Former major league pitcher Pat Zachry dies at 71

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Saturday, April 6, 2024

Pat Zachry, who won a share of the 1976 National League Rookie of the Year for the World Series champion Cincinnati Reds and was traded to the New York Mets the following year for Tom Seaver, has died. He was 71.

Zachry died Thursday at son Josh's home in Austin, Texas, following a lengthy illness, Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said Saturday. Zachry would have turned 72 on April 24.

The Reds held a moment of silence in Zachry's memory before Friday night's game against the Mets.

A 6-foot-5 right-hander, Zachry was 69-67 with a 3.52 ERA in 10 major league season with the Reds (1976-77), Mets (1977-82), Los Angeles Dodgers (1983-84) and Philadelphia (1985).

He went 14-7 with a 2.74 ERA in his first season and tied San Diego pitcher Butch Metzger in the rookie award voting. Zachry beat Philadelphia at Veterans Stadium in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series, then won Game 3 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium as the Reds swept New York for their second straight title.

When the Mets sought to trade Seaver after the star pitcher got into a dispute with team chairman M. Donald Grant, they struck a deal with Cincinnati that brought them Zachry along with infielder Doug Flynn, rookie outfielder Steve Henderson and outfield prospect Dan Norman.

"We weren't going to replace Tom. No one could," Flynn said in a statement issued by the Mets. "We just stuck together and played as hard we could."

Zachry went 10-6 with a 3.33 ERA in his first full season with the Mets, starting 7-1 and earning his only All-Star selection.

"He doesn't get the credit he deserves for his career," Flynn said. "On top of everything, he was the greatest teammate anyone could ever have."

Zachry was born in Richmond, Texas, attended Richfield High School in Waco and was selected by Cincinnati with the 454th pick in the 19th round of the 1970 amateur draft. He made his major league debut against Houston on April 11, 1976.

His was 10-3 for the Mets at the halfway point of the 1978 season, when the team was 34-47. He lost three straight decisions and when he allowed a go-ahead single to Cincinnati's George Foster on July 24 and was replaced with reliever Kevin Kobel by manager Joe Torre, Zachry kicked a helmet in the dugout, caught a spike on the steps and broke his left foot, an injury diagnosed 10 days later ended his season.

"I was mad at myself for throwing him three straight changeups," said Zachry, who earlier gave up a hit to Pete Rose, who tied Tommy Holmes' NL hitting streak record at 37 games.

In addition to his son, Zachry is survived by daughter Meredith Knight. Josh was a quarterback for Baylor from 2000-02 and Meredith an equestrian.