Baseball History: Hobie Landrith and Roger Nelson Were First Picks for Mets and Royals

As the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals prepare to battle in this year’s World Series, let’s take a look where each franchise began.

The Mets were born in the 1962 season, while the Royals came along in 1969.

The first players for each team were selected during an expansion draft.

New York picked catcher Hobie Landrith off the San Francisco Giants roster in 1961.

Baltimore pitcher Roger Nelson was the initial choice for Kansas City in 1968.

Mets Opening Day Catcher

Landrith was near the end of his 14-year career when he joined the Mets.

He was the team’s opening day starter behind the plate, but almost two months later he became of member of the Baltimore Orioles.

During his short time with the Mets, Landrith played in 23 contests with one homer and seven RBI with a .289 batting average.

In May of 1962, the Mets picked up Marv Throneberry from the Orioles for a player to be named later. After the Mets were swept in Philadelphia on June 6, Landrith became the player to be named later and was shipped to Baltimore.

Landrith finished the 1962 season with the Orioles and would be sold to the Washington Senators the following year as he career came to an end.

With seven different clubs in the majors, Landrith was with the Cincinnati Reds from 1950-1955.

In 1956, Landrith had one of his better seasons as he played in 111 games with the Chicago Cubs and hit four homers and knocked in 32 runs.

After spending the next two years with the St. Louis Cardinals, Landrith moved on to the Giants where he was in 109 contests and had three home runs, 29 RBI and batted .251 in 1959. He played in San Francisco for three years until the Mets made him their first player.

roger nelson 1969 frontFour Years in Kansas City

Unlike Landrith, Nelson was able to stick around with the Royals from 1969 until he was traded after the 1972 season.

Nelson made it to the big leagues in 1967 with the Chicago White Sox before going to the Orioles the following season.

With the Royals in 1969, Nelson posted a 7-13 record with a 3.31 ERA.

Nelson’s best year in Kansas City was in 1972 as he was 11-6 with the fifth best ERA in the American League at 2.08.

After that season, he was traded to the Reds with Richie Scheinblum for Hal McRae and Wayne Simpson.

Nelson was 7-6 in two seasons with a 3.41 ERA for the Reds. In 1973, he had a scoreless relief effort in the third game of the National League Championship Series against New York. The Mets won that game 9-3 and went on to take the series.

The right-hander didn’t play in the majors in 1975, but he made his final three appearances with Kansas City in 1976 when the Royals won the AL West and made the post-season for the first time.

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