when fielding bunts. He also had an exceptional throwing arm and called a great game.

I believe he lived somewhere in the Glen Oaks area of Queens during the season, and I had the pleasure of meeting him (and Bobby Pfeil too) one day at my school. I was 12 years old at the time (June '69), and you can't imagine what a thrill it was for me to meet my favorite Met! I remember that he handled himself very well even though he was surrounded by about 50 adoring kids. He was friendly and approachable, and seemed to enjoy the attention almost as much as we enjoyed seeing him in person.

Jim Snedeker
March 11, 2002
Good old dependable Jerry Grote. His name was synonomous with the Mets in the 70's. Trouble is, like with Seaver, having him around for so long spoiled me. I just figured that all pitchers and catchers should be about as good as them.

I remember seeing his young son chewing a mouthful of hot dog in a TV commercial in 1970. I think it was Nathan's. (Or whoever was the offical Mets hot dog back then.) And during the '73 pennant drive, Jerry was one of myriad players who got key hits.

What's he doing now? He wants to be a manager. He's even got resume posted on his website, www.jerrygrote.com (I don't know--it kinda hurts that one of your boyhood icons is now begging for work.)

Andy from Rego Park
March 12, 2002
A tough Texan, Grote was reknowned for chewing out pitchers that had the nerve to shake him off. When he came back with the Royals in '81, he drove in seven runs in a single game. At least then (if not still) it was a Royals team record. Dismissed from a minor league managing stint by the Tigers because they thought he was too tough on their young players.

Rob J.
April 3, 2002
Jerry Grote was awesome behind the plate. Another item worth mentioning is the fact that he had a knack for getting that clutch single in the 7th or 8th inning to tie the game or put the Mets ahead.

Don Cestaro
June 1, 2002
I grew up in Flushing, and could see Shea Stadium from my bedroom window. As 7 year old, I thrilled to the site of my Mets winning the World Series. I was short and skinny as a kid, but had to be catcher on my CYO baseball teams because my favorite player was Jerry Grote. His defense just awed me, especially the way he followed the runner up the first base line, and always seemed to be stride for stride with them! I always wore his number, and wanted to be like him.

I grew up thinking the catcher had to bat eighth, because it seemed no Met catcher ever batted higher, and Jerry was no exception, but his value to those Met teams can't be overstated. He called a great game, and I'm sure opposing teams strategized around his ability to pounce on bunts and throw out would-be stealers.

Thanks for the great memories, Jerry!

Steve C
August 2, 2002
I remember meeting him at EJ Korvettes on Long Island back in 1970. I was 11 yrs old. I bought the record album the '69 Mets had made and he signed it. He shook my hand and I remember not wanting to wash it!

James Caldwell
August 6, 2002
Does anyone else remember Grote with the Dodgers in either the 77 or 78 World Series against the Yankees? I believe he twice threw runners out at 2nd base on attempted Yankee sac bunts. As a Met fan, that was the highlight not only of that particular World Series, but that entire season.

Rich Kissel
September 21, 2002
Jerry Grote was the best defensive catcher of his era. That is saying a lot since Johnny Bench is from the same era. Jerry was a masterful handler of pitchers and a brilliant tactitian.

I can remember Jerry saying that he knew the opposing batters who would be satisfied with their one hit for the game. It was those hitters that Jerry wanted to get hits early in the game. Later, when the game was on the line, such guys were less apt to beat the Mets.

1969 Mets. Pitching and defense. That is what they were known for. They won 100 games. Jerry Grote was a huge part of the reason they won.

Metsmind
December 24, 2002
I can remeber Grote getting pissed about a particular umpires strike zone, and when he'd had enough, just forgetting to catch a pitch to wake the ump up. Yeah, Grote was a hardass, but you wanted him on your team for sure.

Bob R.
January 7, 2003
Jerry was a GREAT defensive catcher, as good as anybody in baseball at the time. And he was a pretty good hitter too. Very good at the hit and run. Didn't have a lot of power but hit a lot of sharp singles all over the field. He's not very well known anymore (except among old Mets fans) but Jerry deserves to be remembered as one of the best catchers of the late '60s and early '70s.

Kevin McLaughlin
February 27, 2003
One of the all time Met greats, no doubt. I also remember that WS vs the Yankees. Seaver was doing color, and was going on about what a great play the catcher made, throwing the runner out at second on a sac attempt, then he does it again! It didn't seem like a big deal to me at the moment, because I saw that type of play all the time. Then I realized the Dodger catcher was Grote, and I had been spoiled all those years.

Another memory. The Mets had just lost a close game, with Seaver pitching, because of a Grote passed ball in the 9th let the winning run in. Well Grote let Seaver HAVE IT in the papers. "It was Seaver's fault..he crossed me up...he has to concentrate out there...". A Hall-of-Fame pitcher, and Grote was ripping him like he was a rookie. He hated losing. Seaver's reaction was "Grote's right...it was my fault". Does any else remember that?

Final memory. Grote on the bench nursing a day-to-day injury. Mets down by a run, 2 out bottom of the 9th, Skip Lockwood scheduled up. Joe Frazier sends up Lockwood to HIT FOR HIMSELF! He said later he had no one left in the pen, if the Mets tied it. Of course he strikes out, game over. Grote was livid. He said in the paper, he tried to get get Frazier to put him in, that if they tied the game, HE would pitch. Grote was about winning first, his teammates knew and the fans knew it; that's why he was so well liked. Thanks Jerry.

Joe Figliola
March 13, 2003
Yes, I do recall Grote being a bit of a hothead. I also recall him throwing out the great Cardinal speedster Lou Brock on a fairly regular basis.

Jerry provided something to root for in the awful 1974 season when he attempted to break his career high in home runs, but he fell one short. I believe he got injured in August and did not play for the rest of the year.

One home run I'll always remember of his came off Tug McGraw on the Fourth of July in 1975 to seal a Met win against the Phillies. See? Whatever Jerry did, the sparks flew!

Paul
May 19, 2003
When I was 10 years old, I remember Grote snapping at me when I asked him for an autograph. He was signing before the game. I put out my program and a pen and he said so something like "Don't stick things in my face. How would you like it if I stuck something in your face?" I wanted to cry and hated the s.o.b ever since.

bobster1985
May 21, 2003
Paul, this guy was a well-known grouch, so you shouldn't take it personally. But he also was a terrific catcher on two pennant-winning teams for the 1969 and 1973 Mets, so that means he'll get into heaven.

Ruben Rivera
July 22, 2003
I was one of Jerry's pitchers back in the Connie Mack League (Sam Houston Rockets) in San Antonio- 1959,1960. I don't recall anyone stealing a base on Jerry. He was the best defensive catcher in the league and also a strong pitcher. We knew he was destined to be a great catcher in the majors. I cherish a team picture. Thank you for letting me share this memory, which I've wanted to do for over 40 years!

Big Vin from Staten Island
July 23, 2003
Jerry once said he would throw the ball to the opposite side of the mound when the inning was over so the opposing pitcher had to walk a few extra steps to get it. Now what can you say about a guy who has his head so into the game? Jerry was one hard nosed reciever. I remember his Gulden's Mustard radio promo's like it was yesterday!

Jeff Bohrer
August 12, 2003
Does anyone remember what Grote would do if the last out of an inning was a strikeout? Grote would toss the ball underhanded back to the pitcher's mound, but on the opposite side of the opposing team's dugout. That is, if the Mets were at Shea, he toss it to to the first base side of the mound. By doing this, he would make the opposing pitcher walk a couple of extra steps to pick up the ball before warming up. If the Mets were in the third base dugout, he'd toss the ball back to the third base side. You never know when those couple of extra steps by the pitcher will tire him out enough to flatten out a breaking pitch.

That's what I remember most about Grote. He did the little things that helped the Mets win.

Chris Gallagher - Glen Oaks
March 1, 2004
I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry Grote a few times growing up in Glen Oaks. He was always very nice and a few times he gave me some catching lessons, just walking from his apartment to his car. I had 15 as my number all through high school and every bar-league softball team I have ever been on. My son's LL team is the Mets and when asked what number he should take without a pause I said "15" for it was the number of the greatest catcher in my memory. I remember when he tossed the ball back to the pitcher when a mistake was made, I am sure that many times Tom Seaver or Nolan Ryan wished they had padding in their gloves.

Mark
April 1, 2004
Probably the best defensive catcher the Mets ever had (sorry Gary Carter, Todd H.). He had a cannon for an arm - I seem to remember many strike-em-out throw-em- out double plays where Seaver, Koosman et al would strike out the batter on a hit and run play and Grote would then throw out the runner at second base. At bat, while he wasn't Johnny Bench, he was still OK. Hey Jerry, could you come back as a coach some day?

Steven Gallanter
April 30, 2004
I remember seeing Jerry on Kiner's Korner when I was 10. Jerry demonstrated the catcher's crouch and emphasized that the key to getting borderline pitches called as strikes was to catch the inside pitch to a righty batter with the glove inside the elbow.

This impressed my impressionable 10 year old mind mightily and I made a point of noticing it from then until now.

Grote probaly stole a strike every inning with his ability to frame pitches and left opponents playing an 8 inning game which was a necessity for the low scoring Mets!

Thank you for the memories!

Thank you for teaching me something about the game that has added to my enjoyment of every game that I've ever seen!

Kiwiwriter
September 8, 2004
I didn't realize how good a defensive catcher he was until the Mets shipped him to Los Angeles and John Stearns got injured. I was amazed to see how many runners could take advantage of Ron Hodges' and Junior Ortiz's throwing arms.

I had a similar realization with the Yankees when Thurman Munson died. Their two departures made me realize how good they both were.

Grote would have gotten better press and a better rep if he had not been a grouch to the media, to the point of rudeness (like Munson). Grote realized his mistake in 1976 or 1977, when his talent was starting to slip, and began to court media attention. By then it was too late. Reporters were saying, "Why is he saying 'hello,' when it's time to say 'goodbye?'"

A little better press would have got him better respect. He was a superb defensive catcher. I just bookmarked his web page, which astounds me as a complete turnabout in character. Gotta see if he'll sign my books about the Mets.

Eddie
February 27, 2005
I know Grote is not a Hall of Famer but he was just a hair away from that level. Good good good catcher and a good hitter as well; too bad he never got the recognition he deserved. He should have been an all star almost every year along with Bench.

Jonathan Stern
February 28, 2005
Jerry Grote's hitting stats were nowhere near good enough to put him in the Hall of Fame and his behavior with reporters (and some fans and teammates) anticipated the achievements of Kingman, Saberhagen, et al. His churlishness began when a reporter misquoted him in a way that made him sound critical of Gil Hodges. Hodges, who had helped save his struggling career, gave him a big-league cussing-out afterwards, and Grote vowed never to be nice to reporters again.

Today, whenever I see him interviewed on television, he is the sweetest guy imaginable. It's too bad that he could not have found a way to be nicer during his playing days. Had he done so, he might not be struggling for baseball work at this point in his life. And, more importantly, his baseball career would be much more appreciated and cherished. Two things that impress me when I see replays: his throwing back to the pitcher FROM THE CROUCH and his brazen whizzing of big-league fastballs inches away from the batter's ear. He could have been a great pitcher. He definitely wanted to win like no one's business. Gave a new meaning to the word "hard-nosed."

VINNY BOCK
July 8, 2005
Growing up in Queens I watched the Mets all the time. I remember when I first started Little League my dad told me to be catcher. He insisted that I watch Jerry play. Over those years I came to realize what a great player he was. And to this day I still believe that he out caught Bench. He was the catcher of his time.

Bob R
July 9, 2005
Grote was great at catching foul pops, and he was one of the best at throwing out runners at second base. But I remember some of the Mets pitchers thought that he didn't call pitches as well as Duffy Dyer. Grote was a decent line-drive type hitter, not a lot of power, very effective on hit-and-run plays. As good as he was, I wouldn't call him the catcher of his time. Bench was a real Hall of Famer, while Grote was a solid, above-average catcher.

Lifelong Fan
July 21, 2005
I recall in one game when Joe Torre was managing, he called Grote to the dugout from behind the plate to have a discussion with him. Grote stood outside the dugout and looked furious. He constantly pointed his finger at Torre. It seemed that all Torre could do after telling Grote what he wanted was to say, "Un- huh, yeah... yep, O.K." as Grote was tearing him a new one.

Ed B
August 15, 2005
Grote was the best bowler-Met.

At an exhibition at Gil Hodges Lanes in Brooklyn, I saw him whip Mark Roth, PBA Hall of Famer.

mike viehl
September 24, 2005
My idol and the best catcher I ever saw. I miss you Jerry: the running down the line and the throws on the money to 2nd.

richard Morgan
November 6, 2005
When I was about 12 I remember getting an autograph from Jerry Grote before a game at Shea. I remember he had a short fuse, but he was nice enough to sign for us kids.

Ed
November 15, 2005
The heart and soul of the Met teams of the early 70's. He is not a Hall of Famer but he is the catcher of my childhood.

Jamey Bumbalo
November 23, 2005
It's interesting to see that some comments describe Grote as very nice to fans and some describe him as just the opposite. I was in Montreal in April of 1974 getting autographs from the Mets in their hotel lobby. Every player I approached was very nice (especially Dave Schneck; see my comments about him), with one exception: Jerry Grote. He was extremely rude and brusque. Maybe I caught him at a bad time; nevertheless, I was 12 then, and I was crushed that he wouldn't give me his autograph.

Kaz911
May 3, 2006
The few games he played in the outfield were interesting ones. It took him forever to get to the ball, but boy, could he gun out the runners! There's no doubt that he was the best defensive catcher of his era, and probably among the best of all time. He has a web site, and has expressed an interest in managing on the major leauge level. I hope he makes it someday, I think he would be a great one. At the very least, he would make a better pitching coach than Rick Peterson.

agee_of_aquarius
August 19, 2006
Grote had a really pretty wife. I think her name was Sharon. Come to think of it, lots of those early 70's Mets had hot wives. Seaver, Garrett, Gentry, and especially Ryan. Seaver and Gentry and Ryan all could throw in the upper 90's, which proves that chicks dig the fastball.

Aase2Zim
December 9, 2006
Growing up in N.Y. I had the pleasure of watching Jerry Grote during his hey-day in the 1970s and have fond memories of him pouncing from out behind the plate to throw out basestealers while stripping the mask off his face, all in one motion. Years later I remember wondering why Mike Piazza (who Grote was assigned to instruct during Mets spring training one year) and other Major League cathers couldn't do that. You'd never see the mask pushed to the side of Grote's face while trying to nab a baserunner, that's for sure.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry at the ballpark in Port St. Lucie in March 2002. The paper I was writing for at the time had sent me to do some interviewing for spring training coverage, and I was just kinda wandering around the field on the third base side taking it all in during pregame warmups when I noticed a guy with gray hair in an obnoxiously bright orange shirt (road construction sign orange) sitting in the stands directly behind home plate in the front row. I immediately knew it was Grote and walked up to him and introduced myself through the protective screening. I believe it was an ego boost for him to be recognized in the crowd after so many years away from the limelight, and he was very friendly. In fact, he allowed me to turn on my tape recorder during our conversation. I remember that he predicted the Mets, who had just picked up Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn and Jeromy Burnitz, might score more than 900 runs for the year --- I'd love to do a follow-up with him now on that one.

Mike B
December 9, 2006
A very funny and personable man. At a card signing today my son asked him about the Gene Mauch incident. He laughed about it and said that "if he caught up to the S.O.B. after the game he would have pounded him." I believe he would have.

John Molnar
December 20, 2006
I remember Jerry Grote speaking at our Little League banquet in 67 or 68. One of the kids must have called him Jerry because all I can remember was him lecturing us about being respectful and to call him Mr. Grote. Not the kind of speech that 500 9-12 year olds wanted to hear.

Frank the Met
December 22, 2006
John, I have a similar story about Grote and his demand for respect. When my cousin and I were about 10 years old, we and about four or five other kids were lined up at the first base railing before the game with pens and papers in hand, hoping for an autograph. Grote was speaking to two young women, whom he appeared to know. As we kids were begging for an autograph, Jerry looked at the bunch of us and said, "Can't you see I'm talking. I'll sign when I'm finished." At that point, we all waited patiently and quietly.

About five minutes later, Jerry finished talking and, instead of coming over to sign, started walking away. As the kids moaned for him to come back and sign, he completely ignored us and kept walking away. At that moment, my cousin, yelled out, "You faggot!"

Grote turned around with the scariest threatening look on his face. As my cousin was running away, about halfway of the ramp, Grote screamed, "Hey!" My cousin froze in his tracks. Grote called him down to the railing and all the other kids moved away. I couldn't at first hear what Grote was saying to him, but my cousin's face was white and frozen with fear. As I got closer, I heard Grote say, in his Texas drawl, "I'm-a get an usher to throw you outta here. I got some cows with more manners than you."

Certainly, my cousin was wrong, but your story about Grote's lecture on manners brought back a funny memory.

Frank the Met
December 30, 2006
Oh my goodness, I almost forgot to add the final chapter to the funny story about Jerry Grote and his respectful cows. The following is taken directly from the New York Times, about 10-12 years after the incident, Sept. 2, 1983.

"Grote Indicted In Cattle Sale"

SAN ANTONIO, Sept. 1 (AP) - Jerry Grote, a 40-year-old former Met catcher whose meat-market business went bankrupt late last year, was indicted by a local grand jury Wednesday on a charge of illegally selling some cattle, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

According to the indictment, Grote signed an agreement in 1978 to purchase seven cows and three bulls from Bob Grimm, with the stipulation that the cattle would remain Grimm's legal property until the $23,000 in payments were completed.

Grote then sold the cattle before completion of the payments, according to the indictment. "

You have to admit, that's funny.

Diamond Dave
February 11, 2007
When I first got into watching the Mets I was a 6 year old kid in 1969 who didn't know squat so I learned about baseball from Bob, Ralph and Lindsey "Horse-blanket" Nelson. They always talked about how good Jerry Grote was behind the plate and the "best in the National League" and made me understand that there was more to baseball then hitting homers. I remember Grote and his family on a Gulden's Mustard commercial and thought "WOW, he must be good if he's doing condiment commercials!" Grote was a perfect Met for the '69 and '73 teams: very good defense, didn't hit a lot but a solid .250 with some timely hits was what he delivered.

I can still taste those 75 cent hot dogs we ate at Shea, washed down with cold RC Cola served with the saran plastic over the top, and a Gulden's packet of mustard courtesy of Harry M. Stevens.

M. F. Anderson
July 21, 2007
I went to MacArthur High School with Jerry and knew him then. I played tennis on the tennis team and was playing a match at Robert E. Lee High School in San Antonio one afternoon (probably in 1960) while the baseball team played a game there too. Jerry was pitching. After our match we went to the ballfield to see the game. Jerry hit a ball over the center field fence that ended up in the far end of the parking lot and bounced around a few cars. I had never seen a ball travel that far. The crowd was pretty silent after that; they had never seen that kind of power before. Pretty amazing.

ajwal
July 21, 2007
Regarding those who had unpleasant memories of Jerry Grote: One baseball writer at the time said, "Will Rogers famously claimed that he never met a man he didn't like. Obviously he never met Jerry Grote."

RobA
October 19, 2007
Regarding Metsmind post about Jerry's being pissed at an umpire: This occured around June 23 or 24, 1974 at Shea, Mets vs. Cubs. Umipre who got pegged with a fastball in the chest: Bruce Froemming (the same Bruce Froemming who is retiring this year). I think Harry Parker was the pitcher. Grote was clearly upset at Froemming and "missed" one. Froemming was knocked down and Grote stood over him. Still remember watching this, I was in the loge section behind 3rd base that night. Next day, Daily News had a picture of Froemming on the ground. I didn't think anyone else remembered this incident. Every time I've heard Bruce Froemming interviewed, I've been just dying to ask him if he remembered this incident.

KCR
October 20, 2007
Jerry Grote always was a favorite of Met pitchers! Unless they were screwing up or shaking off his signals... then he could make their life miserable!

Others have mentioned his well disciplined method of play (backing up 1st base, blocking home plate etc.) but one very important part of his game has been missed: With two strikes on a batter, Grote would try to catch the ball in the thinly padded, strip of lether covering the palm of his hand. He did this INSTEAD of trying to catch the ball in the well padded, hinged part of the catcher's glove! This allowed him to catch more foul-tipped 3rd strikes, due to the 5-6 inches of extra glove space. The hard throwing Met pitchers (Seaver, Koosman, Gentry, Ryan and Matlack) all appreciated this. I don't even think coaches teach this to kids anymore.

Feat Fan
October 28, 2007
Hard nosed, tough as nails, competitive and fearless...

Everything about him reminds me of Joe Girardi

Who, will one day manage the METS!

Mitch Farley
March 30, 2008
I have one special play I remember by Grote. The Mets (circa 1974) were playing the Dodgers; the speedy Willie Davis was on first base. Davis took off for second as the pitch sailed past Grote to the backstop. Grote had to chase the ball down while Davis motored to third. Grote fired a pea to third nipping Davis at the bag. It was a hustling play with a great throw on top of it. I bet even Jerry remembers that one.

A testament to Grote's greatness is three catchers he mentored are recent or current managers in the bigs. (John Gibbons, Bruce Bochy and Clint Hurdle.)

Feat Fan
April 11, 2008
You do know that he's resurfaced as Joe Girardi!

In 81, came out of retirement and had a 7 rbi game as a KC Royal!

VIBaseball
April 21, 2008
About that seven-RBI game in 1981 -- I brought that up to Jerry as I chatted briefly with him at a '69 Mets reunion card show years ago. Gary Gentry, who was next to him at the table, heard me and with genuine interest said to Grote, "You were with the Royals?" Jerry then noted in his Texas drawl, "Ah even stoled a base!" That game was June 3, 1981.

Mark
June 13, 2008
Probably could have and should have won at least one Gold Glove. Too bad he played in the same era as Johnny Bench. Its kind of like some good fielding AL third basemen who had the misfortune to play during the Brooks Robinson era.

Buzz
June 20, 2008
I was recently watching Game 3 of the 1978 World Series (Yankee Classics on YES) and Tom Seaver was announcing. Jerry Grote went into the game for the Dodgers in the 7th inning and Tom Seaver exclaimed in front of a National audience that Grote was the "best catcher I ever threw to and that includes Mr Bench!" (Seaver had pitched for the Reds for a year and a half at this point.) What a compliment considering that Bench is regarded as the best catcher of all time! Shows you just how good Grote was. Besides his excellent defensive skills Grote was also a very hard-nosed player who didn't take guff from anyone. We were lucky to have him!

PaulZ
September 6, 2008
Always rolled the ball back to the mound at the end of the inning to the opposite side from the other teams dugout - to make the other pitcher walk a little farther to get the ball.

Mookie Kingman
September 6, 2008
You don't see too many catchers like him in the Bigs nowadays. He was so gritty and played the game like it should be played. I was a catcher in Little League and used to copy the way he played catcher -- the way he would set up to throw on an attempted steal and even the way he threw the ball to the pitcher. He has a website www.jerrygrote.com but it hasn't been updated in a while. Maybe Brian Schneider could learn something from Jerry about catching!

agee_of_aquarius
April 26, 2009
Grote was twice as good as Piazza behind the plate. Piazza was twice as good as Grote at bat. Yet, catcher is primarily a defensive position, and I don't think it's luck that Grote has a World Series ring and Piazza doesn't.

Mike Goodman
July 23, 2011
I'm no expert, but I remember learning from watching Grote that catchers, when chasing foul pops that were directly overhead, that he never threw away his mask until he was ready to make a 2-hand catch. Grote over Bench ANY DAY behind the plate.

Moses Ajoku
August 18, 2011
Not only was he a great catcher, he was a commercial actor too! He did a Gulden's Mustard commercial in the the late 60's or early 70's. He bit into a hotdag and then said, in his Texas drawl, "mmmmmmm it's guuuuuuuuud muuuustarrrd!"









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