The New York Mets of the 1980’s was one of the most entertaining baseball teams of the decade. Between stars like Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, and Gary Carter, they had personality and talent to spare. They vacillated from terrible to World Series winners, with their common theme being their ability to draft and cultivate talented young players. Some of those prospects became stars, while other like Ronn Reynolds, weren’t able to stick because of the established veterans already in front of them.
Reynolds, a catcher, played collegiately at the University of Arkansas. He was drafted by the Oakland A’s in 1979, but decided to go back to school for more seasoning. The following year the New York Mets made him their 5th round selection, with the idea that he was their catcher of the future. At the time the Mets had John Stearns and Alex Trevino manning the position, and while they were both solid receivers, neither were considered stars.
In the minors Reynolds proved to be stronger defensively than offensively, but impressed enough to earn his first major league call-up in 1982 for two games. He got in another 24 games with the Mets in 1983, splitting his time between Flushing and their Triple-A affiliate in Tidewater.
On December 10, 1984, something happened that changed Reynolds’ future with the Mets forever. That day the team traded a raft of young players for future Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, immediately installing him as the anchor of their lineup. The Mets still saw Reynolds as having a future with the team, but as a backup. With Carter just 30 years old at the time, it was clear that playing time behind the plate in New York would be limited for years to come.
Reynolds played with the Mets in 1985, but unhappy with his playing time, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies during the off-season. His desire to be a major league starter never came to fruition, as he bounced around, also playing for the Astros and Padres. He never appeared in more than 43 games in any one season and retired following the 1990 campaign.
In 142 career major league games Reynolds hit .188 with 4 home runs and 21 RBI. More information about his career statistics is available at http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/reynoro02.shtml.
Not every baseball player can be a star or even a starter. That simple truth doesn’t mean that they stop trying, and in the case of Reynolds it drove his entire professional career, though he was never able to achieve his ultimate goal. Baseball can be as much about the chase as it can be the results; something that Reynolds only became aware of after his career ended.
Ronn Reynolds Questionnaire:
If you could do anything differently about your career, what would that be?: I would have stayed with the Mets and been satisfied backing up Gary Carter.
Who was your favorite coach or manager?: Joe Torre.
Who was the toughest pitcher you ever faced?: Orel Hershiser.
What was the strangest play you ever saw?: An inside the park home run by Dave Kingman in St. Louis!
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