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.
I can tell you exactly what I had for dinner on June 30, 2000. “Chicken & Swiss on honey wheat” was a frequent cry from the local fast food eatery. That sounds weird, I know. But in my world, the Mets game that took place on this day is known as The Boston Market Game.
I was watching with a friend (and regular reader) Paul Alfieri and we did something I didn’t typically do that season. We bailed on a Mets-Braves games with the Mets down by five runs. The deficit extended to 8-1 when Brian Jordan hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning.
It was around this time that we were munching on our meal and not paying any attention as Don Wengert entered for the Braves in the bottom of the eighth in relief of Kevin Millwood (1 run on 112 pitches through 7 innings). It should be noted that the Braves had been bashing the Mets around for most of the last nine years (save for the occasional memorable moment) so this seemed like it would just be another for the collection.
The Mets trailed 8-2 with two outs after Robin Ventura’s ground out scored Derek Bell. This wasn’t looking like much of a rally. The Mets needed a little help.
After Todd Zeile singled in Mike Piazza to make it 8-3 and Jay Payton added a hit to put runners on first and second, the Braves bullpen helped the Mets along. Amazingly, Kerry Ligtenberg walked Benny Agbayani, Mark Johnson, and Melvin Mora, all on 3-2 pitches. That made it 8-5. Bobby Cox then went to Terry Mulholland, who promptly walked Bell on a 3-1 to make it 8-6.
I believe the first words were heard when we put on WFAN in the car after our meal were “And he walks in another run!”
Edgardo Alfonzo squeezed a two-strike hit through the hole to left field, scoring pinch-runner Joe McEwing and Melvin Mora to tie the game. I have a slight recollection of pulling into Paul’s parking lot and racing to his apartment.
We got there just in time.
On Mulholland’s first pitch, Mike Piazza hit a screaming line drive down the left field line, one that resembled Mark McGwire’s 62nd home run two years earlier. “It was just whether it was going to hit the wall or go through the wall,” Todd Zeile said. It was out of the ballpark before you could blink. That was the capper of a 10-run inning and a comeback from seven runs down.
“Hopefully that’s the type of win that gets you in the playoffs,” Piazza said afterwards.
Aramando Benitez made for a nervous ninth of course, putting two men on base. But Wally Joyner flied out to end the game to end what I’d describe as a yummy 11-8 victory.
When Piazza was on one of his Hall of Fame conference calls in 2016, I asked him if there was a home run that was a favorite that he didn’t get asked about. He picked this one. There’s a reason for that. There’s a more memorable one than this still waiting to be written about.
My favorite stat: Mike Piazza had 32 RBI in 21 games in June 2000. His record for most RBI in a month is 33 in 27 games in 1999.