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’.
Maybe future Hall-of-Famer Steve Carlton should have stayed in bed.
Carlton decided to pitch on September 15, 1969, despite a morning fever, backache, chills, nausea, and rainy weather that delayed the Cardinals game against the Mets 20 minutes at the start and 54 minute after a half-inning.
Carlton struck out 19 to set what was then an MLB record. He seemed oddly pleased at game’s end, given that he lost the game (“When I did it, I had done something that was great. I was really happy. I was a lot of things, more things than I have words for.”)
He also noted that he was determined to go for the record when he reached 9 strikeouts. “It cost me the ball game,” Carlton said. “I was challenging everyone.”
Carlton had mixed emotions but the Mets were ecstatic. After all, they beat Carlton and the Cardinals for their 11th win in 12 games and upped their NL East lead to 4.5 games.
This is one of the most improbable victories in team history, carried entirely by Ron Swoboda, who hit two two-strike, two-run home runs, including the go-ahead shot in the eighth inning (Carlton set the record by striking out the side in the 9th). New York Daily News writer Dick Young described it as “ludicrously fantastic.”
“Superswat got me,” Carlton said in the aftermath. “I got him twice and he got me twice.”
Swoboda humorously noted afterwards that he was glad that he didn’t waste this kind of game on the bad Mets teams of the past. He had been a part of that having begun his career with the franchise in 1965. Swoboda claimed that this game was the first in which he hit two home runs. It actually wasn’t. He had a two-homer game in his rookie season too. Easy to forget, I suppose. He was far from a superhero then, but was in this game.
Said Carlton “I think the Mets are great for baseball because it shows the guy on the bottom can come up.”
“It’s almost inebriating, or to use a contemporary term, you almost go out there on high because there’s so much at stake. Whoever wrote Cinderella must have been our man,” Swoboda said.
My favorite stat: Six pitchers lost games in which they struck out at least 18 batters. Two of them lost to the Mets – Jim Maloney (1965 Reds) and Steve Carlton (1969 Cardinals).