A Marion native’s memory will be celebrated by the New York Mets Sunday.
According to the New York Daily News, James Raymond Plummer will be remembered on the 10th anniversary of his death when his son throws out the first pitch of the game.
Plummer, a 1969 Marion High School graduate, learned baseball playing for the school’s team. Marion resident Alvin Crowder was Plummer’s former baseball coach and remembers him fondly.
He noted that Plummer played second base on two district champion teams in 1968 and 1969.
At that time, the New York Mets operated a farm team in Marion. Plummer worked for the club doing odd jobs. From those odd jobs sprang a lifelong career. His obituary said, “He had been with the New York Mets' organization since he was Nolan Ryan's minor league bat boy in 1965.”
At the time of Plummer’s death in 2008, Crowder wrote a tribute to him. He observed, “It didn’t take long for the managers to see that he was an intelligent, hard working boy. He became the business manager for the local Mets team during their summer seasons while still a college student. He graduated from East Tennessee State University with a degree in accounting and moved directly to New York to work for the Mets…. Baseball was his first love and having a job with the New York Mets was ‘a dream come true!’”
At the time of his death, at the age of 57, he was director of corporate sales for the Mets.
Crowder remembered, “He never forgot his hometown, family or friends. On several occasions he arranged for the MSHS Band to play the national anthem from the center field at Shea Stadium and provided souvenirs and a reserved seat for every member. He was very proud to tell everyone ‘that band is from my high school.’”
His one-time coach also recalled that Plummer was a caring, thoughtful man who was a mentor to many players.
That observation was echoed in the New York Daily News article. Published last week, it said, “Plummer is someone fans may never have heard of, but during his days in Flushing, Jimmy Plummer was considered by many to be the real Mr. Met, a man who took immense pride in his involvement with the team and community, always putting others before himself. A man who became a father figure to many of the Mets whose lives he touched.”
The article goes on to note that Darryl Strawberry remembers Plummer with love. Strawberry told the Daily News, “From every player that probably knew him like we did, you just loved him.”
Plummer died the last year the Mets called Shea Stadium home. At their new home of Citi Field, they dedicated a room, the “Plum Room,” to his memory. A plaque in the room says, “A loyal and compassionate teammate, ‘Plum’ was happiest when those around him were happy…. Plum was an inspiration to generations of colleagues and everyone who had the good fortune to know him during his five-decade association with the Mets.”