John Milner (December 28, 1949 - January 4, 2000), also nicknamed "The Mighty Hammer", was a left fielder/first baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the New York Mets (1971-77), Pittsburgh Pirates (1978-81, 1982) and Montreal Expos (1981-82). He batted and threw left handed. His cousin, Eddie, also played in the major leagues.
In a 12-year career, Milner compiled a .249 average with 131 home runs and 498 RBI in 1215 games.
Milner was a talented prospect in the Mets organization, but his recurring hamstring injuries often caused him to miss playing time. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, he grew up as a huge fan of Hank Aaron, appropriated his idol's nickname.
A pure fastball hitter with lightning quick wrists, Milner debuted with the Mets in 1971 at age of 21. In his rookie season (1972), he hit .238 with 17 home runs in 362 at-bats and showed a good eye at the plate. In his career, Milner posted a 1.066 walk-to-strikeout ratio (504-to-473). His most productive season came in 1973, when he hit .239 with 23 home runs and 72 RBI, and was a member of the Mets team that faced the Oakland Athletics in the 1973 World Series.
Traded to Pittsburgh before the 1978 season, Milner played for the Pirates' team that won the 1979 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles. He developed and refined a reputation as a reliable pinch hitter that thrived in pressure situations during his tenure with the Pirates, and was a strong contributor to the Championship run with 16 homers and 60 RBI in limited use. He also played for the Expos and returned to Pittsburgh in 1982 for a last run.
Milner's career included 10 grand slams. Three of those came with the Mets in 1976, and two as a pinch hitter for the Pirates in 1979 and 1982; both in August pennant races.
John Milner died in East Point, Georgia following a long illness, just one week after his 51st birthday.