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Craig Swan
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Game Log Pitching
Memories of
Craig Swan
Craig Swan
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 105 of 1043 players
Craig Steven Swan
Born: November 30, 1950 at Van Nuys, Cal.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Height: 6.03 Weight: 210

Craig Swan was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on November 19, 2003, April 6, 2008, November 30, 2010, October 8, 2011, and April 19, 2013.


First Mets game: September 3, 1973
Last Mets game: May 7, 1984

Share your memories of Craig Swan


Mr. Sparkle
The often injured Swan was as reliable as you could get on some pretty lame teams. He made pretty big money for those days. I saw him once in the locker room at the YMCA in Greenwich CT. He noticed that I noticed him and smiled. I think he wanted me to say something. But I'm not much for gloming on celebs so I didn't. Looking back it would have been cool to say something to him. Seemed like a good guy.

My favorite pitcher on some god awful Mets teams. How he ever won double digit games with that crew behind him is still a mystery.

Very good pitcher on some really bad teams. I remember the game he pitched to clinch the ERA title in '78. (A beautiful sunny day - at least where I was watching it.)

I remember that idiot (big-time) Dick Young wrote that Craig should be quiet so no one would notice him stealing the Mets' money; the guy had a serious elbow injury.

I also remember the Mets getting knocked for turning down a trade for him with the Angels for Willie Atkins (good power hitter) and Dickie Thon (very good ss with speed and power whose career was cut short due to Mike Torrez's fastball beaning him - Torrez was with the Mets and Thon and his 20 hr would have been behind Torrez and not in front of him that night if the trade were made.)

Won Doney
January 8, 2001
Has anyone ever wondered what his winning record would be in 1978 if the Mets were a winning team?

Vinnie B.
January 25, 2001
I remember as a kid watching a Mets game with Craig Swan pitching. Ron Hodges was the catcher, and on a steal Hodges threw the ball square into Swan who did not duck. I believe he broke a rib. I guess it goes to show how injury prone he was.

March 17, 2001
Was a childhood favorite since I wore number 27 on my little league uniform. Was a pretty good pitcher who would have had a good W-L on a good team.

September 26, 2001
Anyone have any knowledge of an incident involving then-coach Frank Howard nearly choking Swan by his tie as they returned to Shea one night after a road trip? I can't seem to find anything about this incident, or what followed it.

Andy from Rego Park
October 23, 2001
The best the Mets had to offer in the dark days of the late '70s... He did lead the league in ERA in '78 on a team that lost more than 90 games, the next year, he somehow won 14 (and lost 13) for a team that lost 99. Imagine if the team had been any good at all. Then the bad stuff... Hodges' nailing him in the back while trying to throw out a base stealer, the elbow problems, the Frank Howard incident (yes, I too remember it happening, but not the details) and then the ignominious shift to the pen in '84 when younger and more talented pitchers like Darling, Terrell and Gooden arrived. He hung on briefly with the Angels who had tried to trade Willie Aikens and Dickie Thon for him and Elliot Maddox after the '79 season. Alas, the DeRoulets, who had just put the team up for sale, killed the deal (and steal) saying, "Let the new owners make their own trades."

Jim Snedeker
November 19, 2001
Not many people remember that his 2.43 ERA in 1978 was the best in the NL.

Went to a game at Shea which Swannie started. He retired the first 14 batters. After he pitched half a perfect game, of course the Mets ended up losing.

But my Dad said it was the most overpowering pitching performance he'd ever seen. Pretty impressive, coming from an old Brooklyn Dodger fan.

Danny Erickson
December 2, 2001
As I sit here and watch the crap pitching in 2001, I realize just how good Craig Swan was. Can you imagine somebody like Glendon Rusch pitching in 1978? I don't even think a guy like that would be in the major leagues. So, I tip my hat to Craig who pitched in the major leagues when the game had a lot of pitchers who could pitch.

Fr. Kaz
January 24, 2002
Craig Swan was a pretty good pitcher during some of the darkest days of the franchise. However, my favorite memory of him occured some ten years after he left baseball.

In the early 1990's I was at Shea and Craig walks outside through the "Diamond Club" door. Taken back a moment, I hesitated untill he had past me, and then I called out to him. Craig turned back and spoke to me for several minutes, like we had been the best of friends.

Thanks Craig, just for being a decent human being.

Bob D.
November 22, 2002
I remember being at Craig Swan's major league debut. It was the second game of a Labor Day doubleheader. Seaver pitched the opener and they were billing it as "The Next Seaver" was going to pitch the second game. His debut was extremely unimpressive, but he did go on to have some good seasons on some bad teams. (As everyone said, he would have done much better than 14-13 on a team with some offense). It is a shame that he had to go right before the winning started.

Bob R.
January 8, 2003
Poor Craig - such a good pitcher but he spent most of his career playing for a very bad Mets team. He didn't have much luck with injuries either.

Gary Durday
February 9, 2003
Played Little League, Pony League, Junior High and High School ball with him. He was overpowering as a pitcher during all of those years. Only in my last year of LL could I hit him. Great guy but a crappy Risk player (Ha). Could have been a great basketball player if not for injuries. I enjoyed watching his career and also was amazed at how well he could do on such horrible Mets teams. He was a contemporay of Jeff Borroughs (AL MVP) and Bobby Gritch, all playing at the same time in Long Beach CA. He also pitched our Pony League team to the World Championship! Great guy and a great pitcher.

Big Vin
August 12, 2003
The teams Swan pitched on sucked - lets face facts. I remember all the flack he got for signing a big money contract (for those days). It was really more like retention money I think. But it wasn't his fault everyone else around him stunk the the joint out. The last I heard of him he was a Rolfe practitioner somewhere in Ct. Rolfe-ing is a sort of muscle manipulation that some say is akin to torture - it is supposed to be good for you but hurts like hell while you are getting it done. In any case, Craig should get more credit than he does. It isn't a wonder that he didn't hang himself pitching for those lousy teams.

October 10, 2003
Not only was Swan almost traded for Dickie Thon and Willie Aikens, but it was a done deal. Buzzi Bavasi flew all the way out from L.A. to finalize the deal, and threw a fit when DeRoullet said she changed her mind. How history might have been changed if Torrez and Thon were teammates (Thon was arguably the best SS in baseball when he was beaned, and that's saying a lot with Ozzie, Ripken, Yount and Trammell in that elite group).

It was painful to watch Swan's career go down the tubes, though. By the end my friend had made his name synonymous with batting practice, as in "let's get to the park early to watch some Swan". But before he was hurt he was a terrific pitcher on an awful team.

January 13, 2004
A good pitcher with some bad Mets teams. Too bad he couldn't hang on for another year or two with the Mets and been part of the winning.

Joseph Kohler
February 2, 2004
The "Next Tom Seaver." How tough was that? He was a reason why they traded Seaver, thinking they had the next coming of... He was a good pitcher on some horrible teams.

Joe Figliola
February 10, 2004
Good pitcher amid lots of bad luck. It seems like whenever he turned the corner and you thought he'd become one of the league's elite pitchers, something weird would happen to him physically.

My Mets memory of Swan was fretting like a son-of-a-gun when he was threatening to hold out for a new contract. The Mets gave it to him, and then his elbow gave out. I thought his 1982 season was underrated. He came back strong following those injury/strike years with a good showing despite the team tanking the entire second half of that year. I'm not kidding; he, Mookie, Brian Giles and Ron Hodges (!) were probably the only reasons for me to watch Mets baseball that last month and-a-half of the season.

February 12, 2004
I always felt bad for Swan, he was definitely the victim of some poor teams. I guess he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

April 20, 2004
My memories of Craig Swan are wonderful. I remember going to his games when I was about 5 years old. Standing on the pitcher's mound with him after the games. I also remember Christmas in Ct with him. Tom Seaver and Joel Youngblood would be there as well, one of them always playing Santa. He is the best uncle anyone could ask for. He has the heart of a saint. I just saw him in October when my cousin got married, and he looked great. He is such an awesome person, I am very lucky to have him in my family. Sure he had a rough go in the majors, but the memories I have aren't because of that, but are because of the times we spent together as a family. I love you, Uncle Craig.

Mr. Niss
August 6, 2004
I have 3 memories of Craig Swan:

(1) How incredible it was that he led the league in ERA in '78 on one of the worst teams the Mets ever had to offer (and we all know they had lots of 'em)

(2) Meeting him in a runway under the stadium in 1977 when we were leaving the field from participating in banner day (he was in full uniform but stopped to say hi to my friend and me, a couple of 10 year olds)

(3) Getting hit in the back by Ron Hodges on an attempt to catch a runner stealing second (I believe against the Expos?). Only time I've ever seen that.

September 9, 2004
The picture of him in "Amazin'" by Peter Golenbock is terrible -- it looks like a mug shot of a drunk -- but he was an extremely nice guy and fine pitcher with lousy teams. We talked a lot when I covered the Mets.

He got a kick out of how his card in my baseball Statis-Pro Game had a 7-1 record and started the All- Star Game. "Piece of cake," he said. "I had 'em all the way."

He deserved better.

todd schuster
December 3, 2004
In an era where the Mets were simply just lousy, watching Swannie pitch was about the only reason to go to Shea or watch on WOR channel 9. Despite a w-l record of 59-72, Swannie did have some nice moments like in 1978 when he went 9-6 with a 2.43 era to lead the NL, or 14-13 in 1979 when the team lost 99 games or going 11-7 in 1982 for another abysmal Met team.

Through it all with bad teams and injuries, Swannie was the epitome of class unlike the surliness of David Arthur Kingman.

March 31, 2005
In the late '70's, Craig was the only Met pitcher who gave them a chance to win every time he went out there! He was the closest thing to a stopper we had! He pitched his heart out for some really bad teams. While it's true the incident with Frank Howard was unfortunate, it showed how cheap the Mets had become! He was mad the Mets flew as cheaply as possible while other teams flew charters! He felt the team would be better off! I don't know if that's true, they were pretty bad back then! It probably wouldn't have hurt though!

Lifelong Fan
July 11, 2005
"The Ace" after Seaver left. You gotta give him tons of credit. Remember how Bamberger used to say his name? Schhhhwann! The guy threw hard. Pete Rose used to always mention how hard Swannie threw.

richard Morgan
November 6, 2005
I remember listening to him pitch in 1980 or thereabouts with Bob Murphy on the radio. I got the impression he was trying so hard to win, yet the Mets at that time were giving him no offensive or defensive support.

Don from Rockaway
September 1, 2006
Everybody has their favorite player. Craig Swan was my most despised player. Just never warmed up to him. I actually did a little jig when they cut him in '84.

Ed Oliver
January 24, 2007
Craig is my cousin and was one of my few "real" heroes while growing up in Long Beach, Ca. Not only did he seem to dominate on the mound (long before he made it to the Mets) but he was humble, a sort of gentle giant who always took time out for me when he was around even though he was much older than me. There was a "Frank Howard incident" that was non- event, just a little excitement on a plane as I understood it. But there were years that the name Dusty Baker would get a rise out of my cousin Craig. Phoenix, San Diego, and Dodger Stadium trips meant the world to me. Thanks for the memories Craig.

March 16, 2007
I loved it when he won the ERA title in 1978. There wasn't much to cheer for in those 'dark days' and that event was one of the brighter moments. I did hate the soap opera revolving his injury arm and when/if he could come back (it clearly wasn't his fault, but tell that to an impatient 12 year old.)

Dick Young lived up to his first name when he wrote that Swan was stealing the Mets money by being injured so much.

If you want to catch a couple of glimpses of Swan you can 1) rent "Once In A Lifetime" the doc about the New York Cosmos, in it they re-tell a story of Dick Young taking Pele to a Mets game and the stock footage used was of Swan throwing a pitch, and 2) the Museum of Television & Radio in NYC has in its achieve a 60 Minutes episode with a segment on the upcoming 1981 strike ("Strike Two" I think) Some spring training footage of the Mets and Harry Reasoner throws a quick kudos about Swan (among others) specifically.

Jonathan Stern
March 31, 2007
My vague recollection about Swannie is that, 1979 aside, he was always hurt. But when he was okay, he pitched very well. His frequent injuries added to the frustration of rooting for the Joe Torre Mets. Seems like a good guy in the Golenbock book on the Mets (yes, the editors could have chosen a better picture of him).

Ken Akerman
March 4, 2008
Craig Swan played collegiate baseball at Arizona State University (ASU) and is a member of ASU's Hall of Fame.

Feat Fan
March 5, 2008
Swannie was a talented and hard nosed professional pitcher who deserved more than the inept Mets teams during the last 70's and early 80's. Now has a rolfing practice in Greenwich that my friend goes to. My buddy owes his current physical wellness to number 27 and tells me that Craig is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. I don't doubt it and intend to contact him for a consultation.

mike DiSciullo
March 5, 2008
Unfortunately Swannie pitched for the Mets in the wrong era; a little earlier or later in years with the club and he would have been a major contributor, and remembered by more fans in Mets lore.

John L.
October 29, 2010
A fine pitcher on some God awful teams. Had difficulty staying healthy, I can still hear Jane Jarvis' version of Gershwin's "Swanee", every time Craig took the mound. It was nice to see him at the closing ceremonies at Shea. Was a victim of bad timing; came into his own as the Mets teams of the 70's went into decline and was done with the 80's resurgence. Would've been nice though if Lorinda DeRoulet had stayed out of the proposed trade of Swan to the Angels for Dickie Thon and Willie Aikens.

Mike B
November 24, 2010
Second to Jon Matlack, the most under-rated Met pitcher ever.

June 9, 2011
I loved Swannie. He was one of the few bright spots on lousy tams in the late 70's and early 80's. He autographed the baseball card I sent to him in 1979, so I'll never forget that. Hope you're doing well Swannie.

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