Skip to main content

The Bells Are Ringing

Mike Piazza's first walk-off home run as a Met came on April 28, 1999.

Piazza was in the midst of a rough stretch. A knee injury sidelined him for two weeks and when he came back, he didn't look too good. He had one hit in his first 13 at-bats coming off the disabled list and left seven runners on base in an ugly performance against the Padres the day before.

Trevor Hoffman, aka "Hell's Bells" (for the theme song they play when he enters a home game), turned out to be the cure for what ailed him. The Padres entered this game against the Mets having won 181 consecutive games when leading after eight innings, and they carried a 3-2 lead into the final frame after tallying twice in the eighth inning against Armando Benitez. That, in what turned out to become a familiar pattern, spoiled a good start by Al Leiter, who allowed just one run through the first seven frames.

Anyhow, John Olerud led off the ninth inning with a single, setting the stage for Piazza to face Hoffman. They had met before, with Piazza having success, and they would meet again, with Piazza having more success. Hoffman, who throws a devastating changeup, threw a fastball that Piazza crushed the other way, to right field. Hoffman, who gave up two home runs the previous season, knew immediately that it was gone. Piazza did as well. He took a look at the flight path, did his best Dante Bichette (see first game at Coors Field vs the Mets), glancing quickly into the Mets dugout, took seven steps and punched the air with his right fist, twice (as seen on the 1999 highlight film "Amazin Again") and got pounded on the helmet about 1,986 times upon crossing home plate.

Those who believe that wins like that can spark big things should take note. That home run marked the start of a six-game winning streak for the Mets and a five-game losing streak for the Padres.

On a personal note I have to invoke the words of WFAN talk-show host Chris Russo here and acknowledge that "I didn't see that" other than via highlights. I was working at the newspaper that night and there was a time that I was there (it lasted maybe a few days) in which we (specifically I) were advised not to watch the Mets because it would be too distracting to the staff. So when I got the jubilant phone call from my dad, I remember being a little ticked off. It wouldn't be the first time I'd miss a walk-off win and it wouldn't be the last. I do remember telling the newsroom that "Piazza just hit one off Hell's Bells to win" and the first thing I was asked was "Why would they play Hell's Bells at Shea Stadium?"

It wasn't long after that that we were allowed to watch Mets games at work again.

True Metazza know...The Mets have had 57 walk-off wins during Mike Piazza's tenure with the Mets (including postseason), 15 of which have been ended by home runs.


Popular posts from this blog

Best Games I Know: Phillies (Updated)

  The best wins against the Phillies in Mets history …   May 5, 2022 – Mets 8, Phillies 7 The Mets score 7 runs in the 9 th inning to overcome a 7-1 deficit and win in Philadelphia.   April 29, 2022 – Mets 3, Phillies 0 Tylor Megill and 4 Mets relievers combine on the second no-hitter in franchise history.   September 22, 2016 – Mets 9, Phillies 8 (11) The Mets tie it in the 9 th on a Jose Reyes home run and win it in the 11 th on a 3-run home run by Asdrubal Cabrera.   July 17, 2016 - Mets 5, Phillies 0 Jacob deGrom pitches a one-hitter. Only hit is a single by Zach Eflin in the 5 th inning.   August 24, 2015 – Mets 16, Phillies 7 David Wright homers in his first at-bat in more than 4 months. The Mets hit a team-record 8 home runs.   July 5, 2012 – Mets 6, Phillies 5 The Mets score 2 runs with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9 th to beat Jonathan Papelbon. The winning run scores on David Wright’s bloop down the right field line.   August 13

The best Mets ejections I know

When you think of the Mets and famous ejections, I'm guessing you first think of the famous Bobby Valentine mustache game, when after Valentine got tossed, he returned to the dugout in disguise. You know it. You love it. I remember being amused when I asked Bobby V about it while we were working on Baseball Tonight, how he simply said "It worked. We won the game." (true) But the Bobby V mustache game of June 9, 1999 is one of many, many memorable Mets ejection stories. And now thanks to Retrosheet and the magic of , we have a convenient means for being able to share them. Ever since Retrosheet's David Smith recently announced that the Retrosheet ejection database was posted online , I've been a kid in a candy store. I've organized the data and done some lookups of media coverage around the games that interested me post. Those newspaper accounts fill in a lot of blanks. Without further ado (and with more work to do), here are some of my findings

Trip(le) Through Time

In their illustrious history, the Mets have had one 'Triple Crown Winner,' so to speak and I'm not talking about the typical meaning of the term. I've gotten some queries recently as to whether a walk-off triple is even possible and I'm here to tell you that it is. There has been one, and only one, in Mets history, though I don't have the full explanation of circumstances that I would like. It took place against the Phillies on September 10, 1970. This was a marathon game that would have fit in perfectly with those having taken place so far this season and allowed the Mets to maintain a temporary hold on first place in an NL East race oft forgotten in team history. It went 14 innings, with a tinge of controversy in a negated Ken Boswell home run, a thrilling play by Bud Harrelson, who stole home in the third inning, and some stellar relief pitching, in the form of five scoreless innings from Danny Frisella, aided by Tim McCarver getting thrown out in a rundown b