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Mets Top 100 Home Runs: No. 51 (Pete Alonso) to No. 55 (Bobby Bonilla)

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’.

No. 76 to 80 can be found here
No. 71 to 75 can be found here 
No. 66 to 70 can be found here 
No. 61 to 65 can be found here
No. 56 to 60 can be found here


55. Welcome to the Mets, Bobby Bonilla 
(April 6, 1992 vs Cardinals)
It was supposed to be the start of the next great era of Mets baseball. The additions of Bobby Bonilla, Eddie Murray and company gave the Mets their next set of leaders like Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter.

And it all started out so well, with Bonilla homering twice, including the game-winner against Lee Smith in an Opening Day win over the Cardinals (remember Carter beat the Cardinals with an Opening Day homer too … we’ll get to that one).

“It’s going to be hard to knock that smile off my face,” Bonilla said that night, something he’d said repeatedly up to that point. “I know people are going to try, but they aren’t going to do it.”

Pfft.

Sigh.

My favorite stat: Five Mets have hit two home runs in an Opening Day game: Cleon Jones (1973), Darryl Strawberry (1988), Kevin McReynolds (1988), Bobby Bonilla (1992) and Robin Ventura (2001).

54. Duke Snider’s chase for 400 
(June 7, 1963 vs Cardinals, June 14, 1963 vs Reds)
This one’s here for the Dodgers fans who were thrilled that one of their heroes returned to New York, even though his best days and best knees were long behind him.

Duke Snider hit his 400th home run as a Met against the Reds, but his 399th home run was a bit more fun.

In that game, the Mets trailed 2-0 in the ninth inning after being blanked on two hits through eight by Dr. Ron Taylor, the same Taylor who would be the closer on the 1969 team. With two men on and one out and Snider coming up, the Cardinals went to a lefty, Diomedes Olivo. Snider, after getting a good cut at a fastball on the prior pitch, clocked a 2-2 curveball that missed its spot into the upper deck in right field for a game-winning three-run home run.

“The old war horse!” Lindsay Nelson yelled on the broadcast.

The 400th home run came a week later. Snider became the ninth member of the 400-homer club, a group that now numbers 57.

My favorite stat: From 1953 to 1957, Duke Snider averaged 41 home runs and 117 RBI, hitting .311/.407/.618. In other words, over a five-season span, he slugged 35 points higher than Pete Alonso did last season.

53. The Omir Santos Game! 
(May 23, 2009 vs Red Sox)
I would say this is the point in time where the quality of home runs on the list rises a notch. The Twitterati tell me that they consider this among the most unlikely home runs in Mets history. I don’t know that I’d go that far, but I would say that it was a pretty cool moment.

The Red Sox led the Mets 2-1 on a Saturday night at Fenway Park entering the top of the ninth as Josh Beckett outdueled Mike Pelfrey. The Red Sox turned to the leader of the Cobra Kai (I like to say that) Jonathan Papelbon to get the final three outs. Papelbon was in the midst of a four-year stretch in which he was a super-dominant closer, with a 1.74 ERA and an average of 38 saves per season. 

Things started well as Papelbon walked Gary Sheffield, but he rebounded to strike out both David Wright and Jeremy Reed swinging.

That brought up stout-looking rookie catcher Omir Santos, who was only on the roster because of an injury to Brian Schneider. Papelbon started with a high fastball and Santos caught up to it, taking a mighty cut. Santos celebrated as the ball soared, but on its way down, the ball hit the padding that separates the Green Monster from the seats. Third base umpire Paul Nauert signaled that the ball was in play Sheffield raced to third base and put on the brakes, running into third base coach Razor Shines as the ball was pegged beck to home plate.

Santos thought the ball was gone as soon as he hit it, as he indicated such while running to second base. However, that would not be confirmed until a replay review from Joe West’s crew. Thankfully, the evidence was indisputable. The Mets had the lead, 3-2.

What was disputable was whether the Mets would win the game and J.J. Putz made things a little difficult in the bottom of the ninth when he walked Kevin Youkilis.

But David Wright and shortstop Ramon Martinez (who had made four errors in a two-game stretch) bailed Putz out with terrific defensive plays, Wright getting a force out on Jason Bay’s hard grounder and Martinez making a backhand snag on Mike Lowell’s grounder and throwing to first for the game-ending out.

My favorite stat: This game marked the first time that a Red Sox pitcher blew a save against the Mets in the 9th inning or later and his team lost the game since Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. J

52. One Grand Baseball Game 
(September 17, 2016 vs Twins)
I think this one sometimes gets lost in the shuffle among the great Mets home runs in 2015 and 2016 (and there were a bunch).

But we can’t forget about Curtis Granderson’s game-tying and game-winning home runs against the Twins near the end of the chase for a Wild Card spot.

What a nailbiter this game was, with the Mets down 1-0 after a Twins homer in the fourth. The hosts left two men on in the fifth and three more in the seventh before Yoenis Cespedes tied the game with a single in the eighth.

The Twins took the lead in the 11th when Byron Buxton homered, but Granderson answered immediately with a homer of his own leading off the 11th, an opposite-field homer that just cleared the left field fence. The Mets had a chance to win the game then, but Jose Reyes struck out after an excruciating nine-pitch at-bat to strand the bases loaded again.

In the 12th, Granderson came up again and the Twins brought in a lefty to pitch to him. Undaunted, Granderson waited on an offspeed pitch that dropped near the knees. It was an awkward swing, but a good one – good enough to land a few rows deep in right field for a walk-off home run.

My favorite stat: Curtis Granderson is the first player in Mets history to hit two extra-inning home runs in the same game.

51. 50! And 53! 

(September 20, 2019 vs Reds, September 28, 2019 vs Braves)
I imagine some of you will think this one should land higher on the list and maybe someday when Pete Alonso has hit 700 of these, I can move it to a different spot. But this feels like a good place for his 50th home run of the season and his 53rd, which broke the single-season rookie record.

I’m not sure I can articulate much on Alonso that hasn’t already been said or written. That season was so perfect and the turn from David Wright to Alonso as the face of the franchise was so spot-on that I’m not sure my words will do it justice.

He’s done all the right things and said all the right things. It’s going to be fun to watch the journey for the next 15 to 20 years.

My favorite stat: The only players to hit more than 53 home runs in a season for an NYC baseball team are Roger Maris, Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez, and Mickey Mantle (all Yankees).

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