How former Mets pitcher Steve Dillon became an NYPD cop
Retired NYPD Officer Steve Dillon climbed the mound at Citi Area to play within the Outdated Timers sport final month — his first time donning a Mets uniform because the Sixties.
Dillon, now 79, performed for the Mets from 1963 to 1965 earlier than taking over his second calling as a New York Metropolis police officer.
“Once I walked into the clubhouse, it was like old-home week,” the southpaw former cop instructed The Publish of taking part in within the nostalgic annual sport Aug. 27.
“[Former outfielder] Ron Swoboda teased me. He stated, ‘Hey, Lefty, don’t throw these meatballs.’ ”
Dozens of Dillon’s kinfolk had been within the stands to cheer him on the sector, together with his son Steve Dillon Jr., who shares not simply his father’s identify however membership in the identical two unique New York Metropolis establishments — the NYPD and the Queens ball membership.
“I used to be so pleased with my father,” stated the youthful Dillon, who now works because the senior director of safety for the Mets after retiring from the NYPD as a detective with the Emergency Service Unit. “I by no means noticed him pitch [before Saturday].”
The elder Dillon spent a yr on a Yankees farm staff recent out of Cardinal Hayes Excessive Faculty earlier than becoming a member of the Mets in 1963.
He ended up pitching the first-ever night time sport at Shea Stadium, as the ultimate reliever in what can be a loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
However when the Mets roster shrunk in 1965, Dillon acquired despatched again to the minors and left baseball quickly after. In 1969, he grew to become a New York Metropolis police officer.
“I bear in mind a few of my mates stated they had been going to take the police take a look at, so I went, and 11 months later, I acquired a name,” Dillon Sr. stated.
The job — then as now — was a pay minimize from major-league ball, however the work was fulfilling, he stated.
“I beloved being a cop. On daily basis was totally different,” the elder Dillon stated. “I beloved serving to folks. That was rewarding, additionally. The folks revered you, not like at present. I wouldn’t wish to be a cop at present.”
Getting again on the baseball discipline was a dream come true, stated Dillon, who was the oldest to play for the Mets at this yr’s Outdated Timers Day.
“I educated for a few months for [the game], I didn’t wish to embarrass myself,” he stated. “I believe the coaching paid off.”
Dillon Sr. pitched to Mookie Wilson and Daniel Murphy.
The youthful Dillon stated followers nonetheless mail his ex-Met dad baseball playing cards asking for an autograph.
“Somebody stated it was value $17.95,” Dillion Jr. stated of a card signed by his pop.
“But it surely might need gone up after [last month’s game],” the son quipped.
The youthful Dillon adopted his father into police work, attracted by the camaraderie of the job.
“I suppose I grew to become a cop due to my father,” he stated. “I bear in mind going to go to him within the precinct and sitting within the radio automotive, going to his precinct softball video games.”
Dillon Jr. inherited his dad’s allegiance to the Mets, too.
“I grew up a Met fan, and now I journey with the staff and work for a terrific proprietor,” the son stated. “This can be a nice job.”
However the Dillons weren’t the one ones on the occasion with ties to each the Mets and the NYPD.
Jesse Orosco, the famed pitcher who helped safe the Mets’ 1986 World Collection win, threw on the Outdated Timers sport as effectively.
And requested afterward by a reporter what occurred to the glove he threw within the air after the 1986 win, Orosco recalled that he gave it to a New York Metropolis cop who’d been shot, hoping the badly wounded Best might promote it to assist cowl medical payments.
That cop was Steven McDonald, who was left paralyzed when he was shot 3 times at shut vary whereas questioning a theft suspect in July 1986.
The hero cop’s son, NYPD Lt. Conor McDonald, instructed The Publish that the glove stayed within the household — along with his father retaining it in a glass show case in his room till he died in 2017.
“He talked concerning the glove lots. He was very grateful,” McDonald stated of his father. “He nonetheless adopted the Mets and would love the yr that they’re having.
“One of many final issues my father did earlier than he was shot was to attend the Mets sport the night time of July 11, 1986 — the night time earlier than he was shot,” McDonald stated. “To look at his staff win all of it whereas preventing for his life in Bellevue Hospital after he was shot helped him get by way of a few of the hardest nights of his life.
“The Mets and [hockey’s New York] Rangers had been his groups. They introduced him a variety of pleasure,” he added.
Orosco added to The Publish, “Individuals all the time ask me why did I give the glove away, however I’ve no regrets giving officer McDonald that glove.
“I’m glad that it made him completely happy — that makes me really feel good.”