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Mets Top 100 Home Runs: From No. 16 (Carl Everett & Bernard Gilkey) to No. 20 (Tommie Agee)

In 2009, I did a project for my website, Mets Walk-Offs and Other Minutiae, celebrating the best home runs in Mets history. I selected the top 60 regular season home runs and the top 15 postseason home runs. The reason I picked 60 was because it represented the top 1% of home runs in Mets history (and 15 just felt right for postseason).

This was fun to do, but it was imperfect. I had one egregious omission. I tended to favor oddities.

It’s time to give that project an update. And why not do it as a top 100?

The Mets have hit 7,671 regular season home runs. The top 80 represent about the top 1%. And the top 20 postseason home runs get us to an even 100 to celebrate.

Come along for the ride. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the reminiscing. Hopefully you’ll find it Amazin’. 

The rest of the list can be found here.

20. Tommie Agee reaches new heights 
(April 10, 1969 vs Expos)
Tommie Agee set the tone for a new beginning in the first week of the 1969 season. Agee had a dreadful 1968 that began in spring training with his being hit in the head by a Bob Gibson pitch. This game, the third of the 1969 season, marked a bounceback moment.

Agee homered twice, per the newspapers the first time he’d hit 2 in a game since hitting 4 in his freshman debut at Grambling(!) The first one is the one that was marked with a big circle for being the first and only home run to reach the upper deck in Shea Stadium. It soared over the height of the left field foul pole before landing. A young fan retrieved it and gave it to Agee after the game.

“I never saw a ball climb that high,” said Jerry Grote.

“I was with Kansas City when Mickey Mantle hit that one out against us at the Stadium a few years ago,” Ed Charles told reporters afterwards. “Agee’s home run was hit at least as far as that one.”

By the way, the Mets won that game to improve to 2-1 on the season. This was a time for new beginnings in more ways than one.

My favorite stat: Tommie Agee and Cleon Jones are the first position players in Mets history to record a 5-WAR season by Baseball-Reference statistical standards. Both did it in 1969. That marked the only season in which the Mets had two such position players until 1985 (Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter).

19. Out of the Harkness, a hero emerges 
(June 26, 1963 vs Cubs)
This is the highest-rated pre-1969 home run on the list. This game is the equivalent of The Steve Henderson Game to those who are old enough to remember it.

The Mets trailed the Cubs 4-0, but rallied to tie with three runs in the sixth inning and one run in the eighth. This one took a while as the Mets pitchers somehow combined to not allow a hit in the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th. Alas, the first to yield was Galen Cisco in the 14th and the result was calamitous, a botched fly ball that resulted in a two-run inside-the-park home run for future Hall-of-Famer Billy Williams. The Mets were headed to a very Metsian defeat.

However, in the bottom of the 14th, the Mets rallied as only they can. Jim Hickman and Ron Hunt singled, but Hickman was thrown out on the bases. Jimmy Piersall walked, but the Mets best power threat, Frank Thomas (who was 4-for-6 to that point) flied out. With two on and two out, the Cubs switched to a lefty pitcher, Jim Brewer, who walked lefty-swinging Sammy Taylor to load the bases.

That brought up another lefty, Tim Harkness, who had 3 hits in the game, but who struggled mightily against left-handed pitchers.

Harkness had an epic at-bat against Brewer, one that left the Cubs angry at home plate ump Stan Landes, who called a close pitch a ball on 2-2.

Harkness hit the next pitch out for a game-winning grand slam. The Cubs continued to argue the Ball 3 pitch. Piersall slid into home plate in celebration. Ralph Kiner was speechless for 30 seconds on the radio broadcast. Harkness had fans waiting for him to come out of the clubhouse, screaming his name a little later.

“It was one of those hot, sticky, 100-degree afternoons,” Harkness told me 42 years later. “My wife was at the game in the stands with our two kids. I went over at one point and told her to go home, that I’d get a ride with Galen Cisco. Then I told myself ‘If I get a shot, I’m going to end this game.’

It was a great moment. But in true Metsian fashion, Harkness went hitless in his next 21 at-bats.

My favorite stat: There have been 2 instances in Mets history in which one of their players had at least 4 hits and 4 RBI, and had the walk-off hit in that game. One was this game. The other was by Rico Brogna on May 11, 1996 against the Cubs.

18. That’s a winner for Carlos Beltran 
(August 22, 2006 vs Cardinals)
This is both a great game to remember and a problematic game to remember. It’s great in that it had a very 1986, this-is-meant-to-be feel to it. It’s problematic because of the events that happened three months hence, with Beltran striking out to end the NLCS.

I’m not meaning to bring a downer here because this is supposed to be a list of great home runs and this very much was one. After all, the Mets trailed 7-1 in the fifth inning but rallied all the way back to win on Beltran’s two-run walk-off against Jason Isringhausen in the ninth inning. He jumped on the plate with a big broad smile, the kind not seen in Beltran’s debut Mets season, 2005, but flashed a few times in an MVP-caliber 2006.

Said manager Willie Randolph “Beltran is my MVP. That’s for sure.”

My favorite stat: Two players have hit 50 home runs for both the Mets and the Yankees – Carlos Beltran and Curtis Granderson.

17. Roger That, Mike Piazza 
(June 9, 2000 vs Yankees)
I disliked Roger Clemens earlier than most. My primary (pre-PED) issue was Clemens’ vandalism of the Shea Stadium bullpen during Game 6 of the 1986 World Series (you see the spray painted “RC” when Dave Henderson homers). You deface baseball monuments and there shall be payback – not just in 1986, but 14 years thereafter too.

This game was one of the most satisfying Mets wins over the Yankees (though I’d rank the walk-offs higher). The highlight of the 12-2 romp was Mike Piazza’s grand slam to dead center against Clemens in the third inning. This was a mammoth home run, one Clemens wouldn’t forget. He hit Piazza in the head a month later and threw a chunk of a broken bat at Piazza in the World Series.

Once a baseball “criminal” (so to speak) always a baseball criminal, I suppose.

Piazza homered against Clemens again in 2002. I suppose the ultimate revenge for Mike is that he’s in the Hall of Fame and Clemens isn’t.

My favorite stat: As good as Mike Piazza was against Roger Clemens (.364 BA, 4 HR in 22 AB), he was even better against Pedro Martinez. He hit .385 (10-for-26) in his career against Martinez, with 6 home runs.

16. We’ve got a brand new shiny one 
(September 13, 1997 vs Expos)
Say what you want about Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, but this is the most improbable win in Mets history. The win probability on Baseball-Reference lists it at 0% in the bottom of the eighth inning and the Mets not only trailing 6-0, but held to one hit by Dustin Hermanson.

That score held until the ninth inning and it was still 6-0 and 0% with two outs and two men on base (it was actually 0.1%). But then as if someone asked a genie in a bottle for a wish, a rally. It started with Roberto Petagine (pronounced “pet-a-JEE-nee” LOL) singling in two runs to remove Hermanson from the proceedings. Singles by Luis Lopez and Matt Franco then loaded the bases for Carl Everett against Expos closer Ugueth Urbina.

I’m going to avoid editorial comments related to Carl Everett’s past behavior and comments and just focus on the moment, as Everett did with a 3-2 count (he talked about separating his off-field issues from on-field performance after the game). He locked in on what I think was a hanging slider (watch and judge for yourself and deposited it over the 371-foot sign, just a little shy of the scoreboard.

“We’ve got a brand new shiny one,” exclaimed Howie Rose, as the Mets came out of the dugout to give Everett high-fives (it was game-winning homer enthusiasm).

“It’s real,” said Everett afterwards. “It’s no fantasy.”
(this quote purposely picked for irony)

The game-winning home would come a little later. The Expos left two men on base in the 10th and 11th but didn’t score. The Mets put two men on in the 11th and won it when Bernard Gilkey pinch-hit a walk-off three-run homer into the mezzanine seats (doing so on an injured ankle).

“I couldn’t reasonably say this could happen,” Gilkey said. “It was kind of farfetched.”

My favorite stat: The Mets have only 2 game-tying grand slams in their history. The other was hit by Todd Hundley on April 26, 1995 against the Rockies (Opening Day, a game the Mets lost on a walk-off home run by Dante Bichette).


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