New York Mets Hats

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Glad To Have MET Ya: Lockwood's Brushes With Charlie Finley, Catfish Hunter And Satchel Paige

August 16, 2019 - 1:23 pm

By Joey Wahler

In 1964, a Kansas City A's scout visited the Massachusetts home of high school third baseman and future Mets reliever Skip Lockwood, offering him $35,000 dollars to sign, but when Lockwood sought $135,000, team owner Charlie Finley was called.

"He picked up the kitchen phone right next to the refrigerator, he called Charlie," Lockwood said of the scout. "Charlie asked me one question. He said, 'Why should I give you that kind of money, kid?' I says, 'Because I'll make you a winner.'"

Lockwood got his wish, but a year later he played just one A's season, rooming in spring training with pitcher Catfish Hunter. The future Hall of Famer sported a fresh hunting injury.

"He came in and took his shoe off and his foot was bleeding," Lockwood said. "And he had shot the little toe off of his right foot the week before he came to spring training."

In September of 1965, Lockwood shared a locker with eventual Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige. At age 59, Paige unretired after 12 years, becoming baseball's oldest player ever.

"All of a sudden this guy comes in, he looks like a suit of clothes that somebody left the hanger in," Lockwood said. "He was tall and skinny, all shoulders. Long, gangly arms. He introduced himself. Then there must've been 20, 25 reporters following him in."

After switching to pitching, in 1976 Lockwood became the Mets closer for four years, relieving starters like Jon Matlack, Jerry Koosman and a big motivator, Tom Seaver.

"He wanted you to pitch like he pitched," Lockwood said of Seaver. "And so the fact that Matlack, and Koosman and Seaver expected something out of me that I probably never expected of myself, made a big difference."

Listen to every Mets game on your radio at 880AM and check out the Apple Bites audio channel for highlights, player interviews and more!