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Mets Top 100 Home Runs: From No. 36 (Carlos Beltran) to No. 40 (Mike Piazza)

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
No. 51 to 55 can be found here
No. 46 to 50 can be found here
No. 41 to 45 can be found here

40. Mike Piazza sets the catcher home run record 
(May 5, 2004 vs Giants)
In terms of home runs that were important to the Mets, this one doesn’t rank high on Mike Piazza’s list because so many were of far greater significance. But in terms of home runs that were important to Piazza, this one ranks high, given that the first inning blow was his 352nd, passing Carlton Fisk for the most homers by a catcher.

“I’m a little bit relieved that I can turn the page a little bit,” Piazza said afterwards.

I like that quote given what happened the next day – Piazza beat the Giants with a walk-off home run.

My favorite stat: Three of the top seven players to hit the most home runs as a catcher played for the Mets – Mike Piazza (396), Yogi Berra (305), and Gary Carter (298).

39. Howard Johnson finishes the brawlgame 
(July 22, 1986 vs Reds)
There are so many ridiculous things that happened in this game.

1) Dave Parker’s drop of Keith Hernandez’s potential game-ending fly ball with two outs in the ninth inning that allowed the tying run to score. “I’m only human,” Parker told reporters. “I take full responsibility.”

2) Ray Knight’s flying fists of fury after he took exception to an Eric Davis slide into third base in the 10th (the ugly brawl took center stage. Oft forgotten is that the Mets escaped a runner on third, one out situation to keep the game going).

3)A double play that went from Keith Hernandez to third baseman Gary Carter to second baseman Tim Teufel (covering first) on a botched bunt in the 12th.

4)Tony Perez flying out to right fielder(!) Jesse Orosco in the 13th. “I hoped the game would last 20 innings,” Orosco said.

And then finally, Johnson’s game-winning home run on Ted Power’s hanging slider.

“We’re probably the cockiest team in the league,” Hojo said. “I think other teams feel that and they come after us. But we enjoy fighting. If that’s what it takes, we’ll fight every team. You can’t push us around.”

My favorite stat: Howard Johnson is the Mets all-time leader in extra-inning home runs with 9. Kevin McReynolds ranks second with 5.

38. Hojo, Big Mac, and the Best Series Ever 
(June 2, 4, 5, 1988 vs Cubs)
The 4-game set between the Mets and Cubs in 1988 was such a fun series, about as fun as any I can remember in my nearly 40 years of watching the team.

In the opener, David Cone and Calvin Schiraldi(!) staged a great pticher’s duel, which was scoreless through nine innings. Cone allowed a home run to Damon Berryhill in the top of the 10th, but the Mets tied it on Lee Mazzilli’s two-out hit against Goose Gossage in the bottom of the frame.

The Cubs then loaded the bases with no outs against Roger McDowell in the 12th, but after Jody Davis struck out, Randy Myers escaped the mess when the Cubs tried a hit and run (with the bases loaded!) on a 3-2 pitch. Manny Trillo swung through it and the Mets doubled Vance Law off third base.

The Mets won it in the 13th when Howard Johnson homered off Frank Dipino.

In the third game of the series, Trillo’s ninth-inning two-out hit turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead. But Gary Carter’s hit off Gossage tied it in the bottom of the ninth. The Cubs took the lead again in the 11th, but gave it back on a two-out wild pitch that scored Mookie Wilson. The Mets won it when Kevin McReynolds homered leading off the 13th.

The final game of the series was a Sunday afternoon rout. The story there was that Dwight Gooden took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning. What made it even better was that Gooden homered in the seventh inning. He then lost the no-hit bid when Berryhill singled a few minutes later.

Two walk-offs and a no-hit bid by one of the best pitchers in baseball. Hard to top that.

My favorite stat: This is the only series in Mets history in which they hit multiple walk-off home runs in the 13th inning or later.

37. Marvelous Marv 
(August 21, 1962 vs Pirates)
Marv Throneberry’s story is that of the lovable loser a la Charlie Brown, though he admitted in August of 1962 that not everyone was a fan.

“Have you heard what goes on behind first base?” he asked some sportswriters. After being told that there were people who had his name on sweatshirts, he noted (in Dick Young’s story in the Daily News) “Under those shirts they have guns – also with my name on it.”

Weapons were placed back into holsters after Throneberry’s baseball heroics snapped the Mets’ 13-game losing streak with a win over the Pirates in the second game of a doubleheader.

Throneberry was not in on the action in this one until the sixth inning when he replaced Gene Woodling as fill-in coach at first base after third base coach Solly Hemus got ejected. It was there that Throneberry offered his wisdom until his playing services were needed in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Mets trailed 4-1 entering the inning, but rallied against Harvey Haddix and Roy Face for one run, and put two men on base with two outs for Jim Hickman.

Casey Stengel in his wisdom called on Throneberry to pinch-hit. It was a curious choice given that Throneberry was in a 3-for-31 slump, though Hickman wasn’t doing much better (5-for-34).

Throneberry rewarded Stengel’s decision by homering on a 2-1 pitch into the right field upper deck in the Polo Grounds, giving the Mets a 5-4 win and Throneberry the best of his many Amazin’ moments as a Met.

My favorite stat: Two players in Mets history have hit multiple walk-off home runs that came with the team trailing – Marv Throneberry and Chris Jones (both with 2). Throneberry hit his other one against the Cardinals on July 7, 1962.

36. Carlos Beltran Gets Willie Randolph A Win 
(April 10, 2005 vs Braves)
A disastrous Opening Day loss sent new manager Willie Randolph and the Mets tumbling to an 0-5 start. It wasn’t until the first Sunday of the season that Randolph was able to smoke a victory cigar and he had Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez to thank for it.

If we’re going to rank the best pitcher’s duels in Mets history, this one’s probably high on the post-Seaver/Gooden list. John Smoltz struck out 15 through the first seven innings but had a 1-0 lead because the Mets couldn’t cash in on any of the six hits he allowed. That the game was close was a credit to Martinez, who pitched one of his best games with the Mets, allowing only two hits.

The Mets finally exhaled in the eighth when Jose Reyes singled and was bunted to second by Miguel Cairo. Beltran followed with a line drive home run to right field.

“He threw me a slider and I was sitting on it,” Beltran said. “When I squared that pitch, I was the happiest man.”

Most Strikeouts v Mets – Lost Game
Steve Carlton     1969 Cardinals    19
Jim Maloney       1965 Reds         18
John Smoltz       2005 Braves       15
Steve Carlton     1981 Phillies     15

My favorite stat: Carlos Beltran is the Mets all-time leader in one statistical category – stolen base percentage (86%). He’s the single-season leader in one stat – runs scored (126 in 2006).


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