Skip to main content

A Giant Finish

Mike Piazza broke Carlton Fisk's home run record for catchers on May 5, 2004.

On May 6, 2004, Mike Piazza hit what was probably, barring what would be some pretty neat circumstances these next few days, his last walk-off home run as a New York Met.

Guess which one we're going to talk about?

That home run put Piazza into a tie for most walk-off home runs in Mets history with four, a mark he shares with Kevin McReynolds, Chris Jones, Cleon Jones. (I guess you could say that keeping up with the Jones' was an issue for Piazza in more ways than one (Chipper and Andruw being his primary foes)).

This is one of those lists that Piazza belongs on, and deserves to stay on, to aid in the argument of his being the most clutch hitter in Mets history (we can list Keith Hernandez as 1a if you like), which is another discussion entirely, one that perhaps we'll take on when Piazza signs this offseason with the Angels, Orioles, or Rangers.

Anyhow, on this night, the Mets and Giants got involved in quite a battle with Al Leiter reverting back to the form of his glory days, in matching Giants ace Jason Schmidt pitch-for-pitch (Schmidt would pitch a one-hitter 12 days later). The score stood 1-1 through nine frames and the Mets kept Barry Bonds in the ballpark, giving him free passes twice late in the contest.

In the 11th inning Piazza came up with two outs and nobody on, facing Jim Brower, who ran the count to 2-2. Brower's next pitch was a slider that caught too much of the plate and Piazza crushed it on a straight line, over the leap of Bonds in left field for a walk-off home run.

Mike Piazza has had two different styles of home runs. There's the monstrous, high arching, bullpen-clearing shot and the line-drive laser that jumped off the bat. The high archers were more prominent in the early part of Piazza's Mets career when everyone seemed to be capable of hitting that type of home run. The line drives were more amazing, particularly if you were there in person to see them because the ball appeared to rise, going just over the head of the second baseman or shortstop, until it carried over the outfielders head and over the fence. The ball sailed so quickly and sometimes seemed to be over the wall within an instant of your hearing the crack of the bat. Some of the more noteworthy home runs of Piazza's career were of that variety (against Billy Wagner and 1998, against the Braves in the 10-run eighth-inning comeback, and again against the Braves in baseball's return to New York after the terrorist attacks in September, 2001). You could tell the difference easily if you were listening on the radio because Gary Cohen would have to rush his home run call in order to time "It's outta here!!" with ball leaving playing field.

Mike Piazza will likely be "outta here" in a few days and Mets fans will get a chance to pay tribute to him during this final series of the season. It will be a well-deserved honor for Piazza, who will be missed, not just for his stats, his clutch play, and his leadership, but also for his penchant for the walk-off home run.

True Metalians know...Thirteen Mets have hit a walk-off home run during Mike Piazza's tenure with the team, but he's the only player in that group with more than one.

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