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Jeff Innis, a sidearmer who made nearly 300 relief appearances as a member of the New York Mets during the 1980s and 1990s, died on Sunday after a battle with cancer, the team announced. He was 59 years old.
Innis’ family recently set up a GoFundMe page to help fundraise for his care. Their latest update, on Jan. 27, noted the following:
My dad has landed in Georgia!! He will then be transported to a local hospice where he will be comfortably surrounded by loved ones. We are so incredibly thankful for the support from friends, family, and fans who extended donations and kind words. Our family is overwhelmed with love and we are exceptionally happy to have him home!
We are still accepting donations in preparation for impending hospital bills and funeral arrangements so any help is welcomed! Again, from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!!
Innis averaged 68 games over parts of seven big-league seasons, accumulating a 3.05 ERA (120 ERA+) and a 1.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 360 innings. His production was estimated to be worth approximately five Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball-Reference’s calculations. Even now, he ranks 12th in Mets franchise history in appearances, sandwiched between Dwight “Doc” Gooden and Turk Wendell.
Innis originally joined the Mets as a 13th-round pick in the 1983 draft by way of the University of Illinois. He made his big-league debut in 1987, though he wouldn’t become a fixture on the Mets roster until 1991. Innis would later spend time in the San Diego Padres, Minnesota Twins, and Philadelphia Phillies organizations, albeit only on the minor-league side. He made his final professional appearance in 1995.
Innis reflected on his career with SABR in 2012, saying: “The challenges, the perseverance, all that it took to get to the majors — and stay there — all that has given me a lot of confidence in how I handle my life and the challenges that come up.”
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