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Mets Top 100 Home Runs: No. 56 (Bartolo Colon!) to No. 60 (Todd Hundley)

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

60. Todd Hundley hits No. 41 
(September 14, 1996 vs Braves)

I’m thinking that this one a little too high, but the Mets celebrated it with two bottles of champagne, so it’s worthy of mention somewhere in these parts. This one is the home run that Todd Hundley hit to set the single-season record for catchers, breaking the mark set by Roy Campanella in 1953. One home run earlier, he’d set the Mets single-season mark, since tied by Carlos Beltran and broken by Pete Alonso Say what you want about what we know now about PEDs, at the time, it made for a cool moment.

Hundley described hitting the homer as having the weight of a house lifted off his shoulders. It was a game-tying three-run home run on an 0-2 pitch from Greg McMichael.

“When I got it, I knew it was gone,” Hundley said.

My favorite stat: Bernard Gilkey hit two doubles in this game, giving him 42 for the season, breaking the club’s single-season mark of 41 set by Howard Johnson in 1989. Gilkey finished the season with 44 doubles, a club record that still stands.

59. Robin Ventura just grand, not once but twice 
(May 20, 1999 vs Brewers)
It’s a grand slam single for which Robin Ventura is best known, but let’s also remember the day of his grand slam barrage. On this day, Ventura hit a grand slam in both games of a doubleheader.

The Mets beat the Brewers twice, 11-10 and 10-1. Ventura’s slams came in the first inning of the first game and the fourth inning of the second, playing with an injured left foot in the latter contest (Bobby Valentine nearly left him out of the lineup). He became the first player to hit a grand slam in both games of a doubleheader.

“It was a good day for a doubleheader,” Ventura said afterwards.

What impresses me is that the left-handed hitting Ventura hit both home runs against left-handed pitchers – Jim Abbott and Horacio Estrada. Ventura hit lefties well that season (.271, 9 home runs) and had a walk-off hit aganinst a lefty in a key win over the Pirates in the final game of the season.

By the way, the first game of this doubleheader had a wacky ending – Alex Ochoa was thrown out at the plate after Edgardo Alfonzo dropped a popup(!)

My favorite stat: Robin Ventura hit 18 grand slams in his career – the same number that Barry Bonds and Mike Schmidt combined to hit in theirs.

Most Grand Slams – MLB History
Alex Rodriguez    25
Lou Gehrig        23
Manny Ramirez     21
Eddie Murray      19
Robin Ventura     18
Willie McCovey    18

58. David Wright christens Citi Field 
(April 13, 2009 vs Padres)
The first game at Citi Field foreshadowed the first season at Citi Field – frustrating. But there was one really cool moment.

With the Mets trailing 5-2 in the fifth inning, David Wright hit a game-tying three run home run to cap a seven-pitch at-bat against Padres starter Walter Silva. It took a lot of muscle to get the pitch, a slider near the ankles, over “The Great Wall of Flushing” but Wright delivered (and the ballpark went bananas).

True to form for the season, the Mets gave the game away to the Padres in the sixth inning when Ryan Church’s error put a runner on third base and Pedro Feliciano balked him home.

“It just seems like we’re a little off,” Wright said. He was right, as usual.

My favorite stat: Just noticed this – David Wright LOVED to hit in the fifth inning. He hit .336/.399/.540 in fifth innings for his career. His .939 OPS was his best for any inning.

57. Frank Thomas with a hearty welcome back 
(July 9, 1964 vs Cardinals)
This was Dominic Smith before Dominic Smith. Thomas, the Mets best power hitter in their early days, missed 36 games with a glandular infection before coming back for this one against the Cardinals. Thomas pinch-hit in the 9th inning, batting for the first time since the 23-inning game against the Giants on May 31.

In an article written before the game, Thomas lamented he didn’t get much work in during his oft-bedridden time off because he didn’t have anyone to pitch to him. He estimated he’d need 2 to 3 days of batting practice to get his timing down. He got 10 swings in prior to the game.

Casey Stengel didn’t have the luxury of waiting. With the Mets trailing 3-2 with two outs and a man on first base, he called on Thomas to pinch-hit against Curt Simmons.

And wouldn’t ya know it, Thomas hit a game-winning two-run home run on a changeup to win the game.

A good sign, perhaps? Nah. Thomas didn’t homer again for another month.

My favorite stat: Frank Thomas hit five career walk-off home runs. The other Frank Thomas hit only four.

56. The impossible happens 
(May 7, 2016 vs Padres)
I don’t know that I can do this one justice, and I’m sure there are people who would put it in the top 20 (bias from it having just happened). It’s fair to call Bartolo Colon’s home run against James Shields the most unlikely one in Mets history.

"Bartolo Colon hitting is an Olympic event," ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst, Doug Glanville once told me for an article I wrote for "He is hitting for athletes and non-athletes and athletes who look like non-athletes. His home run was an inspiration to try, try, and try again-- that if you persist, eventually the most obscure country, population 15, will win the gold."

But I do want to note the other unlikeliest home runs – Thanks to John Coppinger (AKA Metstradamus)  - Luis Hernandez homered with a broken foot in 2010, which might just match Colon for unlikeliness and Ryan Watson for pointing out Jeremy Hefner’s home run vs the Phillies in 2012. Hefner went 2-for-52 in his career.

My favorite stat: Three Mets have homered at age 42 or older: Julio Franco, Willie Mays, and Bartolo Colon.


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