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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Walk-Offs in Movies, TV, and Other Places

Note: I'm leaving this post up through the end of the week, a) because I don't have time to pump out something new and b)because I was hoping to build a really good list of entertainment industry walk-offs...so if you're looking for something new, check back on Monday or so... Of course, if there's a major trade or move, I'll adjust and try to post something... In the meantime, click on the "Table of Contents" link as well. It has been updated. SPOILER ALERT: Read at your own risk Caught the ending of "A League of Their Own" on one of the movie channels the other day and it got me to thinking that it would be fun to compile a list of walk-offs from movies, television, and other forms of entertainment. Here's the start, and only the start, as I spent about 30 minutes or so thinking it over Help me fill in the blanks by filling out the comments section. "A League of Their Own"-- Racine beats Rockford for the All-American Girls

The 'Duca of Earl (and walk-offs)

If I told you that the Mets had just obtained a guy who is a career .316 hitter with runners in scoring position? How about if I told you that the Mets just traded for a hitter who has consistently ranked among the toughest in baseball to strike out? Or if I mentioned that the Mets just dealt for a player who was selected to the NL All-Star team the last three seasons, with the last honor coming via a vote by his peers? So, although he's on the down side age wise, his throwing arm isn't as good as it used to be, and he doesn't provide much power, there are a lot of good things that Paul Lo Duca brings to the New York Mets. For example: He'll sacrifice his body for the good of the team The Dodgers and Braves squared off on August 23, 2002 and Lo Duca made an impact both on the start and finish of this game. Three pitches after being dusted by Greg Maddux, Lo Duca made him pay with a first-inning home run. The Braves rallied to tie the game, 3-3 in the ninth, but thei

Minutiae Break: Worst Mets Relievers

It occurs to me after 79 straight walk-off related posts and some fatigue still remaining from Saturday's finish that I did promise to bring Metspective on other issues related to the Flushing 9, so I offer this posting up as a "Minutiae Break." This came about after several discussions related to the offhand Dick Tidrow/Danny Graves remark the other day , the conclusion of which indicated that it would be fun to create a list of the worst Mets relievers of all-time. I don't want to step on the territory of other bloggers, like " Faith and Fear in Flushing ," Mets Guy in Michigan " and " Metstradamus ," so I'll tread carefully here, aided by their influence. Should any friends, family members, or fans of these pitchers visit this site, I mean no harm. I'm just here to have a little fun with this topic. The ground rules are as follows: The pitcher must have had a Mets stint as long as Dick Tidrow's (11 games, 15 2/3 innings), for