Nino Espinosa
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Nino Espinosa
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Memories of
Nino Espinosa
Nino Espinosa
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 99 of 1043 players
Anulfo Acevedo Espinosa
Born: August 15, 1953 at Villa Altagracia, Dominican Republic
Died: December 25, 1987 at Vila Altagracia, Dominican Republic
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Height: 6.00 Weight: 165

Nino Espinosa has been the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup 10 times, most recently on October 2, 2017.


First Mets game: September 13, 1974
Last Mets game: September 29, 1978

Share your memories of Nino Espinosa


Nino had a great afro. His pitching was forgettable, but his baseball card was not.

Mr. Sparkle
December 28, 2000
Nino never had over powering stuff but he was a pretty decent pitcher in 77 when they were an awful team. He was one of my favorites at the time. Nino unfortunately passed away a few years ago. He's now in Met heaven, stiking them out like Nolan Ryan. RIP.

January 22, 2001
i remember back in 1977 when the Mets were terrable nino won both games that the team won in pa.september 14th in philadelphia 1-0 over steve carlton and september 27th in pittsburgh 8-1 too bad he died so young.

Jim Snedeker
January 15, 2002
I remember Nino giving us some pretty good performances. There always was some hope when he pitched that we'd have a good day.

One memory that sort of symbolizes the Mets' futility of the late 70's was during a pause in a game Nino was pitching. The infielders gathered around the mound--Tim Foli, Doug Flynn and others. Things weren't going well for Nino that day, but it didn't seem to bother the players--you could see them smiling and chatting amiably with each other. Then they all looked to the dugout to see what was going to happen. When the sign was given to bring in someone from the bullpen, Tim Foli punched Nino on the shoulder and they all burst out laughing!

January 31, 2002
A pretty decent pitcher for the Mets in one of their "down" eras. I was aware that he had passed; does anyone know how he died?

May 16, 2002
When I first started going to games in 1977, I went to a June doubleheader (those were the days you could buy box seats the day of the game) and I got there early to watch batting practice. Nino was by the stands signing autographs and he gave me his on the brim of my Mets hat which I still have until this day.

July 9, 2002
I guess the thing I'll remember best is simply his name. I mean NINO ESPINOSA!?! It dosen't get any better than that. When we were kids in the 80's we played a game in our garage with a Nerf baseball. We called it "Ninoball." A tribute to the man and his name.

November 28, 2002
Easily had the biggest afro on the Mets...the cap barely fit on his head.

Mr. Sparkle
March 6, 2003
His nickname was "Bananas."

Joe Figliola
March 19, 2003
I had mixed emotions about the Espinosa-for-Hebner deal. It was great that we were getting an established "hitter," yet sad because we lost someone who I felt was a decent pitcher. Hindsight being 20/20, I would've kept Nino.

He also was a decent hitter, but it didn't reflect in my scorebook numbers. He was something like oh-for-14 for me.

Jonathan Stern
March 4, 2004
Traded to the Phils for Richie Hebner, Espinosa won 14 games in 1979 (The Phillies finished a disappointing fourth-place in the NL East). In 1980, he started off well, but then developed arm troubles and was put on the DL. His spot on the roster was eventually taken by a rookie named Marty Bystrom, who went 5-0 down the stretch to help the Phils win the division. Espinosa, who reacted angrily to his demotion, was later declared ineligible for that year's post-season (the same post-season that starred Tug McGraw, of course). After an injury-plagued 1981, divided between Philly and Toronto, he was out of baseball.

Nino Espinosa died of a heart attack six years later in the Dominican Republic. I do not know if the type of high-living typical of ballplayers in any era, particularly during the 70's, was in any way a factor. On the whole, a sad story.

Choo Choo
May 16, 2004
It's kind of ironic and eerie that the only two deceased players from the 1980 World Champion Phillies are Tug McGraw and Nino Espinosa.

June 28, 2004
Great Afro, great name, but a lousy pitcher.

A big reason why the Mets couldn't buy a win in 1979.

However, I am sorry to hear that he died in 1987.

July 13, 2004
I wouldn't call Espinosa a "lousy" pitcher and he wasn't even a Met in 1979.

His 1977 was quite good for a 23-year-old: 200 IP, 7 CG, 10 wins, 110 ERA+ for a 98-loss team. Bad 1978 but he rebounded some with the Phils.

Jay Goldstein
October 7, 2004
I remember meeting Nino with my friends Marc and Jimmy before a game in '77. Nice guy; great hair; always quick with a smile.

A special friend
September 3, 2005
I worked for the Phillies while Nino was on our team. What I remember most about him was his great smile and the little pranks that he would play. He use to throw baseballs into the stands whith funny notes on them. Sometimes he would sneak up to my section and surprise me (when he was not scheduled to play.)

He always had a sparkle in his eye that was playful and mischievieous. He would participate as a guest speaker for the rotary club of Broomall,Pa. which sponsered the Dominican Republic. He would even go to local high schools and sit in the stands to make people feel special and cheer them on to victory. He was a family man and cared a great deal about them. Over the years I developed a special friendship with him and would like to visit his family in the Dominican if any one knows the address.

I was shocked to learn of his death; he never complained of any problems. He also was an asset to the Phillies and was on the only World Series champion team that we have seen. If any one knows how to contact his family or has an address please pass it on. Nino was a kind and geniune person and always kept it real. He is missed.

March 5, 2006
As a 12 year old I remember him being the starting pitcher against the Reds in the most disastrous Met game I ever witnessed. The Mets were winning 6-1 and lost 14-7. Even though he was not the losing pitcher he got the ball rolling giving up 4 or 5 runs in 3 plus innings. hen Nino was walking off the field I swear he was smiling.

April 19, 2006
We were big time Mets fans as young children in the early 70's, and often heard names on the radio and on WWOR through osmosis...our father ALWAYS had the games on. Over time, my vocabulary grew with the names of players who in other parts of the country would be unknowns, but with Met's fans were household names. Craig Swan, Rusty Staub, Dave Kingman, Jon Matlack, the list goes on.

But I remember Nino because his name was unusual to me, and it sometimes confused me as a very young child. I remember I came home after a bicycle accident that left me with scrapes and cuts all over my legs and arms. My mother asked if I was alright, and I replied that I just needed a band-aid and some Nino Espinosa. (Neosprin Ointment). My mom knew who and what both were and laughed uncontrollably.

Great name!

May 3, 2007
Back in 1977 sometime after the Midnight Massacre, my father took me to a weekend day game at Shea in which Nino Espinosa started. Nino had a marvelous start with a fair share of strikeouts; suddenly he became one of my young heroes on a Mets team that was going through major upheaval. Though to this 9-year-old it was only about a warm sunny summer afternoon, my dad, and Nino on the mound dominating the visiting team. Like many, I was shocked to hear of his untimely goodbye. A quality Met during a tough run.

David Horton
February 18, 2011
Nino was a friend and team mate of mine in 1971, Florida State League. Did not speak much English but was always laughing and smiling. He was a fierce competitor for a 17-year-old. I was three years older than him. Quick story, we were up 3-0, eighth inning, two outs, two men on, Jose Cruz (St. Louis Cardinals) coming up to bat. Skip comes out ask me how I was feeling and I said, "I am good." I was a bit tired but, I wanted this left-hander. I had two strikes on him and hung a flat curve and he got all of it, tie game. No decision for me again. Nino comes in, pitches two scoreless innings and we win it in the 11th. He was a good team mate. Regards. D. Horton

February 13, 2012
He once talked himself out of a $10 fine. Joe Torre wanted to impose the fine for not running over to cover first on a ball hit to the right side of the infield. Espinosa protested to Torre that he had run over. Torre said that he would check the film of the game, but if Espinosa was wrong, the fine would be raised to $25. The film supported Espinosa's claim.

Paul Hill
August 6, 2013
Wow, I didn't even know Nino Espinosa had passed away. Sad to hear. I grew up a Mets fan. I was 15 in 1977. The main thing I remember about Nino Espinosa was the way Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson pronounced his name. They always seemed to add an element of merriment to the saying of his name. The Mets teams he pitched for were generally terrible. Post Seaver, there wasn't much to cheer about. But I do remember the Afro and the fact that he was primarily a junk baller. But had some good games I remember. And he was someone who you rooted for because he seemed to love the game.

Beth W
August 29, 2013
I just looked Niño up after thinking how much Jenrry Mejia resembles him. I was shocked to learn of his untimely passing. Niño always had a slight twinkle in his eye. I remember him as a better pitcher than the actual records show perhaps because of his positive attitude.

July 30, 2015
Went to a game in '76 against Cincinnati fresh off 1 World Series win and destined to win again that year. Nino pitched an impressive 7 innings against a legendary lineup (Rose, Bench, Griffey, Morgan, Perez) and the Mets won 2-1. Also the final out of the game was a nice catch off a foul pop up by Mets 1B, Joe Torre.

Bill S.
August 11, 2015
My memory of Nino Espinosa made him one of my favorite athletes of all time. In July 1980, I arrived at Wrigley Field a couple of hours before a Cubs/Phillies game. I was one of the first fans at the game, but a man with his red-headed son, about 8 years old, were sitting near the bullpen. The excitement in the 8 year old indicated this was the first game he had attended. Dallas Green, a catcher (don't remember who), and Nino Espinosa went down to the bullpen to do a little throwing. Nino was injured at the time. Before he started throwing, Nino took off his warm-up jacket and asked the boy to hold it. After he completed his throwing, Nino got his jacket back and handed the youngster the ball. A minor kindness perhaps, but one that stood out then and still does now in contrast to so many professional athletes today.

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