WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Don Cardwell, who pitched a no-hitter
and helped the New York Mets win the 1969 World Series, died
Monday. He was 72.
Cardwell died Monday morning, said Richard Puryear, a spokesman
for Salem Funerals & Cremations. The cause of death was not
"He was a tremendous mentor to the young guys on our staff,"
Mets Hall of Famer Tom Seaver said in a statement through team
spokesman Jay Horwitz. "When he said something, you listened. He
was the ultimate professional on and off the field. Just a
tremendous, tremendous guy -- and a big part of everything we
accomplished that year."
Cardwell pitched for five major league teams from 1957-70. He
finished 102-138 with a 3.92 ERA and 1,211 strikeouts. He threw 17
shutouts, earned seven saves -- and hit 15 home runs.
"He was a great teammate but also was a very good friend and a
guy I looked up to," said Art Shamsky, who played for New York
Cardwell was 8-10 with a 3.01 ERA for the Miracle Mets in '69.
The right-hander pitched in 30 games, making 21 starts.
"I just remember him as one of the real tough guys who had a
great second half in 1969," Mets teammate Ron Swoboda said. "Just
old-school, man. He was old school back then!"
After beginning his career with the Philadelphia Phillies,
Cardwell was traded to the Chicago Cubs in May 1960. Two days after
the deal, he tossed a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Cardwell's best season with the Cubs was 1961, when he went
15-14 with a 3.82 ERA and a career-high 156 strikeouts. He was
traded to the Cardinals the following year, but was dealt to
Pittsburgh a month later without ever pitching for St. Louis.
He spent 1963-66 with the Pirates, going 13-10 with a 3.18 ERA
in 1965, before he was traded to the Mets in December 1966. In
1969, he was part of a New York rotation that included Seaver,
Jerry Koosman and Gary Gentry. Cardwell pitched one inning in the
'69 World Series as the Mets upset the heavily favored
"He was a three-quarter-arm guy with a real good sinker,
slider. Hard stuff," Swoboda said. "I remember hitting off him
before we got him from Pittsburgh and you really had to convince
yourself from the right-hand side to stay in there against him."
And Cardwell could hit, too.
"He wasn't just a guy up there who occasionally made contact,"
Swoboda said. "He was a good hitter. He helped himself a lot."
Swoboda remembers Cardwell sticking up for his teammates during
a fight with Houston in 1969 and dropping Astros third baseman Doug
Rader with one powerful punch.
"I think it helps calm you down when you've got a guy like that
who's ready to do what it takes," Swoboda said. "When it got to
fist city you needed some guys that were ready to go."
Cardwell ended his career with the Atlanta Braves in 1970. His
friends said he had been struggling with his health lately.
"We need more Don Cardwells in the world," said Junie Michael,
who worked with Cardwell selling cars for more than 35 years. "I
just can't say enough about what a positive influence he was on our
"I've never met a better guy in my whole life," Michael added.
Cardwell also was an outstanding golfer, playing on a celebrity
tour in the 1980s, according to Michael. Survivors include his
wife, Sylvia; three children, five grandchildren and three sisters.
Following a private family graveside service, a memorial service
will be held at 11 a.m. on Jan. 17.