Padres manager John McNamara said Ivie, San Diego's number-one draft choice in 1970,
"was born to catch." But Ivie hated catching and preferred first base; the Padres
tried him at third base too, including 61 games there in 1975. When he was moved
again to third base in 1977, he jumped the team for several days. It looked as though
he would live up to his promise as a hitter in 1976, when he hit .291 with 70 RBI
in 405 at-bats. But San Diego tired of his attitude and traded him in February 1978
for Derrel Thomas.
Ivie hit a career-high .308 for the Giants in 1978 when he backed
up the aging Willie McCovey at first base. Ivie showed little range but was a useful
pinch hitter. He went 12-for-31 in the pinch and tied a major league record with
two pinch grand slams that season. That performance won him more playing time in
1979, and he had career highs of 27 HR and 89 RBI in 402 at-bats. He also had a clause
written into his contract specifying that he would not have to catch.
vanished in 1980 (four HR in 286 at-bats) and Ivie once again wore out his welcome.
He was traded to Houston in April 1981 for Jeff Leonard and Dave Bergman, and his
career petered out thereafter. Rick Monday summed it up best when he said, "Mike
Ivie is a forty-million-dollar airport with a thirty-dollar control tower."
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»June 4, 1970: In the June draft, the Padres select high school catcher Mike Ivie as the number-one pick and sign him in three days to a $100,000 contract. He'll play in the ML 11 years but catch only nine games in the bigs because of a phobia about throwing the ball back to the pitcher. Choosing next, the Indians take Stanford P Steve Dunning, who will debut in 10 days. Catchers Barry Foote (Expos) and Darrell Porter (Brewers) go next. The Pirates wait till the 14th round to take Dave Parker. Rich Gossage goes in the 9th round to the White Sox; Rick Reuschel to the Cubs (3); pitcher Dale Murphy to the Braves (18th). The Giants took Randy Moffitt and Chris Speier on the first round in January and repeat the good first round picks today with John D'Acquisto and Dave Kingman. The Reds take prep SS Gary Polczynski in the first round, but have better luck in the 8th (Will McEnaney), the 10th (Ray Knight) and the 19th (Pat Zachry). The Phillies, Royals, Dodgers, and Angels pick 5th, 8th, 9th and 10th on the first round and also come up with duds. Future seventeen-year major leaguer Frank White goes undrafted today.
»May 30, 1977:
The Padres sweep a doubleheader from the Giants 128 and 98. San Diego's Mike Ivie ties an NL record with five doubles, while his club ties the ML mark by using 41 players, including 13 pitchers, in the twin bill.
»June 3, 1978: The Phils Davey Johnson breaks up a 11, 9th-inning tie with Los Angeles by hitting his 2nd pinch grand slam of the year. His first came on April 30th when he broke up a 5th-inning tie in San Diego. Johnson is the first ML player to accomplish this feat, but Mike Ivie will duplicate it later this month.
»June 30, 1978: In the first game of a 109, 105 doubleheader loss to the Braves, Giant Willie McCovey hits his 500th career home run, off Jamie Easterly. McCovey becomes the 12th member of the 500-HR club. Mike Ivie adds his 2nd pinch grand slam of the year in the opener. Jack Clark has three home runs in the two games.
»April 4, 1979: More than 20 umpires picket the ML season opener at Cincinnati. The game goes ahead anyway on the newly installed astroturf and the Giants beat the Reds 115. San Francisco scores eight runs in the 2nd to knock out Tom Seaver. Vida Blue is the winner with Mike Ivie hitting the game's only home run. Attendance is 52,115.
»August 4, 1998: OF Darryl Strawberry's pinch-hitter grand slam is the big blow in NY's 9run 9th inning, as the Yankees come from behind to defeat the A's 105 in the 2nd game of a DH. It is his 2nd pinch-hitter slam of the season, setting a new American League record, and tying the National League mark held by his former manager, Davey Johnson, and Mike Ivie, both set in 1978. New York also wins the 1st game of the twinbill, 104.