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Mike Vail
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Mike Vail
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Game Log Memories of
Mike Vail
Mike Vail
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 188 of 1043 players
Michael Lewis Vail
Born: November 10, 1951 at San Francisco, Cal.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Height: 6.00 Weight: 190

Mike Vail was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on August 16, 2003, August 17, 2003, August 18, 2003, May 2, 2011, September 1, 2011, December 11, 2011, and August 24, 2013.


First Mets game: August 18, 1975
Last Mets game: October 1, 1977

Share your memories of Mike Vail


Phil Gimli-mead
Had a long hitting streak when he first came up as a rookie, like 20 games or so in a row and slumped down to his .302 for the year. Anything hit in the air to him was in the outfield was a bit of an adventure though.

When he was traded to Cleveland, Vail asked for a raise; "hit .300 and you'll get it" was Cleveland's GM reply. In Vail's next game, he went 1 for 3,(.333) and asked for his raise.

Bob Hackett
After the impressive rookie debut he tore up his knee during the winter playing basketball. Too bad, what might have been.

Mr. Sparkle
December 21, 2000
HE looked like a sure thing when he came up. Too bad he never really panned out. I remember one game in LA in the top of the first he legged out a two out bases empty infield hit and the Mets wnr on to score 6 runs and win 6-1 I think. I'll always think of that when they are in need of a rally and have two out and no one on.

October 2, 2001
Vail had a 23 game hitting streak in '75. It ended in an 18 inning game vs. the Expos at Shea when Dale Murray walked Felix Millan with the bases loaded. Vail had like 8 plate apperances that night and couldn't get a hit.

December 14, 2001
The one thing I really remember about Mike Vail (other than him screwing up his whole career playing basketball in the winter of 1975) was this:

He was at the plate on a July night in 1977 when the second New York Blackout hit.

December 18, 2001
It was Mike Vail's 23-game hitting streak in 1975 that prompted the Mets to trade Rusty Staub to Detroit for Mickey Lolich, thinking Vail would be their new right fielder. Then Vail tore up his knee playing basketball that winter and that was the end of everything. It took a while for the Mets to recover.

February 15, 2002
My memory of Vail was a brawl he got into with Tito Funetes back in '76.

Joe Figliola
February 22, 2002
Vail's punchout of that $%#@! disco boy Tito Fuentes was the highlight of a sorry '76 season. I remember seeing it on TV and basically that piece of %#$! Fuentes got into Vail's face at second base, so Vail did his best Muhammad Ali impersonation and rearranged it. Imagine if that was the featured game on ABC's "Monday Night Baseball" back then? Cosell would've had a field day.

(Fuentes, incidentally, never seemed to have good luck against the Amazin's. I remember in '72, he did his best pre-Bill Buckner impersonation and let a ball get through his legs for an error that led to a Met win.)

Jim Resseque
March 18, 2002
The first game I ever went to was a 1-0 Jerry Koosman shutout over the Reds back in 1976. Late in the game the Reds had the tying run on base and Pete Rose (who for some reason didn't start the game) came up as a pinch hitter. Pete was loudy booed as they announced his name. His fight with Bud Harrelson some three years earlier was still deeply imbedded in Mets fans memories. Well, he hit a ball the looked like a sure hit to right but Mike Vail made a diving catch that brought the crowd to its feet. I don't even remember how the Mets scored the run but Vail's catch combined with Rose's cold reception from we Mets fans will always stick with me.

May 14, 2002
I remember watching a game in July of '77. The ball was hit in shallow right field and Vail comes running in. He falls on his backside and catches the ball not with his glove but between his forearm and bicep... and held on to it. I think the side was retired.

June 18, 2002
The only memory I have of Mike Vail was that he was the last Met I needed to complete my baseball card collection. The card was in so-so condition, but just like the Mets I probably traded someone great who would eventually go to the hall of fame for Mike's card.

Larry Burns
June 19, 2002
Mike had that awesome 23 game hitting streak as a rookie. I remember thinking he was gonna be special. Then he blows out his knee playing hoops and another bright Met light is dimmed. Another reason I cannot stand basketball. He was a fan favorite of the ladies, but for some reason I always thought he had the jawbone of an ass!

July 30, 2002
I was also at that game in 1976 against the Reds. I remember being very upset because Sparky Anderson not only rested Rose but also Bench, Perez and Morgan. It was a sunday game after a saturday night game so he must have wanted to give them all a day off.

Also, if memory serves me correctly I think it was Lenny Randle not Vail who was coming up to bat against the cubs on 7/13/77 when the lights went out. I can still remember watching Marv Albert who did the local sports report for WNBC-TV in New York showing the highlight of Randle coming to bat and all of a sudden darkness!!!!!

February 1, 2004
Mile Vail made such a splash his rookie year - especially the 23 game hit streak - that the Mets traded away Rusty Staub. BTW, during his hitting streak he also had an error streak of about 5 or 6 games - still, he had quite a lengthy big league career - the guy could always hit big league pitching. Had a nice stroke that would have complimented a lineup with a few power hitters (obviously not the Mets of the mid-70s).

September 9, 2004
Everyone here seems to think it was his knee that Vail hurt playing hoops. But it was actually a dislocated foot (as I recall, his Achilles was injured).

If he'd worked out, this would have been one of the few-and-far-between Mets trade steals (think Millan, Sid, Darling/Terrell). Ted Martinez for Jack Heidemann alone would have been fair.

November 16, 2004
As stated on this site, Mike Vail could hit. What was left off of this site, he could only hit if the pitcher was left-handed. Almost an automatic out against right-handers

Bob P
December 14, 2004
Well, Mike wasn't quite an automatic out against righties, but I do see John's point. Vail had 1,604 major league at bats, with just about half coming against lefties (800) and half against righties (804).

His breakdowns are:

Vs LHP: .299 avg; .334 OBP; .424 Slg

Vs RHP: .259 avg; .292 OBP; .377 Slg

In Vail's era, the league averages were:

.268 avg; .334 OBP; .394 Slg

So he did perform better against lefties, and he was definitely a below average hitter against righties. But the numbers clearly show that he wasn't that far above average against lefties either!

Jonathan Stern
October 28, 2005
I did not know until today that Vail lasted ten years in the bigs. Nor do I remember him playing for the 1981 Reds. Thanks to Seaver, I was a Reds fan. Their failure to make the 1981 postseason despite having the best record in baseball that year (Thanks for both the strike and the split season, Mr. Kuhn) was one of the reasons why I turned away from sports, returning in the late-80's.

My family still brings up the name, "Mike Vail," every time a Mets rookie crashes and burns following an Amazin' debut.

Feat Fan
April 5, 2006
The International League Player of the Year in 1975, Vail was called up by the Mets that August and hit in 23 straight games to tie what at the time, both a club record and a modern NL rookie record. He dislocated his foot playing basketball the following February, missed half of the season, and was sold to Cleveland in 1978. He was an effective pinch hitter and fourth outfielder for the 1978-80 Cubs.

June 30, 1979: Despite Mike Vail's 11th inning, pinch hit grand slam, (the Cubs score five runs in the bottom of the 11th) the METS hang on to win the game 9–8.

Get's by Buckner
May 15, 2012
I forgot about Mike Vail until I saw Mets Yearbok 1975 on SNY when they showed him hitting in 23 straight games and hitting homers. Bob Murphy said in that "Yearbook", "Mike will be here for many years to come!" What a shame! If he didn't get hurt playing basketball, maybe he would have been playing in the 1986 World Series!!

May 23, 2012
Gets by Buckner, I can only agree with half of your above entry. I believe that Mike would have had a productive career if he hadn't suffered that injury. However, I don't think he would have been a Met in '86. Except for Lee Mazzilli, who was reacquired during the year, no player on that championship team was with them under the previous ownership (although some were drafted then, but hadn't reached the majors yet.) Mike was a player from the old regime who likely would have been part of a transaction made to enhance the team being put together by the new one. It would have been great if he had stayed around for '86, but the chances of it would have been slim.

Looking back at 1975, I wish Mike had been with the Mets all season instead of being called up in August. His 23-game hitting streak that season just might have earned him the NL Rookie of the Year.

Mr. Roboto
July 27, 2012
Mike got off to a great start with the Mets in 1975, but his 23-game streak that year did have a little crack. Between the first and second games of it, he drew a walk as a pinch-hitter in a no-hitter pitched by the Giants' Ed Halicki. Since walks are not at-bats, they don't terminate hitting streaks as long as the player has no official at-bats in the game. Mike then went on to collect hits in each of his next twenty-two games to tie Cleon Jones' team record.

Douglas Micah Vail
May 26, 2014
Mike Vail should be a baseball sports personality not only on radio but on television. He is awesome!

Tom Graham
August 11, 2015
I was Mike's Babe Ruth League coach at Glastonbury, CT back in 1964/'65. Mike was a good third baseman then. His dad was our team's pitching coach. I arranged to have Mets scout Hal Goodnough look at him. I live in Colorado now and haven't spoken with Mike since those days. We had a good team, losing only once, a forfeit because of being short a player when the kids all were recruited to pick cigar tobacco. It has to be picked on a certain day or the crop is lost. The usual workers, imported from Jamaica, were not allowed to come in for that season. Anyhow, we were disappointed. Mike was a great kid.

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