Marvin Eugene Throneberry (September 2, 1933 – June 23, 1994) was an American Major League Baseball player, best remembered as the starting first baseman for the 1962 New York Mets, a team which set the modern record for most losses in a season with 120.
A native of Fisherville, Tennessee, Throneberry batted and threw left-handed. Signed as an amateur free agent by the New York Yankees in 1952, he made his major-league debut in September 1955. He was one of the most feared minor league sluggers of the 1950s. Playing in the thin air of Bears Stadium as a member of the Denver Bears, Throneberry led the American Association in home runs and runs batted in for three consecutive seasons: 1955-56-57.
Throneberry made it back to the majors for good in 1958, and although he possessed good power — his swing drew comparisons to Mickey Mantle — he showed a tendency to strike out. As a result, he spent two seasons on the Yankees' bench before being included in a six-player trade for Kansas City Athletics power-hitting outfielder Roger Maris before the 1960 season.
After a little more than one full season on Kansas City's bench, filling in at first base and right field, Kansas City traded Throneberry to the Baltimore Orioles for outfielder Gene Stephens in June 1961. Less than a year later, Baltimore traded him to the Mets for a player to be named later (Hobie Landrith) and cash.
With the Mets, Throneberry got his first chance as a regular, and he responded by hitting .244 with 16 home runs and 49 RBI. However, he committed 17 errors at first base and his fielding percentage of .981 would not be equaled by a major-league regular first baseman until César Cedeño fielded .981 in 1979 for the Astros.
By Dean Hanley
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