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Willie Montanez
vs. the Mets
Willie Montanez
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Game Log Memories of
Willie Montanez
Willie Montanez
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 91 of 1043 players
Guillermo Montanez
Born: April 1, 1948 at Catano, P.R.
Throws: Left Bats: Left
Height: 6.00 Weight: 185

Willie Montanez was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on August 16, 2011, August 12, 2012, July 30, 2013, and November 1, 2014.


First Mets game: April 7, 1978
Last Mets game: August 11, 1979

Share your memories of Willie Montanez


hot dog
Willie was a damm good ballplayer. He also was greatest hot dog of his generation. I will never forget how he caught the ball at first, his armbands, his home run trot.

Flashy and very good at first base. He was doing the snatch catch long before anybody ever heard of Rickey Henderson.

Happy Recap
Willie Montanez wasn't with the Mets for very long, but he was a lot of fun to watch. I remember the little stutter-step he would take before leaping on each base during his home run trots. But most of all, I remember the sound of Bob Murphy's voice exclaiming, "Oooooh what a play by Willie MON-TON-yezzzzz!"

Years later, during the 80's when the Mets were riding high, Bob Murphy, Bud Harrelson, and Mookie Wilson made an appearance at a Nassau County mall to sign autographed photos. When I had my moment in front of Murph, I asked him if he could say, "Ooooh what a play by Willie Montanez!" I just wanted to hear it one more time. But Bob Murphy just chuckled, shook his head, and said, "Willie Montanez. I don't think so."

In 1978, Mets v. Pirates @ Shea, 2 outs, Willie hits a ball over the 396 sign in left-center, Bill Robinson goes back, leaps up, reaches for the ball as it clears the fence, slams into the wall, falls down; meanwhile Montanez circles the bases and grabs some bench. Robinson gets to his feet, jogs to the second base ump, opens his glove and flips him the ball. One of the top 5 outfield catches I ever saw.

Montanez was a really good player; flashy glove and he could drive the ball (almost had 100 RBI in his one full season at Shea.)

Montanez loved to flip his bat in-between pitches and I loved it; while I never got a date for it, I did it as well as he did and 25 years later, I can still do it.

January 16, 2001
Wille Stiff. That's all I remember.

Mr. Sparkle
April 20, 2001
I remember Willie swinging at a pitch during an intentional walk. It probably really pissed off the pitcher but I thought it was hysterical. He was a hot dog.

David Grover
May 25, 2001
I remember they way he would slyly tip his glove down after he caought the ball at first base an his home run trot which he would walk home from third base.

Barry Wenig
July 13, 2001
How WAS he able to bounce his bat off home plate like that?

Tommy O
August 17, 2001
My favorite player growing up outside of Philly. I remember going to the Vet with my dad and uncle and watching Willie the Phillie homer. Yes he was a hotdog, but hey when you're nine you love that stuff!

October 2, 2001
The best Montanez story really has to do with the San Diego Chicken. In the lean years of the late 70's the Mets booked the Chicken to come to Shea and he was hilarious. Besides hanging out of the centerfield camera position in the batters eye he did a Pete Rose imitation diving head first into bases like Rose which broke everyone up. But the highlight had to be when he came out of the Met dugout flipping a bat like Willie. Then making believe he hit a homer and pointing at it like Willie would. Running the bases and jumping on every base like Willie and then walking the final 20 feet down the 3rd baseline to the plate like Willie. Shea was going nuts. Only the Chicken could capture the true essence of the worlds biggest hot dog.

December 12, 2001
I was a big fan of Guillero's while he was here.

My favorite Willie story...

Old-Timer's Day 1978, the day they brought Kiner out in a hot-air balloon. Mets vs. Cubs

2 out, nobody on in the middle innings. Bobby Murcer hit a one-hop shot to first, which Willie gloved beautifully. Murcer took 2 steps down the line and quit on it.

Willie just stayed in his crouch position, holding the glove up in the air & never made a move to the bag. I don't think the out was ever officially recorded!

February 7, 2002
HOT DOG Willie!! Maybe he would have been better if he wasn't showing off all the time. Decent power.....

Kenny M
May 29, 2002
One of my favorite Mets during the down years. Very entertaining and interesting to watch, mainly because of his hot-dogging. Three hot dog moves come to mind: the flipping of his bat as he approached the plate; his catching of pop ups where he would slap the glove to the ball at impact; and of course his home run trot. Willie flipped the bat walking to the plate, he did not bang it on home plate and flip the handle into his hand. That was done by Tito Fuentes.

Bob R.
January 8, 2003
Oh lord, just seeing his name brings back bleak memories of those awful late '70s Mets teams. They used to close the upper deck because there weren't enough fans. Shea was like a ghost town then. Willie was a pretty good player but it must have been hard for any of the Mets to get motivated knowing they'd finish last no matter what they did. What made it worse was that the Yankees were a great team then. Ugh.

The Hammer
March 19, 2003
Ah yes! Willie Montanez. This guy mad a horrible team fun to watch. I remember night after night, tuning into to WOR-TV to watch Willie work his magic over at first base. His snatch catches of pop flies, his footwork around first base, his classic HR trots. We got to see the trot 17 times his first season and there were little leaguers imitating him around the tri-state area. I hope he is doing well...he made the game fun.

May 16, 2003
I remember one game when they tried to intentionally walk Willie and he swung about 5 feet past the plate. I would do his bat flip in Little League when coming to the plate. He also signed his autograph via mail for me last year.

Jim McEnroe
June 17, 2003
I remember two things very well about Willie Montanez.

1. He was an excelent fielder.

2. His quote was used by comedian Garrett Morris on "Saturday night live" for several years. One time some writer asked Willie about something and he responded "Beisboll been berry berry gooood too meee."

Rob D. from Jersey City
June 23, 2003
...and don't forget about his glove around the back trick either. I was 11 yrs. old and thought his hot-dog act was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I copied a lot of his gimmicks and used them a lot during that little league season. And was screamed at by my coach as a result!

Phil Thiegou
April 20, 2004
DO I GET MUSTARD WlTH THAT H0T DOG?!?! Another case of a Met killer who goes downhill when he becomes a Met. He wasn't the greatest player, but the most fun to watch. Like a previous message, in Little League and later in the company softball league I twirled my bat on my way to the plate and made the behind the back switch when making a putout at first and all my coaches ripped me a new one for doing so. One coach yelled at me, "What are you? Some kind of hot dog!?!?" I nearly fell over on the field laughing my butt off. Willie will never have a place in Cooperstown, but will have a place in all our hearts.

July 13, 2004
1978 Mets scorecard headline for a story about the acquisitions of Lenny Randle, Tim Foli, and Willie Montanez (at the expense of Jon Matlack and John Milner and others): "Trades bring Mets needed balance."

I stared at the headline and wondered, "Balanced what? Mediocrity?"

That's my big memory of Willie Montanez. That and him being announced, "Now batting, Wil-lie Mon-ta-nez!" The Yankees had Willie Randolph, the Mets once had Willie Mays, now it was "Wil-lie Mon-ta-nez!"

I remember the closed-off upper deck, too. Andrew and I would sit in the mezzanine on $1.50 tickets.

They were able to finish last without him in 1979.

john e
June 3, 2005
Not that I was transfixed, but he used some sort of butt-twitch to time pitches, much in the way Joe Morgan pumped his left arm.

Lifelong Fan
July 9, 2005
Willie Montanyessss. I'm surprised he never got beaned severely for that trot. I'd hate to have batted behind him.

DairyLea Milk Coupons
September 11, 2005
Does anyone remember a game when Willie was called for coming off first base too soon after getting the throw on an infield out causing the runner to be safe? Twice in one inning? I could swear I watched that happen on TV.

September 23, 2005
I think you're right Dairy Lea. Montanez was a true "hot dog" and always fun to watch even when he would mess up. You don't see players like him anymore who do some stylin' but who also hustle. Back in Willie's era you had to husltle or else you'd find yourself on the bench no matter how good you were.

September 23, 2005
Willie was one of my favorite players growing up. Got to go to a game back in '78. Mets against the Giants. I bet my tutor a hot dog and Coke that Willie would smack one that day. Well he did, but another Willie hit a home run that day also, Willie McCovery and the Mets lost. Thank you Mr. Enright for taking me to that game. I'll never forget the look on your face after Willie crushed one over the 371 sign in left centerfield.

jamey bumbalo
December 1, 2005
I loved Willie's hot dog style of play, with those great catches when he'd flick and flash his glove, the way he'd trot--or walk--around the bases after a home run, and the way he'd literally walk to first after a base on balls. To this day, at 43, when I play catch with my son, I still sometimes flick my glove a la Willie. I too remember the time he swung at a pitch during an intentional walk. I thought it was hilarious, although I doubt the pitcher, catcher or umpire did.

December 22, 2005
I remember being at a twi-night doubleheader with the Astros once when I was a kid. for the second game I'd sneaked down to the field level and was behind the Mets dugout. Every time the Mets took the field and finished tossing the ball around the infield, Willie would take the ball, fake throwing it to the pleading kids sitting around me and instead toss it into the dugout bouncing the ball off the top step each time. I was impressed.

Bob Inzerillo
December 23, 2005
The Mets getting Montanez in the winter after the '77 season bothered me. It had nothing to do with him personally. He was a solid, proven player in stints with the Phillies, Braves, and Giants. But, the Mets had just traded away Tom Seaver in June. Board chairman, M. Donald Grant had publicly called Seaver an ingrate for asking for a contract extension and a raise from his $250K salary. Seaver was there since '67 and put the Mets on the map. Seaver said that if the Mets didn't appreciate what he meant to them, that they should trade him. So, off to the Reds he went. Then, that off-season they go pick up Montanez. He was signed and making $330,000 a year, but the Mets had no problem paying him.

Montanez, if I remember right, wasn't happy (who was at that point) coming to the Mets. He was a hot dog player famous for his snatch catches at first base. I think he was part of a 3 team trade that sent Jon Matlack to the Rangers while John Milner went to the Pirates. He did OK in '78, but the Mets, minus Seaver and Matlack, plus no hitting, were horrible. By '79 he was just going through the motions. I remember one game where he did his snatch catch on a throw from an infielder, and flung the ball down the line by accident. He was obviously unhappy and was traded for Mike Jorgensen in his second year here. Another big acquisition that became a disappointment. In fairness to the Mets, he did seem to wear out his welcome quickly and played for 8 or 9 teams by the end of his career.

January 17, 2006
This Hot Dog was awesome. The twirling of the bat was classic. I tried to be him in my friends backyard during our wiffle ball games. #25 Willie Montanez

Jonathan Stern
February 8, 2006
I own the VHS of the closing ceremonies for Veteran's Stadium. Montanez came onto the field, representing one of the early 70's Phillies teams, and did a little hot dog shuffle. The ceremony concluded with Tug McGraw, in what might have been his final public appearance, reenacting his 1980 WS-ending strikeout of Willie Wilson. Brings tears to my eyes every time I see it.

vince l
June 9, 2006
Montanez would spit in the air and take a practice swing at the spit just before he would step in to the batters box. A disgusting but highly entertaining move.

just a fan
October 16, 2007
I always liked the snappy catches. great entertainer. Interesting note to his career: he never knocked in 100 runs. In his rookie season with Philadelphia, he had 99. In the final game of that season, with a man on third, he singled. The runner fell down on his way home and was thrown out. He never got that close again.

October 19, 2007
Willie cracks me up, even though I was born in 96! One of the best, and funniest Mets in their worst decade. Great rookie year! 20 homers! Amazin! There's 3 hot dog moves I can name: bat flipping, HR trot, the "snatch catch", and him getting mad and quickly flipping bat on foul or strikeout. Who knows what he's doing now? I'd like to know.

Mario Arduini
October 21, 2007
As I was growing up in the 70's Cable TV hit my area and I started watching the Mets. I immediately became a Montanez fan and I have been ever since. He had a lot of fun playing the game and I have a 1978 Mets team signed ball and two of his game used bats. I am truly his #1 fan. I think he is my all-time favorite player.

September 6, 2008
I remember a game where Torre sent Joel Youngblood in to pinch run for Willie and the next day on the telecast the announcers said that Willie had been "mad"--not that he was run for but by Youngblood, who he didn't think was faster than him. He challenged him to a race before the next game. Apparently, the race was a dead heat.

June 16, 2010
I was a big fan of Willie's when he was with the Mets. I even bought a Willie Montanez baseball cap. It was green, with a cartoon picture of Willie and the words "Willie Montanez" in the front. I didn't wear it often but it always got a reaction. I think I still have it in a closet somewhere.

Gets by Buckner
July 13, 2010
I was recently watching Mets yearbook on SNY - 1978 and they showed the San Diego Chicken doing an awesome impersonation of Willie how he flips the bat when he walks up to the plate and also his famous home run trot. If Willie were playing today, i'm sure many pitchers would throw a 95 mile per hour fast ball at his head!! He did bring some fun to the game when the Mets were sitting in the basement in 1978!

September 27, 2010
Willie was a bright spot in a very dark time for the Mets. Other than Rusty Staub, who had 105 RBI in 1975, I don't think any Met player had as many as Willie's 96 RBI in 1978.

Koosman and a Rain Delay
July 6, 2012
Growing up near Port Jervis, we could only get channel 9 (not 11) so I was forced to become a Mets fan in the mid 70s. My uncle would take me to one game a year and Koosman always started and there was always a rain delay. I remember in 78 attending a game and people would be drinking and smoking pot and every time Montanez was involved in any play, an older man next to us would yell in accented English "Montaneeeez, do something for your country!" It's been a treat reading these old memories from the dreadful Mets teams I grew up with. Passed the curse on to my poor son. Being a Mets fan builds character.

To the moderators--thanks for this site; I recently cleaned out my mom's house and found old Mets yearbooks etc. It's silly, but our childhood baseball memories have such resonance and reading about Leo Foster or Mark Bomback brings a strange, wistful joy.

Get's by Buckner
April 8, 2013
I often wonder if Willie played in 2013, how many pitchers would aim for his head after he hit a HR and did his HR trot?

Larry Laughing at the Late 70's
May 6, 2013
Another Montanez quirk was pointing to the ball after hitting it, especially grounders and liners, as if to guide it past the infielders. Though he drove in 96 in a poor lineup, he was already in steady decline as a hitter when the Mets swung that mindless 4-way trade, which amounted to Matlack and Milner for Montanez, with Ken Henderson as the ball-and-glove to be named later. Hendon't did help the 1978 Mets to a stunning 4-1 start, only to disappear for good two days later, and Montanez wouldn't last the following season. Meanwhile, Matlack registered the second lowest AL ERA, to Ron Guidry, and Milner helped Willie Stargell's Family win it all in '79. One of the most underrated of the franchise-killing trades engineered by M.Donald Duck and Joe McDonald Duck, under The Incompetency of the Payson heiress, Lorinda deRoulet.

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