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Mets Top 100 Home Runs: From No. 76 (Alex Ochoa) to No. 80 (Dom Smith)

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, giving us 75 overall).

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’.

80. Dominic Smith’s season-ending walk-off 
(Sept. 29, 2019 vs Braves)
True story: I pulled into a parking spot right in front of my apartment as Dominic Smith came to bat. Rather than stay and listen to the radio call, I dared to exit my vehicle and walk upstairs to see if I could watch it on TV.

Bad choice. When I turned on the TV, Smith was jumping on home plate.

File it under Mets Moments Missed (MMM). It wasn’t quite Isaac Jaffe being in the bathroom for Bobby Thomson’s home run (anyone know the reference???) but it wasn’t great.

Anyway, this one’s pretty cool given that it was Smith’s first at-bat since July 26, as he returned from injury just in time to be most impactful (there’s another like this from earlier in Mets history that we’ll get to later). It’s a good one to get us started.

My favorite stat: This is the only time a season has ended with a Mets walk-off home run.

79. Rod Kanehl hits the Mets first grand slam 
(July 6, 1962 vs Cardinals)
I do feel an obligation to mark certain firsts in franchise history, and we turn the clock all the way back to 1962 for the first Mets grand slam. It was hit by Hot Rod Kanehl as part of a 10-3 win over the Cardinals.

The King Korn franchise offered 50,000 stamps to the first Met to hit a grand slam. Kanehl told Sports Illustrated’s Steve Rushin that he bought a living room suite, a Deepfreeze, an end table and “a lot of junk.”

The Mets came out fighting that game, perhaps inspired by Leonard Shechter of The New York Post, who wrote …”as the season wears on, it becomes more and more difficult to keep trying. And sometimes it even appears that the Mets aren’t.”

At least for this game, they did.

My favorite stat: Also in the game - Gil Hodges hit his 370th home run, passing Ralph Kiner into 10th on the all-time list. Hodges now ranks 80th.

78. Jimmy Piersall runs backward around the bases 
(June 23, 1963 vs Phillies)
So this one’s here for the goofiness factor. People sometimes get confused and think that Piersall ran the bases in the wrong order (some of his teammates thought that was his plan). That’s not what happened. Piersall ran backwards around the bases to commemorate his 100th home run, which he hit against future Mets manager Dallas Green.

“What do you think, I’m a nut?” Piersall told reporters beforehand. “That’s against the rules, but there’s no rule against what I’m gonna do.”

The Mets improved to 27-44 with the 5-0 win. They went 24-67 the rest of the season.

Piersall had quite an interesting life. If you’d like to learn more about it, you can click here.

My favorite stat: Mets starter Carlton Willey (rhymes with “silly”) pitched a great game that day a two-hit shutout on 81 pitches. It seems likely, though impossible to prove, that this was the fewest pitches needed for a shutout of nine innings or more in Mets history.

77. Noah Syndergaard crushes two home runs 
(May 11, 2016 at Dodgers)
If ever there was a day in which Noah Syndergaard proved himself to be a real life Thor, it was this one. Syndergaard hit two LONG home runs, the first 402 feet to right center and the second 396 feet to left center.

Syndergaard accounted for all four of the Mets runs and allowed two runs in eight innings in a 4-3 win over the Dodgers.

My favorite stat: Syndergaard was the first pitcher to hit at least two home runs, drive in at least four runs AND account for all of his team’s runs since … Walt Terrell of the Mets in 1983 (we’ll get to Terrell’s game in a little bit).

76. Alex Ochoa beats the Braves 
(July 13, 1997 at Braves)
In that neverending time in the 1990s and 2000s in which the Braves were an NL East dynasty and the Mets were … not, this is one of the better and sometimes forgotten wins.

This was a Sunday Night Baseball game, the first series out of the All-Star Break. The Braves scored six runs with two outs in the first inning against Bobby Jones, with Denny Neagle capping the embarrassment with a two-run double.

But the Mets fought back. Jones pitched six more innings and didn’t allow a run. The Mets scored two in the third, three in the fourth, and a run in the fifth to tie the game. Butch Huskey had a big game, with two home runs and five RBIs. Ex-Brave Greg McMichael pitched two scoreless innings to take the game into the ninth inning tied, 6-6.

In the ninth, Todd Hundley struck out and Bernard Gilkey flew out, but then Ochoa, in what was a vastly disappointing season, hit a pinch-hit go-ahead home run to left center against Mike Bielecki. John Franco stranded two runners in the 10th to finish the game off. The Mets had won 3 of 4 from the Braves in Atlanta.

“I believe in my ability,” Ochoa told reporters afterwards. “That’s what keeps me going.”

My favorite stat: Fair warning- this isn’t the only time the Mets came back from 6-0 down and won on a ninth-inning home run. Got another one that ranks pretty high on the list.

To be continued :)


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