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Mets Top 100 Home Runs: No. 71 (Gil Hodges) to 75 (Darryl Strawberry)

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

75. Darryl Strawberry’s debut goes bonkers! 
(May 6, 1983 vs Reds)

Darryl Strawberry’s Mets debut was a HUGE deal. I can remember the Daily News begging him to rescue the Mets on his first day in the major leagues. “Ï’ll let my bat do my talking for me,” Strawberry said.

It was a lot of pressure for Strawberry, who went 0-for-4 with two walks and a mammoth foul fly ball. But the game that day was actually the headliner – Tom Seaver pitching for the Mets against Reds ace Mario Soto.

The Mets trailed 3-0 with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning when Danny Heep homered. The score held at 3-1 Reds into the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Wally Backman singled, bringing Strawberry up for his first dramatic moment.

Mighty Darryl struck out.

But King Kong (Dave Kingman) homered off Soto to tie the game, which went to extra innings. Kingman didn’t. He injured his calf on the home run swing.

The Reds scored a run in the top of the 10th and the Mets were again down to their last out in the bottom of the inning. This time, Hubie Brooks homered.

Homer to tie in the ninth. Homer to tie in the 10th. Strawberry hit a foul home run (two feet foul) in the 11th.

This game had a lot of life to it. It stretched all the way to the bottom of the 13th. The Mets left the bases loaded in the 11th, but would not be denied in this inning. Again, the first two batters made out. Strawberry walked and stole second. Mike Jorgensen walked as well. And then it was an ex-Red, George Foster, who ended things with a three-run home run.

Take your pick on which one of the big home runs was best.

My favorite stat: This is the only game in Mets history in which they homered with two outs in the ninth inning to tie and two outs in extra innings to tie.

74. David Wright hits the heat 
(May 3, 2013 vs Braves)

David Wright was great at a lot of things, but high, hard fastballs gave him a little trouble (as they do most major leaguers). On this day, it was Wright taking one from Braves closer Craig Kimbrel that was high and hard and hitting it high and hard, a game-tying 464-foot home run with one out in the ninth inning.

It was the longest home run of Wright’s career to that point.It was also the second straight inning in which the Mets tied the game with a homer (Marlon Byrd hit one in the eighth, but the Braves got it back when Evan Gattis homered in the bottom of the inning, necessitating Wright’s stuff).

The Mets won the game in the 10th on RBI hits by Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy.

My favorite stat: Culled from an article I wrote for ESPN- The Mets won seven games in which they were trailing entering the ninth inning, their most such wins in a season since they had seven in 1998.

73. Willie Mays says Goodbye, the Mets say Hello 
(September 25, 1973)

So the first time I did this, the 1973 season was not represented, which feels a little unfair given that that team won the pennant in improbable fashion. However, they hit only 85 regular season home runs, which doesn’t give a lot to work with.

So we go with this one. With six games left in the regular season, the Mets had just moved into first place and had a half-game lead in the division at 79-77. Every game was must win at this point.

This game had another meaning. It was Willie Mays Night, one in which an all-time baseball legend who was retiring at season’s end would be honored. Mays received a 2 ½ minute standing ovation from a crowd of more than 53,000 fans. He praised the current team for its fight and said ‘Goodbye to America.’

Said Cleon Jones: “When I heard Willie say that about the Mets, I couldn’t wait to get out there and play.”

Jones ended up the hero of the game. His sixth-inning home run put the Mets ahead 2-1. Jerry Koosman and Tug McGraw held it there the last three innings. The win moved the Mets 1 ½ games ahead in the division race. They would clinch the pennant on the season’s final day.

My favorite stat: This is the only MLB game my mom has ever attended. Her all-time record at Mets games is a perfect 1-0.

72. Catchers Walk-off Parade 
(May 7-8, 2010 vs Giants)

The Mets have won consecutive games on walk-off home runs before. Heck, their first two walk-off home runs came in the same doubleheader (more on that down the road). But what the Mets did in these two games was highly unusual

In the first one, catcher Rod Barajas hit the first Mets walk-off home run in 21 months, drilling his second homer of the game against Giants reliever Sergio Romo in a 6-4 Mets win. The walk-off was made possible by Francisco Rodriguez allowing a game-tying home run to John Bowker in the ninth inning.

The next night, the Mets again blew a late lead, yielding a 4-2 edge on hits by Pablo Sandoval and Aubrey Huff. It took until the 11th inning for backup catcher Henry Blanco to hit the winning home run against former Met Guillermo Mota.

It marked the first time the Mets had won consecutive games on walk-off home runs since July 28-29, 2001 (Robin Ventura, Mike Piazza) and extended the team’s home winning streak to 10.

My favorite stat: The Mets hadn’t had a walk-off home run from a catcher in six years, but then they got two in consecutive days.

Also, check out
this list of walk-off home runs in consecutive games, updated through 2013 by James Smyth of YES.

71. Gil Hodges gets the first one 
(April 11, 1962 vs Cardinals)

It’s sweet that Gil Hodges hit the first home run in Mets history given what happened seven years later. That first day wasn’t so sweet for the Mets, who lost 11-4. Hodges’ homer cut a 5-2 deficit to 5-3 in the fourth inning. It was his 362nd career home run, moving him past Joe DiMaggio for 11th all-time. The rout came in the form of a four-run Cardinals’ sixth. The Mets outhomered the Cardinals 2-0, but it did them little good.

My favorite stat: Hodges’ first career home run was a go-ahead shot in the seventh inning against the Cubs in 1947 that held up in a 5-3 win. “He’s only a baby. He doesn’t know what a curveball is” Dodgers GM Branch Rickey said that day. By the way, Hodges played catcher that day.


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