Monday, November 8, 2010

Final Card: Bill Hepler

This is the final baseball card for Bill Hepler (#144). His only other card came in 1966, when he appeared on a 7th-series Mets Rookies card.

Until today, I never gave a 2nd thought to Hepler. Sure, I had seen his short career listed on the back of this card, and I knew he didn't have a card after this one, but here's what I learned today: Bill was signed by the Washington Senators in 1965, and spent one season at class-A Geneva, NY where he compiled a 13-10 record in 28 starts.

Based on only one class-A season, two things happened:
1) The Mets selected him in the Rule 5 draft
2) Topps gave him a slot on a 1966 Mets Rookies card

Were the Mets (and Topps) so smart to give him such attention? If he was a phenom, why did the Senators leave him unprotected?

Bill jumped all the way to the majors in 1966 (well he'd have to, being a Rule 5 draft pick), and appeared in 37 games (3 starts) for a total of 69 innings. He also walked twice as many batters as he struck out. This may well explain his one-year major-league career.

After 1966, he spent the next 3 years pitching for A and AA teams in the Mets' system, before wrapping up his career in 1970 with 5 games for the Senators' single-A team in the Carolina League.

Maybe a veteran Mets' fan can shed some light on the fast rise and faster fall of Bill Hepler's career.


Unknown said...

You can find some stories of Hepler at the Ultimate Mets Database:

On another note, Les Miles, the head coach of LSU, who is nicknamed "The Hat" because of how high his hat is on his head, has absolutely nothing on Bill Hepler.

Erik said...

Love the 1967 design. Great stuff Jim, thanks for posting.

Wes Cross said...

And I thought I was the only one with a Bill Hepler card who wondered who he was and where he ended up. The more you post about this card set, the more I like the site!

Anonymous said...

I love you grandpa bill