By Barry Duchan
Editor's Note: We will publish a post from Barry Duchan every Sunday covering some aspect of Mets history. - M.S.
In 1969, the Mets were World Champions, but management saw that there were still holes to fill. So, that winter, knowing that one of their third basemen, Ed Charles was getting on in years, and the other, Wayne Garrett was a very weak hitter for a third baseman, the Mets set their sights on getting someone who could be their regular third baseman for the next few years.
They did have a valuable chip to trade. Amos Otis was a highly regarded young prospect who had been drafted by the Mets from the Red Sox organization and made it to AAA Jacksonville in no time at all, playing all over the field. The Mets wanted him to play third, but he didn't really have his heart in it, and as a result, didn't do much when given the chance. He was convinced that his best position was centerfield, but the Mets had just gotten a spectacular year from Tommie Agee, and decided to stick with him, rather than commit to a young player, especially when they were trying to defend their championship.
Joe Foy was a still-young third baseman who had been Kansas City's first choice in the expansion draft, and had a solid season for them. Foy was also from the Bronx, and the Mets figured he'd be a popular addition as well as a potent offensive force combining speed and power.
The Royals wouldn't do the deal even-up, so the Mets had to throw in one of their top pitching prospects, Bob Johnson. This trade turned out to be the most disastrous in Mets' history up to that point (though they would certainly make some worse ones in the future !). Foy didn't hit, couldn't field, had all kinds of personal problems and was dumped quickly, leaving a gap at third that the Mets would have to try to fill repeatedly. Otis, of course, became an all-star centerfielder for years with the Royals and Johnson even had a good year or two in the big leagues before fading.