In a somber moment for baseball enthusiasts, Hobie Landrith, the inaugural player for the New York Mets, bid adieu to the realm of the living on March 30, 2023, at the age of 93. The news of Landrith’s passing has left a void in the hearts of Mets fans and the broader baseball community, as they remember a player who etched his name in the annals of the sport.
Landrith, a luminary of Major League Baseball (MLB), embarked on a remarkable 14-season journey that saw him don the uniforms of the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Senators, and, most notably, the New York Mets. It was in the Mets’ inaugural season of 1962 that Landrith became the first-ever pick in the expansion draft, forever etching his name in the team’s history.
The cause of Landrith’s passing, according to all accounts, was attributed to natural causes. At 93, he joins the echelons of those who have left an indelible mark on the sport. Landrith is survived by his six children, a testament to a life well-lived and a legacy that extends beyond the baseball diamond.
For Mets fans, Landrith’s contribution was more than just statistics on a scoreboard. Mets writer Jay Horwitz reminisced, revealing that Landrith considered his time with the Mets as a cherished chapter in his illustrious career. Horwitz shared, “He told me I was the first person from the organization who called him in over 50 years. Hobie, a left-handed catcher, was thrilled and said he always cherished his brief time with the Mets.”
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Landrith’s impact was not only felt on the field but also in the personal connections he fostered. Jay Horwitz recalled the historic moment when Landrith and Roger Craig formed the Mets’ first battery in the 1962 season opener. Reflecting on this, Horwitz expressed his gratitude for reaching out to Landrith, ensuring that he knew he was cared for by the organization.
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 9, 2023
As a catcher, Landrith’s prowess extended beyond the numbers. With a career .233 batting average, he recorded a noteworthy .289 with the Mets, showcasing his resilience and adaptability on the field. His tenure with the Mets saw him start behind the plate in the team’s inaugural game on April 11, 1962, a historic moment etched in the memories of Mets fans.
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One of Landrith’s defining moments in a Mets uniform occurred a month later, when he delivered a two-run, walk-off home run against the legendary Warren Spahn, securing a 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Braves. This clutch performance solidified Landrith’s place in Mets folklore and endeared him to fans who still recall the magic of that day.
Landrith’s journey in baseball was not merely about statistics and accolades; it was a story woven with familial bonds, resilience, and a deep sense of gratitude. Born to Charles and Edna Landrith in Decatur, IL, Hobie’s roots extended to Detroit, MI, where he grew up in a close-knit family of seven brothers and one sister. Family reunions were a cherished tradition, and Landrith is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 74 years, Peggy Joyce Landrith.
Beyond baseball, Landrith’s legacy extended into coaching, where he shared his passion for the game at the Giant’s Fantasy Camps. Even after his playing days, he continued to inspire and uplift those around him during his executive career with Volkswagen of America.
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Landrith’s faith in God through Jesus guided his spiritual journey, and Valley Church remained a significant part of his family’s life. He believed in using his gifts to bless others, and his positivity became a source of encouragement for all who crossed his path.
Instead of flowers, the Landrith family has requested donations to City Team Ministries of San Jose, reflecting Hobie’s commitment to giving back to the community.
As we bid farewell to a baseball icon, Hobie Landrith’s legacy resonates not only in the records he set but in the lives he touched. His journey, spanning the golden era of baseball, leaves an enduring mark on the sport, reminding us that the true essence of a legend transcends the boundaries of a baseball diamond.