Killeen was a ‘cut’ away from making the Mets in 1962

From SABR member Nick Diunte at on February 28, 2012:

Fifty years ago in February, the New York Mets opened spring training with a hodgepodge of players cast off by their respective organizations, some looking to prolong their careers, others looking to start theirs.

One of those upstarts was a local product, Evans Killeen; a 26-year-old right-handed pitcher from Elmont, N.Y. Killeen had seen action in four games with the Kansas City Athletics in 1959, winding up in Mexico before the Mets gave him another lease on his baseball career after pitching in a local semi-pro league.

“I had been with Kansas City in the AL in 1959. I hurt my leg in my fourth game in the major leagues; I stepped on a catcher’s mask backing up a play in home plate in Cleveland,” said Killeen from his home in Long Island. “In 1960, I played in the Mexican League, just going through the motions. In 1961, I was home and people talked me into playing semi-pro baseball again. I guess I dazzled them out there. St. Johns coach Jack Kaiser saw me pitch against his team and recommended me to the Mets.”

Killeen was part of a group of pitchers that arrived early to spring training that included high-priced signings such as Jay Hook and Bob “Righty” Miller. Despite not being one of the Mets prized recruits, manager Casey Stengel liked what he saw in Killeen.

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Originally published: February 28, 2012. Last Updated: February 28, 2012.