John Milner

Milner was a talented prospect for whom the Mets had high expectations, but his recurring hamstring problems often caused him to miss time. He was a native of Atlanta who grew up as a fan of Hank Aaron, appropriated his idol’s nickname, and appeared to imitate his batting stance. Breaking in as an outfielder, he batted only .238 in his rookie year (1972), but hit 17 HR in 362 at-bats and showed a good eye at the plate.

Milner hit a career-high 23 HR in 1973, with 72 RBI, 69 runs, and a .252 average in 451 at-bats as the NL champion Mets’ primary first baseman. His power dropped off after 1974, and the Mets traded him with Jon Matlack as part of a four-way deal that sent Milner to Pittsburgh as New York got Willie MontanezKen Henderson, and Tom Grieve.

Milner played less for the Pirates, but in 1979 he contributed 16 HR in 326 at-bats while hitting a career-high .276 as the Pirates’ “Family” won a World Championship. He was picked up by the Expos for their 1981 pennant drive as they took the only division title in their history, and he finished his career in 1982 with the Pirates.

Milner had ten career grand slams, including three for the Mets in 1976 and pinch hit grand slams for the Pirates in 1979 and 1982 (both in August pennant races). Eddie Milner of the Reds is his cousin.