Former major leaguer Dan Meyer entering South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame
The former Kingsway star and major leaguer will be inducted into the South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Lefthander Dan Meyer doesn't remember all the details about his senior season at Kingsway in 1999. But he does recall being busy during the playoffs.
That's an understatement.
"I do remember pitching a lot in the postseason," he said during a recent phone interview from his home in North Stonington, Conn. "It was an exciting time because we were 6-16 in my sophomore year, and [I] went to the South Jersey [Group 2] championship as a senior."
Meyer was 3-0 in the postseason that year, allowing one run in 22 innings.
Kingsway went on to lose to Gateway in the sectional final in a year in which Meyer had one of the best seasons ever for a South Jersey pitcher. He went 11-0 with a 0.38 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 106 innings.
Meyer, who was also a soccer goalie and basketball guard at Kingsway, has been thinking more than usual about those days because he will be inducted into the South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
The 2 p.m. event will take place at Masso's Crystal Manor in Glassboro. Meyer will be among eight inductees.
"You don't play for the accolades. But to be honored in that kind of company and all the great people who have been inducted in the past is quite an honor," he said.
After winning 23 games in his three seasons at Kingsway, Meyer attended James Madison University. As a senior in 2002, he went 9-2 with a 3.15 ERA and was a first-round selection of the Atlanta Braves, 34th overall, in the Major League Baseball draft.
A starter for most of his minor-league career, Meyer was a reliever for much of his time in the majors. He spent parts of five seasons in the big leagues, pitching for Atlanta, Oakland, and Florida, now Miami.
Late in his career, he went to spring training with the Phillies but was released just before the 2011 regular season. Meyer, who had two shoulder surgeries, ended his career playing independent baseball in 2012.
He appeared in 103 big-league games, all but seven in relief. Meyer's best season was 2009 when he made 71 relief appearances and had a 3.09 ERA for the Marlins.
"It was awesome playing in the major leagues and what you dream about when you are a kid," Meyer said.
Meyer said one of his biggest professional thrills came while competing against the Phillies. The date was May 27, 2009. The Phillies were the defending World Series champions and would return to the World Series that season, losing to the New York Yankees in six games.
Florida beat the Phillies that day, 6-2, before 45,256 fans at Citizens Bank Park. Pitching in relief for the Marlins, he faced the heart of the order — Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard — in the sixth inning. He retired the side in order on two groundouts and a lineout to right field by Howard.
Then to his surprise, Meyer stayed in the game and batted in the seventh inning, his second career major-league at-bat.
"I thought it was my time to get a base hit. Short porch, I thought I was going deep," he said, laughing.
Instead, he struck out on four pitches against Clay Condrey. Then in the bottom of the seventh, Meyer departed after getting the first batter, Raul Ibanez, on a called third strike.
"It was 20-minute ride from my home, and back then they were selling out, and I got to see people there I hadn't seen in years, and it was a pretty cool experience," said Meyer, who is a minor-league pitching coach in the Atlanta Braves organization.
He said there were many cool experiences along the way. Now, Meyer gets to relive them as his Hall of Fame induction approaches.
South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame induction
Saturday, 2 p.m., Masso's Crystal Manor, Glassboro.
Inductees: Coach Rich Bender, Delran; Greg Burke, Gloucester Catholic pitcher; Nick Delgozzo, Audubon infielder; Coach and player Rich Horan, Audubon; John Kupsey, Gloucester Catholic shortstop; Brian Meyer, Shawnee pitcher; Dan Meyer, Kingsway pitcher; the late Jack Meyer, Phillies pitcher from Medford.
Also: The Hot Stovers Baseball Club of South Jersey will honor its 2018 all-South Jersey high school team and coach of the year. … Veteran umpire Richard Luongo will be honored for his long-time service and contributions to South Jersey baseball. … The American Legion most valuable player will be honored.