Pat Zachry, Pitcher Known for a Lopsided Trade, Dies at 71

Pat Zachry, Pitcher Known for a Lopsided Trade, Dies at 71

Pat Zachry, Pitcher Known for a Lopsided Trade, Dies at 71
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Pat Zachry, who was a co-winner of the National League Rookie of the Year award in 1976, but who is probably best known for being one of the players traded to the New York Mets a year later for Tom Seaver, died on Thursday at the home of his son, Josh, in Austin, Texas. He was 71.

Jay Horwitz, a spokesman for the Mets, announced the death. He did not specify the cause, saying only that Zachry died after a long illness.

Zachry, a 6-foot-5 right-hander, began his career with the Reds in 1976 and got off to a promising start. He went 14-7 with a 2.74 earned run average in his first season and tied the San Diego Padres pitcher Butch Metzger for Rookie of the Year. He beat the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series and the Yankees in Game 3 of the World Series, which the Reds won in four games for their second straight championship.

The Mets decided to trade Seaver, a future Hall of Famer and the team’s star player, in June 1977 after a prolonged contract dispute between Seaver and the team’s chairman, M. Donald Grant. They sent him to Cincinnati for the infielder Doug Flynn, the outfielders Steve Henderson and Dan Norman, and Zachry.

The New York Times, in a Page 1 article, called it “one of the blockbuster trades in baseball history.”

“The premier pitcher in baseball for the last decade,” The Times noted, had been traded for “four players of far less magnitude.”

Met fans were not pleased; according to The Times, the team’s switchboard was “besieged” with angry phone calls even before the deal was officially announced.

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“We weren’t going to replace Tom. No one could,” Flynn said in a statement issued by the Mets after Zachry’s death. “We just stuck together and played as hard as we could.”

Zachry’s first full season as a Met began well. He won seven of his first eight decisions, was chosen for the National League All-Star team and was 10-3 at the halfway point of the season.

But he lost his next three decisions, and when he allowed a go-ahead single to George Foster of the Reds on July 24 and was taken out of the game by the Mets’ manager, Joe Torre, he kicked a helmet in the dugout, caught a spike on the steps and broke his left foot, ending his season.

The rest of his career was undistinguished. In 10 major league seasons with the Reds, Mets, Dodgers and Phillies, he was 69-67 with a 3.52 E.R.A.

Patrick Paul Zachry was born on April 24, 1952, in Richmond, Texas, southwest of Houston, 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.

In addition to his son, a former college football player, Zachry is survived by a daughter, Meredith Knight, an equestrian.

The New York Times contributed reporting.

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