John Pacella's card

Photo Courtesy of Topps

Glad To Have MET Ya: Pacella Still Remembered For Cap Flying Off

Joey Wahler
September 10, 2019 - 1:14 pm

Drafted by the Mets in 1974 from Bohemia, Long Island, when throwing a pitch John Pacella's aggressive motion and thick head of hair routinely made his cap fly off.

“My delivery was that of, I was a full effort guy," Pacella said. "And that’s the way I always pitched. So that was happening to me. That was just second nature to me for that to happen.”  

A Met from 1977 to ’82, the right-hander started 15 games in 1980, becoming the subject of a Mets announcers “Cap Count.”

“Steve Albert told me at that time, if you guessed the amount of times it fell off during the game they were giving away clock radios," Pacella said. "There was something crazy about that.”

Major New York advertising executive Jerry Della Femina once told Pacella of his cap exploits, “Twenty years from now, people are going to remember you for this.”

With the Mets, Pacella roomed with outfielder and matinee idol Lee Mazzilli.

“We were out on Long Island, we had to run out of the mall," Pacella said. "That’s how crazy it got. I says, I don’t know if they’re running after me. If I stop, I think they’ll go right by me. I think they’re after Lee though," he added, laughing.

Since 1994, Pacella and ex-major leaguer Dan Briggs run the Big League Baseball School. Their motto: Travel baseball without the travel.

“We run travel leagues in and around the Columbus, Ohio area, where teams, and families and players don’t have to travel," Pacella said. "We play at one site.”

Despite just four major league wins, Pacella still is mailed autograph requests from fans sending his unique 1981 baseball card, showing his cap falling to the mound.

“It’s crazy how all these years later, what do you know when you’re playing?" Pacella said. "All these years later that people remember that. But it’s good to be remembered for something, right Joe?”