John Robert Meyer (March 23, 1932 – March 6, 1967) was an American professional baseball right-handed pitcher, who appeared in all or parts of seven Major League (MLB) seasons (1955–1961) with the Philadelphia Phillies.
|Born: March 23, 1932|
|Died: March 6, 1967 (aged 34)|
|April 16, 1955, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 30, 1961, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Earned run average||3.92|
Born in Philadelphia, Meyer came from a '"well-to-do New Jersey family," was educated at the exclusive William Penn Charter School, and attended the University of Delaware and Wake Forest University. During his playing days, he was listed at 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall, weighing 175 pounds (79 kg).
Meyer signed with the Phillies in 1951 and steadily rose through their farm system, winning 15 games for the 1954 Syracuse Chiefs of the Triple-A International League (IL). His most successful MLB season was his 1955 rookie campaign, when he led the National League (NL) in both saves (16) and games finished (36), while fanning 97 batters in 1101⁄3 innings pitched. Meyer also made five starts, and wound up finishing second to Bill Virdon in NL Rookie-of-the-Year Award balloting. However, Meyer’s effectiveness then began to fade and he spent part of 1957 back in Triple-A.
Meyer rebounded to post respectable seasons in both 1958 and 1959, largely in middle relief, but his career was negatively affected by his growing reputation as a drinker and late-night carouser. He was a member — along with fellow pitchers Turk Farrell and Jim Owens — of the so-called "Dalton Gang", who received notoriety around baseball for multiple, and well-publicized, off-field incidents.
Meyer, who was given the nickname of "The Bird", went on the disabled list with a herniated disk and was fined $1,200 (nine percent of his salary) after a bout of post-game drinking in Pittsburgh in May 1960 led to confrontations with two sportswriters and Phillies' broadcaster Byrum Saam, then a fight with Farrell and several teammates, which left Meyer injured. He missed the remainder of the 1960 season and only pitched in one more game, in 1961, before leaving baseball.
Meyer suffered a heart attack while watching a basketball game on television and died on March 6, 1967, at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Only 34 years old, he had a history of heart problems. Meyer left a wife and three children.
- "Jack Meyer Stats". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. 2020. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
- Bingham, Walter (June 13, 1960). "The Dalton Gang Rides Again". si.com. Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
- "Jack Meyer Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. 2020. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
- "1955 National League Pitching Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. 2020. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
- "Jack Meyer". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet. 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
- "John Robert "Jack" Meyer (1932–1967)". findagrave.com. Find a Grave. March 6, 1967. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
- "Brian Meyer Stats". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2016.