Rodney Earl Gaspar
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 165 lb.
- School California State University, Long Beach
- High School Lakewood (CA) High School
- Debut April 8, 1969
- Final Game July 19, 1974
- Born April 3, 1946 in Long Beach, CA USA
Gaspar made his major league debut as the New York Mets' starting right fielder and second-place hitter on Opening Day on April 8, 1969. The Mets' opponent were the Montreal Expos, playing their first game ever after having been created in that year's expansion. Gaspar went 2 for 5 with a walk, a stolen base, a run scored and an RBI in an 11-10 loss, striking out with two men on base against Carroll Sembera to end the game, ending a four-run Mets rally. A number of other players made their debuts in that memorable game, including 3B Coco Laboy and CF Don Hahn, who both started for the Expos, and reliever Jerry Robertson, also for the Expos. Gaspar went on to hit .228 with a homer and 14 RBIs in 118 games that year, quickly losing his starting job to Art Shamsky and Ron Swoboda. He got into all three games of the 1969 NLCS as a defensive replacement in the outfield against the Atlanta Braves, then went 0 for 2 with a run scored as the "Miracle Mets" stunned the heavily-favored Baltimore Orioles in the 1969 World Series.
Gaspar was back in the minors at the start of the 1970 season, hitting .318 with 81 runs scored in 131 games for the Tidewater Tides of the International League. He was called back to New York for the month of September, but went 0 for 14 in 11 games. After the season, he was sent to the San Diego Padres as the player to be named later in a deal for relief pitcher Ron Herbel which had taken place on September 1st. He was back in the minors in 1971, playing 142 games for the Hawaii Islanders of the Pacific Coast League. He hit .274, scored 74 runs and stole 26 bases while drawing 107 walks to earn another call-up to the big leagues that September. He still couldn't find his hitting stroke at this level, though, going 2 for 17 (.118) in 16 games. He was loaned to the Indianapolis Indians, in the Cincinnati Reds' organization, for part of the 1972 season, but otherwise played in Hawaii from 1971 to 1976, apart from a pair of big league stints. He was a regular all those years, hitting for a good average with lots of walks and runs scored, but little power as a prototypical top-of-the-lineup hitter. He hit .300 and scored 88 runs in 1973, then .264 with 90 runs in 1975 and .294 with 98 runs in 1976, drawing over 100 walks each of those last two years, making the PCL All-Star team in 1976. During that stretch, he got one final shot at the major leagues, spending two and a half months as a back-up outfielder for the Padres in 1974. He played 33 games, but collected only 14 at-bats. He got three hits and three walks and scored four runs to end his major league run at .208/.301/.250 in 178 games. He hit only one big league homer, which came on May 30, 1969, against Mike McCormick of the San Francisco Giants.