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Gregg Jefferies
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Gregg Jefferies
Gregg Jefferies
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 27 of 974 players
Jefferies
Gregory Scott Jefferies
Born: August 1, 1967 at Burlingame, Cal.
Throws: Right Bats: Both
Height: 5.10 Weight: 175

Gregg Jefferies has been the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup 18 times, most recently on January 20, 2014.

2b 3b

First Mets game: September 6, 1987
Last Mets game: October 6, 1991





Winner of National League Player of the Week award, September 11, 1988. (New York Mets)

Share your memories of Gregg Jefferies

HERE IS WHAT OTHER METS FANS HAVE TO SAY:

Brad Rosenberg
The downfall of the great Mets of the late 80's. When the team decided to build around him, everything fell apart. I remember on Imus in the morning, when they said that they were going to interview him and they went to a clip from Kristina Everett. I do remember the tear that he went on in August/September of 1988. I'm sure Wally Backman hates the guy.

Richard S.
Jeffries was unfairly blamed for the loss of the 1988 playoffs (true, he made an error, but so did Bachman just prior). And when you have redneck pigs such as Dykstra and McDowell constantly harassing you, and a manager who doesn't do squat to stop it, of course you will not perform as well as you should.

Jeremy
Went on a tear that basically carried the Mets to the NLCS in 1988, but then went on to be one of the most disliked players in team history. I remember one time in 1990 when my family made a trip to St. Louis to see the Mets in a weekend series against the Cards. I recall that almost all the players would walk from the hotel to the park and usually in groups of two or three. Gregg Jefferies might have been the only player walking by himself. You could tell from the sulk on his face he was just not a happy man. I remember all I could think of were the stories of notes being posted on his locker about him being a baby and a loser. As he signed autographs for me and my cousin, I couldn't help but feel bad for him. A couple years later he was in that deal for Saberhagen.

Bob
I feel that Jefferies was another example of the Mets overrating their prospects in the mid 80's. Other examples include Kevin Elster and David West. (Remember all the gasping when West was finally included in the Viola trade?)

I think the organization did it intentionally to get more publicity. Jefferies was no more than a slightly above average hitter with some doubles power who had a decent career, but nothing like what we were expecting. There are plenty of guys around who are attitude problems who still put up big numbers. Jefferies was never able to do it.

Chris
Dave Johnson and Frank Cashen had a penchant for shuffling line-ups and players' positions. They wanted Jefferies to be a #3 hitter, but the fact is he was more suited to the leadoff role, and proved it when Johnson gave him an extended trial at the top of the lineup. He hit for average, walked more than he struck out, had some pop and could steal a base. If they had plugged him in at leadoff and left him there, he would have been the best leadoff man since Rickey H.

cece
Gregg Jefferies was one the main reasons why I was such an avid Mets fan. Regardless of what was said about this man he had a talent in baseball.

Brett
Gregg Jefferies is the reason why I am such an die hard Mets Fan. When I was a kid growing uo in Jersey, my dad used to take me to see him play at Shea. Those games were the first games that I can remember watching as a kid. I think it was either his rookie or second year in baseball. To this day I follow Gregg and even though things didn't work out with him and the Mets, he is still my favorite player.

Remo
Jefferies was the biggest cry baby ever to wear a Mets uniform. I don't know what was more annoying: looking at the puss on his face, or reading stories about the constant meddling his father had in his career. I actually have a plaque of this guy with the description "Rookie Sensation". What a joke.

flushing flash
Gregg Jefferies is the only player I have ever seen get hit by a routine ground ball while running the bases. And he did that more than once in the early days. He was also the first major leaguer who was born after me. He had one great season; unfortunately, it was for the Cardinals in the 1990's. Here he was viewed as a wimp and a crybaby. But, it appears, he was seen as a good teammate and an overall nice guy upon his retirement this year from the Tigers! I guess people really can change. Who knew?

Me
February 27, 2001
The guy was a major prima-donna and a spoiled baby. His Mets teammates despised him and for good reason. He spent hours rubbing his bats with some sort of special concoction and specially requested that his bats be stored separately from everyone else's just so his precious bats wouldn't chip. Even when his numbers took a nosedive, he refused to listen to any advice except from his daddy who's your stereotypical psycho "stage-mom". Davey Johnson made a huge mistake for coddling this idiot and thinking of him as some sort of golden boy.

Coach HoJo 20
April 27, 2001
Greg Jefferies is the defines the term "too much too soon."

This guy was given too much hype which definitely hindered his career. Fans were expecting a God and players were jealous. I wonder if the same thing will happen to Escobar?

murphy
May 2, 2001
I remember Sports Illustrated showing pictures of Jefferies swinging a baseball bat underwater in a swimming pool. This was one of his big training methods. I guess he would have been the league MVP in the SCUBA League. He and Gooden were supposed to be the franchise cornerstones for the '90s. Didn't quite work out, huh?

Met fan
June 1, 2001
How about the fact that Jefferies was one of the hardest working players in the off season, while the rest of the Mets in the late 80's were out partying, etc...

I just wish he got a better piece of that puss McDowell when he charged the mound.

Bottom line: This guy was a VERY above offensive player and average defensive.

You don't play 12 years in the show if you are a sub par player.

I hear that Gooden was not a big fan of Jefferies when they were teammates...funny didn't Gooden has many off field issues with drugs, etc... Have you ever heard anything like that about Jefferies...not!!!

Lou C.
August 14, 2001
went to a day game in the late 80's. Jefferies hit the first one off the top of the fence, the next 2 out, and the fourth to the warning track. Could of been somebody.

Mikep
October 11, 2001
I feel that jefferies was a very misunderstood player. I met him in florida when he played for the royals & he was a very nice guy. He talked to my friend & I for over a half an hour.

I think he was unjustly put on a pedistal by the media. Players like backman, hernandez & dykstra were jealous. How is it that when Paul Oneill grounds out or strikes out noone says anything? Yet when jefferies did it he was viewed as a baby? It was Davey's fault. he carried them in 88, & I feel that he should have stepped in.

I was so happy to see him make the Allstar game for the Cards. He would have made it the year after as well, if not for the strike. "Peace to you Gregg Jefferies." You did'nt deserve it.

Shannon
October 20, 2001
Got to know Gregg Jefferies during the 1993 season.Still to this day even though he is no longer playing.I adore Gregg.I wish he would be a coach or an announcer.I'd love to talk to him again.I still have all the autographs he gave me.I miss the good old days of talking to him at Busch Stadium.I he ever happens to read this.Which I highly doubt it.Gregg I enjoyed meeting you through Todd Zeile.You and Todd are the best.Thanks for the memories.Love Shannon

1-DaWg
November 9, 2001
I saw Gregg Jefferies in Pizza Hut on Staten Island, NY when I was in 3th Grade. He was sitting in a sweatsuit-type outfit, when I spotted him behind the cigarette machine....I yelled out, "Is that Gregg Jefferies?" - my mother hit me, and a kid from behind the counter jumped over it and ran to him for an autograph....he quickly ran out of the place, and probably left without his order. Guess the guy hated public displays........I cried all throughout dinner, my mother didn't believe me.

mike
January 16, 2002
Gregg Jefferies is my all time favorite baseball player. If he wasnt constantly harassed all the time he probably would have been one of the best hitters ever. The guy could hit. I still have his starting lineup figure on my desk.

Jon
February 3, 2002
Sad story overall. When left alone playing first base for the Cardinals, he was everything they had predicted, an absolute STUD (16-83-.342/.408/.485).

MPodolski
March 3, 2002
I think its pretty obvious that a huge reason the Mets made the ‘88 playoffs was because of the great Gregg Jefferies. I still have my Jefferies Met poster up in my room (yes I know its 2002). I wore a Jefferies shirt (the t-shirt which looked like a jersey) to a Mets-Yankees game (which was in Yankee stadium) over the summer, I kept chanting “Lets go Mets” and I kept giving Pizza a standing ovation ever time he was up, (even though the Mets were losing 7-2) the entire section started throwing stuff at me and they had this “Jefferies sucks” chant going, it was amazing. I wonder when or if ever there was a “Jefferies sucks” chant going through Yankee stadium. I must say I was happy to hear his name being chanted. (even though it was in a negative matter) Every time the Mets did something good I would stand up and put my hands over my shoulders and point to the name Jefferies on the back of my shirt, that’s usually when I got stuff thrown at me. Then I was in the bathroom and there were a few Yankee fans saying how much Jefferies sucked and that they weren’t too crazy about me either. I was buying a hot dog when some little kid came up to me and asked me who Jefferies was (the kid had to be 7 at most) I told him the truth, that Gregg Jefferies was one of the best Mets ever. This kids farther was amazed that I still had the shirt. Why don’t they retire his #9?

a mets fan
April 4, 2002
Was a spoiled brat who never cared - plain and simple.

Barry F.
April 9, 2002
Jeffries had that big month in '88 after the Mets called him up, but I'll always wonder if sitting Backman and playing him didn't hurt the team chemistry a bit. He seemed a bit overwhelmed when they used him against the Dodgers in the NLCS. After that series, he was never quite the same again. He was booed, his teammates came to dislike him and he was shipped out; another Met prospect who didn't quite pan out.

Jefferies Fan
April 13, 2002
What is wrong with you guys? Gregg Jefferies was the nicest and cared the most about playing the game than anyone that I know. He was always there for an autograph never turned down any fans. Had charities going. Always helped and give it 100 percent. Why do you guys hate him so much? Look what he did for St. Louis was in the all star game 2 times in a row and hit well over .330. So I don't see any problem.

Won Doney
April 24, 2002
I understand he was very cocky and wouldn't listen to anyone when he came up to the big leagues. I also understand that the team liked to pick on him a lot.

Some guy
April 29, 2002
Well I don't care what you guys say but he is cool. I just met him through another guy and talked to him for a bit. I thought he was a good player. I always thought of him as a kind of "Bret Boone" type guy. Could play all kinds of positions and had power to the gaps and could hit for average. He just got a bad rap.

clubhouse report
May 30, 2002
Disappointing as he may have been, Jefferies did play 13 years in the bigs, hit .289 for his career and collected more than 1500 hits as well as two trips to the All-Star game in '93 and '94. Jefferies' biggest weakness was that he couldnt play anywhere on defense. Joe Torre got the most out of him when he put him at first base but he wasn't exactly Keith Hernandez there either. What I said about Magadan also goes for Jefferies, how many better hitters have the Mets developed?

Larry Burns
May 30, 2002
Clubhouse, I agree with the assessment. Jefferies had a servicable major league career. The big problem was that management treated him like the second coming of Babe Ruth and it really ruffled the feathers of an established veteran team. That is was caused the problems. If he came up to modest expectations, he probably would have had a longer and more succesful career in NY. Unfortunately the handling of him is what caused the damage, not Jefferies himself.

Hans Moleman
May 31, 2002
Either way, Gregg was a prima donna who never developed because he couldn't handle adversity after being treated like a king his whole life before coming to Shea. Randy Myers and company ruined him and he never really developed to what he was supposed to be.

Sars
July 9, 2002
Before Jefferies, the team rocked. After Jefferies, the team sucked. I'm sure he's a lovely person, but I don't think that's a coincidence.

Jonas Wiklund
July 17, 2002
My main memories about Gregg Jefferies center around my basbeball card collecting days of the 80's. Donruss at the time had something called rated rookies cards and Topps had a future star card, I forget what it was called. Jefferies was the hot new player of the time and I thought I would grab as many as I could, seeing as I was 9 and I didn't know any better. My search was focused on looking for his card for weeks at a time. Weeks I will never get back. Jefferies wasn't that bad, I rate him with Cory Snyder and Shane Mack.

Teddy
July 19, 2002
Once told a reporter "Hitting breeds friends." His teammates overheard the quote and nearly had a group puke.

John Harvie
August 25, 2002
Gregg Jefferies was and still is my favorite player. I know he didn't live up to the expectations that everyone put on him, but nevertheless, he was a great hitter. I think at the time, Tony Gwynn was the only player harder to strike out. I never got to meet to him, but I was at a baseball card show at his high school. I waited four hours in line for a autograph. I remember that Gregg had a wedding to attend that day, but stayed until everyone a got a autograph. He had bandaids on his fingers from the blisters. Looking back on it, I'm sure he didn't deserve the crap his got in New York, I feel sorry for him in a way. I wish him luck and hope to see him in baseball as a coach of some kind. If anyone has game used items of Gregg's, I would be interested. Especially gloves and bats. Just email me.

Thanks. John

Robert
September 10, 2002
A completely mishandled situation all around - management overhyping, a manager who tried to treat a bunch of petty little boys like men (remember the McReynolds/Strawberry shower incident while the Mets were at bat in Wrigley?), a bunch of teammates more resentful than helpful of a guy who carried them down the stretch and could have done plenty more for them, and Jefferies himself - what was he thinking when he wrote that "open letter" in the papers? Maybe the beginning of the end of the '80s Mets. Losing out to the Cards in 85 and 87 was bad enough - but no way the Cubs should have finished ahead of them in 89. Glad Jefferies had a good career after the Mets - he deserved better than what he got.

flushing flash
November 8, 2002
I just visited Retrosheet again (see my comments on Mike Bishop) and looked for the game featuring the infamous Jefferies - McDowell fight. It looks like our memories are getting the best of us again.

From the comments by Mr. Sparkle and one other poster above it sounds like Jefferies charged the mound after being hit by McDowell. That never happened. There is also no record of either player ever being ejected from a game for fighting.

Here is a list of at bats Jefferies had against Roger McDowell:

Sept. 25, 1989 Shea ground out to second Sept. 27, 1989 Shea ground out to second June 2, 1990 Vet ground out to second June 24, 1990 Shea single July 24, 1990 Vet double Sept. 16, 1990 Shea strikeout April 10, 1991 Shea base on balls

The game we are looking for was the June 2, 1990 contest. It was not even the first time the two faced each other. Gregg grounded out and as he ran to first McDowell ran over and started jawing at him. Jefferies made a left turn before the bag and charged Roger who was right near the foul line. As this was the last out of the ballgame (won by the Phillies 5-4) neither player was ejected.

Jefferies was obviously not cowed by this experience because he got the best of McDowell twenty-two days later when his single helped spark a three-run ninth inning, rally capped by Tim Teufel's pinch hit over Lenny Dysktra's head in centerfield.

Just thought I'd clear that up.

Stu
November 11, 2002
The 9/27/89 at bat against McDowell was the final out of the Mets Final Home Game of the Year. As I recall McDowell went to cover first base and the two started a brawl. The reason no one was ejected was that it was the final out of the game.

Metsmind
December 24, 2002
Jefferies was an excellent single/doubles hitter. His problem was that he could only be hidden at traditionally power positions, and even then he coudn't hide. But pressure was his downfall, not lack of talent. He had a nice career, but it should have ben better.

Joe "Metsie" Feltman
April 29, 2003
Pretty good singles, doubles hitter. I was at law school in 1988, worried that that Mets were blowing their division lead, when this "phenom" pretty much carried the Mets tired butts into the playoffs. Could have been great if the Mets handled him better (like Ed Kranepool, Jeff Kent, Kevin Mitchell, etc.) Spitting image of the late great Oscar winning actor Paul Muni.

Bob P
May 1, 2003
Jefferies did have a terrific month of September 1988 (.321 AVG, 8 doubles, 6 HR, 17 RBI, .596 SLG%) but I feel the need to point out that on September 1, 1988 the Mets were 24 games over .500 and had a 7.5 game lead on the second place Pirates. In addition, the Mets had been in first place every day since May 3. So I would hesitate to give Jefferies too much credit for the '88 Mets making the playoffs.

metsin2004
June 5, 2003
I remember a game where Jefferies hit one out but they called it foul. Even the announcer (I think Ralph Kiner) thought it was gone. Anyway Jefferies was furious. The next pitch he hit over the fence for the home run. I'll never forget that.

Pitcher
June 12, 2003
Gregg quickly became my favorite player when he came up in 1988. He was a throwback player who gave his all on the field. I think if he would have had a real chance to develop and that the Mets would have stuck to their word that they were going to rebuild around him that they would have had a couple more playoff appearances in the 90's. Watching a couple of games in his final season I think he threw in the towel too soon and still hadn't reached his full potential.

Dicky Barrett
June 24, 2003
The Mets gave up on Jefferies way too early. He was only 24 when they included him in the Saberhagen Deal (which didn't really work out anyway) and already had almost 500 hits, despite having the whole team ragging on him all the time. The guy was a pure hitter with good speed and always played hard. That fact that he got upset when he got out and took special care of his bats were all part of his desire to succeed, which athletes are usually praised for. If the Mets had handled him better and he played into his late 30's could have made a run at 3,000 hits (He finished with over 1,500 despite bouncing around and retiring at 32).

Jeff In Florida
September 11, 2003
When he hit .367 in AA in 1987 he said that it was fitting because .367 was Ty Cobb's career average and that was the kind of career he was going to have. He tried so hard to appear "Old School" He said favorite player was in fact Ty Cobb and his favorite singer was Elvis. Another player said something like, "And I bet he wants to marry Marilyn Monroe!"

Barney Beaugareaux
December 14, 2003
This guy had everything and maybe if he started out in KC instead of NY he would have had a great career but I think he cracked under the pressure of NY, the high expectations, and being black balled in the clubhouse. He had plenty of talent but never delivered. It's too bad the poster boy never really got out of the swimming pool.

Kiwiwriter
June 19, 2004
He had no clue on how to handle New York. He had enormous talent, but he acted like a prima donna and a crybaby, whining about his treatment by his teammates to the media, which only made him look worse.

So the Mets traded him and Kevin McReynolds to Kansas City for Bret Saberhagen and his bleach gun. Subtraction by subtraction.

Jonathan Stern
July 19, 2004
There's a particularly addictive website devoted to TV shows in which people debate when these shows "jumped the shark." You might know that "jumping the shark" refers to an episode of "Happy Days" when the Fonz did just that. Many believe that monstrosity was the beginning of the end for the popular sitcom. "Jumping the shark" has found its way into everyday lexicon, a metaphor for when a show, or anything, begins its epic descent.

I can't think of a more potent example of a team jumping the shark than when the Mets replaced Wally Backman with Gregg Jefferies. It was more nauseating than when Scrappy Doo showed up to obliterate Scooby, Shaggy, and the gang.

Yeah, Jefferies was as much victim as perpetrator. The Mets really jumped the shark when they overhyped this poor guy and gave him preferential treatment over his teammates before he had proved himself. But you don't openly avoid mastering defensive fundamentals out of fear that you will hurt yourself, certainly not on those late 80's Mets teams. You don't place your hitting stats and goals above the needs of team (are you listening, Mr. Piazza?). And you certainly do not wash the team's dirty linen in public. The low point was in 1991 when Gregg wrote and sent to WFAN an open letter (read over the air by Chris "Mad Dog" Russo) whining about his teammates' disparaging remarks to the press about his play and begging for more support and love from the fans. Is it any wonder that he was gone after that season?

DREW (W.I.)
October 21, 2004
His tremendous run in 1988 made him a great Strat-o- matic player. His HR and AVG totals in 109 AB made him a legitimate power hitter for the time period! (Plus 5 SB made him a threat on the basepaths as well. In Strat-O-Matic terms, he was a B (Card 1- 13).

MrBlondNYC
December 2, 2004
I wasted a lot of money buying his rookie cards back in the day. And I still have those worthless things.

Gary
March 22, 2005
Jefferies got a bum rap. At least he cared about playing the best he could; and that was always misinterpreted as being a baby. I'd rather have a player on my team with his attitude then a George Foster who could care less.

Nancy MArtinez
May 21, 2005
I was one of his biggest fans back in the 80's. I was also a teen and had a major crush on him. But overall it was becasue of him that I became interested and the reason why I still love the Mets. I was devastated when he left and think he was a awesome player.

Mark Corrao
February 25, 2006
He had an excellent September call up in 1988, and won a starter's spot in the lineup in the playoffs. I think the players started to resent him for that. He was distracted by not being totally accepted by his teammates, and paid too much attention to pleasing everyone. He was young and immature, and pouted a little, but he did care about his team and teammates.

I met him once in the off season, it was right before the Super Bowl, on a Saturday in January 1989. He walked into a local supermarket in Staten Island where I was working. It was cold outside, and he stood out for his lack of wearing a coat. He also had a nice diamond pendant around his neck with the number "9" in diamonds. I recognized him right away and told my co-workers that it was him. I approached him, and he was as kind as could be, signed autographs and talked. He was shopping with his girlfriend for Super Bowl party snacks. Rumor had it he was renting a house on Staten Island, guess it was true. I helped him pick out avocados for guacamole dip.

Nice guy. Boy he could hit.

Hawken's Mom
March 19, 2006
In 1997 my husband and son attended a spring training game in Bradenton. I had told my son that Gregg was my favorite player so I told him to keep an eye out for him. Gregg was in the batting circle and the player before him hit a ground ball to a Pirates player who threw it to first base. It went over the first baseman's head and into the stands hitting my son in the face. (It broke his orbital bone) Gregg saw the whole thing, and doesn't remember a pitch that was thrown to him. He told his coach he couldn't play any more and went into the dugout to pray for my son. The very next day it wasn't someone from the Pirates that came to visit it was Gregg and his lovely wife. I will never forget that. I don't care what anyone thinks or says Gregg is a wonderful person with a big heart. He loves kids, and I've never seen him turn down an autograph for one. Besides that he is a great player!

Michael
November 1, 2006
My father took me to Port St. Lucie towards the very end of spring training, I think around 1988. When we got to the complex, the Mets game was completely sold out. We had no other option but to walk around the grounds and catch some of the minor league games. We found the Tidewater Tides and Gregg Jefferies happened to be the shortstop. He was told that morning that he was not making the opening day roster for the Mets. We hung around and watched the entire game. I believe he had 3 hits and 3 errors at short. When the game was over the teams took off, Gregg stayed late with some coaches and took extra fielding at shortstop. Me, my father, and uncle were the only ones left. After this, we called Gregg over for an autograph. He came over and asked if we were waiting for him this whole time. He signed a bunch of cards and balls for me. He hung out with us for a few minutes and was great. A couple of minutes spent like this with a young kid is all it takes to become their favorite player of all time!

Jason
April 19, 2007
Gregg was my favorite player when I was a kid. I had hundreds of his cards, newspaper clippings, etc. I was 11 years old when my parents took me to Atlanta to see him play for the first time (and only time) in person. On his second at bat he was injured while rounding second base and was out the rest of the game. I was a heartbroken kid...and was never able to see Gregg play in person again.

Looking back now (and being 27 years old) it seems like Gregg was just a kid himself and had the weight of NEW YORK on his shoulders...you could see with every strike, every ground or fly out, and every error the tremendous amount of pressure he was under (like no other) to perform. Had he played for any other city I think he would have been much better off.

To this day I still have my Jefferies collection and I will always remember him as my childhood hero and favorite player of all time.

Sacred Heart Heat Mizer
October 10, 2007
I am sure you remember this like it was yesterday. You were at Serra High School, a sophomore if memory serves me correct. I was on the mound - for Sacred Heart HS, bringing the heat as usual. The count went 3-2, you were looking for a fastball, but I changed you up with a slow murph-slider. You were already in the next county with your swing when the ball reached the plate. You weakly topped it back to the mound. As I deftly fielded the ball I paused to make sure you were running it out, since often you would not. I then underhanded it to first base. I want to now apologize for the unsportsmanlike gesture - so many years ago.

Sincerely,

murphmaster

Hojo3030
October 15, 2007
Bunch of great stories here about Jefferies. Like many of you I was 8 years old when he came up and knew he was ready because I would read about him in Mets Inside Pitch every month. Sure enough he was, went on a tear, and they jettisoned Backman. Of course Backman was a fan favorite and more importantly a favorite with the players. They hated #9 for this right away which was a tough situation for all parties involved. Hindsight is always 20/20, but these guys gave him a ridiculously hard time, and sure you hear he was cocky and stuff, but what professional athletes aren't? Besides, the kid could play ball. If they focus their energy on beating Zane Smith and Bob Walk instead of writing chicken S#!% notes on his locker maybe they could've racked up more division titles that should've been under their belts with all that talent.

august
April 12, 2008
I grew up with Gregg and his older brother. We played ball together or against each other (mostly on the same teams) since I was 13 till college came. He was drafted with a big send off. High, high hopes. He was going to be the next Keith Hernandez. (Same area/summer league team/coaches.) I remember during a strike in the early 80's Keith came to take BP with us kids. (Keith's dad was our "part time" coach.) And our jaws dropped as Keith walked down to the field with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, hung over like hound dog.

The first guy to grab a glove and ask him to warm up with him was Gregg. (He was the youngest on the team, too.) We were all too intimidated and just scattered around the outfield to shag.

Now, that was a sight I'll never forget. 13-year-old Gregg Jefferies warming up with Keith Hernandez like it was meant to be.

(By the way, Keith is an amazing hitter. Textbook. Even with a cig in his mouth, reeking of beer.)

Gregg's dad was criticized for being a stage mom. He was my coach, the most competitive man I ever known, and he was tough as nails. One of the few people in life I have ever been afraid of. Even when I see him these days I get scared like he's going to call me down the third base line to the coach's box and yell at me for dumping the bunt signal.

Let me say, if I had Gregg's father I would have played pro ball, easily. Gregg was groomed at a young age. (And the workout regimes are true. BP with the lights off, swinging in a pool, etc.) The thing that killed Gregg was maturity. (Don't underestimate it.) I told him (my parents even told him) he should go to college and play there before getting drafted. It so would have helped him as a person, a player, a man. (Look at Jack del Rio, same opportunities, went to college.) Gregg thought about USC, but the money, fame (he did nail Cindy Crawford), excitement, expectations are hard to pass up at that age.

He had some family weight, yes. An older brother who wasn't going to make it and was just a totally different personality. (I always liked him more and felt sorry for him. He was older by a couple years and basically one of those permanently "checked out" guys. I think he had to be with what he was witnessing with Gregg.) A father, mother, and grandparents who did want it for him, and did follow him around through the minors in a motor home from town to town. He had the "support system" that should have made everything okay. It's just that growing up is hard. (He was drafted at 17, NY Mets at 19.) His girlfriend at the time (at home) was a complete idiot (the kind you grab at 17) who had no dreams or goals but to spend Gregg's money. (She was cut loose and then tried to sue...no class.)

But it was the timing, the maturity, and Gregg himself that did it. Gregsg was never the funniest, most charming, he was a nice guy at times, but that felt put on, it wasn't organic, he wasn't organic. Gregg was manufactured, arrogant. Maybe for a reason, real or perceived. I never saw him out of control, or drunk. I admired that as a teenager, but question it now.

One time after going 0-4 his father told him to go out and have a few beers with the team and loosen up. (It was 16-18 league, we had fake Id's.) Gregg wouldn't go out. He had an agenda from the day he was born. It was dictated to him (and his bro). And it evolved into dugout (later to be called Clubhouse) poison. Just a bad vibe you can't hide with a pat on a back-up players rump. A mistake on the field by a teammate somehow made HIM look bad. And he let it show. (You should never let it show.) That's how he saw things, was trained to see things. (And by the way, he made 3 errors in the last inning to lose his High School championship game. But, I'm sure he looked at it as "Thank God I was at short or the other guy would have made 4.")

The reason Gregg didn't become a Tom Brady (same High School, same type of father, same abilities, same work ethic, same brains) was because Gregg was never allowed to mature and "become." Greg always just ... was. Tom didn't start in High School, College, the pros (at the start), but worked his ass off and took advantage of every opportunity he got. He waited his turn, then turned the world on. Not just as an athlete, but as a man.

Gregg was never taught to wait his turn, be part of a team, believe in himself enough to allow tomorrow to come. It had to happen today. And because of that, he never learned to struggle/fail/evolve/become. Didn't know how to deal. That's what led to the desperate (fatherly crafted) radio/letter he read asking for support from his teammates and NY in general. How pathetic? That's something you don't even get away with on a High School team, much less the Mets. Respect/support/understanding is something you can't ask for or tell people you deserve. You have to earn it. Do your job to the best of your ability and support your teammates. He was too young/immature/ignorant to understand that. He didn't know who he was or where he was. (You're not in Kansas anymore, Greg!!!). And it hurt him bad.

From home it was like watching the shuttle explode. That was it. His marginal success in later years as a journeyman will always be overshadowed by his lack of class in New York.

If you look back and study Mickey Mantle, he went through a very similar start in NY. They booed the hell out of him. So, he packed his bags to quit one day. His father helped him and said, "You're right, you're not ready to play big league ball." Then Mickey stopped him and unpacked them and got back to work. Mickey persevered and became what he was. Why? He matured. Mickey became a big-league ballplayer. Gregg was never Big League. Gregg was never a pro. Gregg was a talent. Just a talented kid in over his head most of time. The only mature thing he ever did was retire young, with a 3-million-dollar deal on the table, and try to salvage his marriage.

That was a let down as well. They divorced, she cleaned him out well. The last time I saw Gregg was years ago. He had just got married. I asked who was his best man? (Many names from home flew through my mind, as well as teammates, his brother...) The best man in his wedding was the friend with a financial percentage. His agent. I walked away thinking how that made perfect sense. That's someone Gregg can definitely trust to be on his side.

Mike B
April 24, 2008
Thanks for your "insider" take on Jefferies. I agree with you that a lack of maturity was Jefferies' biggest problem but I also felt sorry for him and I don't think the Mets' players and fans really helped. I remember a WFAN caller asked Mike Francesa why was it called passion when Lou Piniella (NY Yankee at the time) threw his helmet or bat but immaturity when Jefferies did it. For a rare time, Mike had no answer. I hope Gregg finds some peace in this life. I'll remember him as one fine hitter.

Shickhaus Franks
April 24, 2009
During one of the Mets-Marlins games over the Easter weekend, Keith Hernandez mentioned Gregg Jefferies. I remember back in the day when Keith would throw his helmet in disgust it was passion but when Gregg would do the same thing, it was kind of like a child going through the "terrible twos". The Keith-Gregg comparisons were like Lenny Bruce getting ARRESTED for saying a obscene word but when Meryl Streep said the same thing she won an Academy Award. Couldn't handle the Big Apple in the late 80's when there was just papers, cable tv and talk radio; can you imagine him coming up as a prospect in the SNY/internet/blogs world of 2009?

Shea tony
January 30, 2010
I think that Jefferies came to the Mets at a difficult time. Hernandez was at the end of his career and the Mets were in transition. I remember that in Kansas City George Brett, a better player than Keith Hernandez, took him under his wing. I know Jefferies had benefited learning under a true Hall of Famer and had some good years in Kansas City and St. Louis.

Sharon Dorahty
August 14, 2011
The Mets would have won 3 championships in the 80/90's if we traded him, instead of Wally. Was every one of his teammates wrong? He had dinner alone on the road, for 12 seasons. So, Gregg Jefferies is coaching high school baseball, now?? What is he teaching the kids? How to get the very least from their talents? Lastly. his dad's the assistant coach...Yo Papa Jefferies, it's far time to let your little Greggy in walking on his own.

"....and I never spent his money. I earned it in so many ways" (name that lawsuit Gregg)

Rob Brown
April 6, 2012
Building around Gregg Jefferies was, by far, not the main reason why the 1980s Mets failed to win the division in 1987, 1989, and 1990 and take at least one more World Series title. Of course, Jefferies didn't live up to the hype or, at least with the Mets, continue to have the success that he had in the Minor Leagues. But, in addition to his September 1988 tear, he did have a pretty good year in 1990 hitting at the top of the order with Dave Magadan. He led the NL in doubles (40), was tied for eigth in the league in runs scored (96), and smacked 15 HRs for good measure.

mike
April 13, 2012
I was a 12 year old kid here in Florida and a true Mets fan. The 1989 season was all about Gregg Jefferies. He was going to be the man! He had became my favorite player. I had only watched him play half a dozen times when he was brought up from the minors in 1988. He was bad to the bone! The 1989 season was very disappointing. He let me down. Every game I just knew he would come out of his slump ut it didn't happen. He was my first true sports hero before he actually became one. It was a great lesson learned, but I will never forget Gregg Jefferies. I felt sorry for him.









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