The Mets have enjoyed plenty of memorable moments over the franchise's 50 year history. From the Miracle Mets of 1969 and the 1973 NL Pennant-winning team to the great 1986 championship team and the dominant Mets teams of the late 1990s, the Mets have certainly had their fair share of proud moments in team history.
Some of the following moments are more well known to fans of all teams, and others are probably remembered only by long time fans. Regardless, these moments have shaped Mets.
Here are the 25 most incredible Mets highlights of all time.
He crushed a Jim Abbott offering for the day game slam, with the nightcap's shot coming off Horacio Estrada.
While this may not be the most fondly remembered moment in all of Mets history, it makes this list simply because it was the first time it had ever happened. Ventura's bat from that game now resides in Cooperstown as part of baseball history.
On September 14, 1996, Mets catcher Todd Hundley broke the single-season home run record for catchers by blasting his 41st home run of the season over the left field against future teammate Greg McMichael of the Atlanta Braves.
Hundley had already surpassed Darryl Strawberry's previous team record of 39 home runs, but the fact that Hundley made not just Mets history, but also MLB history that year made the feat even more remarkable. It immediately inserted Hundley into a small group of offensively elite catchers. Unfortunately for Hundley, that only lasted through 1997 before injuries took a big toll on his career.
Hundley's single-season home run record still stands as the standard for the Mets, although Carlos Beltran tied the mark in 2006. Hundley's all-time record among catchers was broken in 2003 by the Braves' Javy Lopez, who hit 43 home runs.
On September 19, 2006, the Mets officially won the NL East division title for the first time since 1988. It was a long time coming for the Mets, who dominated their division that season and finished 12 games ahead of the second place Phillies.
On October 8, 2000, the Wild Card champion Mets were up two games to one against the NL West champion San Francisco Giants. While Game Three was capped by Benny Agbayani's walk-off home run in extra innings, Game Four was even more exciting as longtime Mets' starter Bobby Jones had the game of his life.
Jones pitched a complete-game one-hit shutout to help the Mets clinch the series and move on to the NLCS against the Cardinals. The only hit he gave up was to former teammate and 2000 NL MVP Jeff Kent.
Although Jones' best season occurred in 1997 when he won a career high 15 games, this game was the defining moment of his career, and unfortunately the last great moment for Jones as a Met, who signed with the Padres following the Mets' loss in the World Series to the Yankees.
On April 14, 1999, Mets closer John Franco became just the second pitcher ever at the time to reach 400 career saves. Only Lee Smith had gotten there before him, and being that Smith was right-handed, Franco became the first left-handed pitcher to reach the milestone.
Franco eventually became a set-up man later that season so he ended up finishing his career with just 424 saves. He is currently fourth all-time and still has the most saves among left-handed pitchers. Only Smith, Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera have recorded more saves than Franco, who was arguably one of the most underrated closers ever.
During the 1973 NLCS, the Reds had gotten increasingly annoyed at Mets' shortstop Bud Harrelson comparing their team's hitting to his own, which was not particularly good. During Game Three though, things got completely out of hand.
Reds' outfielder Pete Rose slid hard into Harrelson while trying to break up a double play, but Rose did so intentionally, causing the much smaller Harrelson to start a fight between the two. Rose quickly pinned Harrelson to the ground as both benches cleared. Thankfully, no one got ejected but in the crazed atmosphere, fans started throwing bottles onto the field. Order eventually was restored and the Mets ended up winning the game en route to their second NL pennant.
The Harrelson and Rose fight was noted as a turning point and rallying cry in the series and definitely gave the Mets the momentum to go on to win.
On May 5, 2004, Mets catcher Mike Piazza made history by breaking Carlton Fisk's all-time record for the most career home runs hit as a catcher. That night, Piazza hit his 352nd home run as a catcher to set the new standard, which stands today.
A month later, Piazza was presented with the same plate he crossed after hitting the record-breaking home run. Some of the greatest catchers ever, including Hall of Famers Fisk, Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Yogi Berra, Lance Parrish and Ivan Rodriguez were present for the special ceremony.
In Game Three of the 1986 NLCS against the Astros, Lenny Dykstra had his defining moment as a Met when he blasted a two-run walk-off home run to give the Mets the win.
The scrawny Dykstra was never known for his power, but during the 1986 postseason, he hit some of the most timely home runs in Mets history.
The late Gary Carter made an impressive Mets debut on April 9, 1985. He had been acquired from the Expos in the biggest blockbuster trade of the previous offseason, and he was seen as the final piece to the Mets' offensive success. In his first game, he showed the Mets and their fans just how important a piece that was.
In the 10th inning, Carter hit a walk-off home run off former Met Neil Allen to give the Mets the 6-5 win that day. Carter finished the 1985 season with 32 home runs and 100 RBI and hit well in 1986 as well to help the Mets win their second championship.
Mike Hampton only pitched one season for the Mets in 2000, but he certainly made the most of it.
After going 15-10 in the regular season and pitching well in the NLDS, Hampton accounted for two of the Mets' four wins in the NLCS against the Cardinals, tossing a complete-game shutout in Game Five to clinch the World Series berth for the Mets, which they ended up losing to the crosstown Yankees.
For his efforts, Hampton was named the 2000 NLCS MVP. However, he immediately bolted for the Colorado Rockies in the offseason and his career was never the same afterwords.
On October 4, 1999, the Mets had to defeat the Reds in order to clinch the final postseason berth in the National League. It was no small task, especially given the Reds' home field advantage. However, Al Leiter rose to the task and pitched one of the best games of his career.
Leiter threw a two-hit complete game shutout as the Mets won the game 5-0 and advanced to the 1999 postseason. It was a great thing that this happened, because winning this game ultimately led to a few of the most memorable Mets moments ever.
On July 10, 1999, the Mets and Yankees squared off in one of the most exciting Subway Series games ever.
The majority of the game was a slug-fest for both teams as Paul O'Neill and Jorge Posada each homered twice for the Yankees, with Chuck Knoblauch and Ricky Ledee adding home runs as well. The Mets' offense was led by Mike Piazza, who hit a long home run and collected 4 RBI. The hero though was pinch-hitter Matt Franco, who hit a game-winning single off of legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.
This win helped the Mets win their first series against the Yankees and was one of the Mets' defining moments of the season.
Dave Mlicki's professional career was not particularly spectacular, but the one thing Mets fans will remember about him from his time in New York was the complete game shutout he threw against the Yankees in 1997 during the first ever regular season Subway Series.
With the Yankees coming off their 1996 World Series championship and boasting some of the best players in the game, they were heavily favored to win not just the series, but also the inaugural game. Andy Pettitte started for the Yankees against Mlicki, who had been having an inconsistent season.
Mlicki pitched the game of his life and threw a complete game shutout, despite allowing nine hits. The Mets' offense though gave him plenty of support on the way to a 6-0 victory.
This was a huge moment in Mets history because it showed that the Yankees were not necessarily the best team in New York and gave the Mets temporary bragging rights in New York City.
On June 30, 2000, the Mets experienced one of their greatest come from behind victories ever. Against the Braves, their rival at the time, the Mets were trailing 8-1 going into the bottom of the 8th inning. However, the Mets' bats woke up and produced once heck of an inning as the team scored 11 runs, capped by Mike Piazza's three-run home run off Terry Mulholland to give the Mets an 11-8 lead.
After Piazza's home run, Shea Stadium experienced euphoria like never before. Armando Benitez then came in to pitch a scoreless 9th inning and the Mets held on to win 11-8.
The tragic September 11th, 2001 attacks affected the entire nation, and the Mets did everything they could to help the victims in the aftermath.
But it was the Mets' on-field play that really brought the folks of New York City to their feet. Going into the bottom of the 8th inning, the Mets were tied 2-2 before Mike Piazza hit a towering home run to center field, which would prove to be the game-winning hit. The Shea Stadium crowd erupted and it became one of the most memorable moments in Mets history as a result.
The trade that brought Mike Piazza to the Mets in May of 1998 was one of the greatest transactions in Mets history.
The Mets had been dealing with the loss of their own All-Star catcher after Todd Hundley's elbow surgery, which had dramatically affected the offense. Many different backup catchers were put into the lineup, but none of them really produced when given the opportunity.
This all changed when Piazza became a Met and made his debut on May 23. He signed a seven-year contract extension with the Mets after the 1998 season and soon became one of, if not the greatest hitter in Mets history.
The Mets won one of the greatest games in baseball history in an epic Game Six of the 1986 NLCS, beating the Astros 7-6 in 16 innings.
The Astros had a 3-0 lead for most of the game before the Mets tied it at 3-3 in the top of the 9th inning. Mets' pitcher Roger McDowell then threw five scoreless innings to keep the Mets in the game, and the score remained tied until the 14th inning, when each team scored one run. The Mets then scored three in the top of the 16th inning, while the Astros only scored two in the bottom half off Mets' closer Jesse Orosco, as the Mets punched in their ticket for the 1986 World Series against the Red Sox.
In one of the most unlikely moments in Mets history, backup catcher Todd Pratt secured his place in Mets history by delivering an incredibly clutch home run.
With Mike Piazza dealing with a bad thumb, Pratt ended up starting both Game Three and Game Four of the 1999 NLDS against the Diamondbacks. He took advantage of the opportunity to show the Mets and their fans that they didn't necessarily need Piazza in order to win.
In Game Four, the Mets were tied 3-3 before Pratt hit a fly ball to center field in the bottom of the 10th inning that barely cleared the fence and Diamondbacks' center fielder Steve Finley's glove. At first Pratt thought that the ball had been caught, but once Finley expressed frustration, Pratt, the Mets and their fans could all celebrate a berth in the NLCS.
Through most of the 1973 season, the Mets had been struggling to contend in the NL East. However, in August, after Mets' chairman M. Donald Grant gave his speech that sparked closer Tug McGraw's "Ya Gotta Believe" rally cry, the Mets turned their season around and ended up winning the division with just an 82-79 record.
The Mets then carried this momentum through the NLCS and into the World Series, although they ended up losing to the A's in seven games.
During the 2006 NLCS, the Mets and Cardinals split the first six games 3-3, which led to an amazing Game Seven, albeit not in a good way for the Mets.
The game was tied at 1-1 for the most part, but the Cardinals almost took the lead in the top of the 6th inning. Third baseman Scott Rolen hit a long fly ball to left field that looked to be a home run, but left fielder Endy Chavez leaped and robbed Rolen of a go-ahead home run. To add insult to injury, Chavez then doubled off Jim Edmonds to end the inning. It became one of the most amazing postseason catches in baseball history.
However, despite Chavez's efforts, the Mets ended up losing the game and the series as Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina hit a two-run home run in the top of the 9th inning, and the Mets failed to score in the bottom half. Nonetheless, Chavez's catch was still an amazing and exciting moment in Mets history.
On October 17, 1999, the Mets played in one of the most exciting games of postseason history. Down 3-1 to the Braves in the 1999 NLCS, the Mets did everything they could to keep the series going.
The game was tied 2-2 until the 15th inning, when the Braves scratched a run across in the top half before the Mets answered back. Shawon Dunston hit a single and stole second base before Matt Franco walked. Edgardo Alfonzo sacrificed them over, which was followed by John Olerud getting intentionally walked to load the bases. Todd Pratt, who had filled in for Mike Piazza then walked on five pitches to tie the game, which brought up Robin Ventura.
Ventura had been in a slump during the series, but he then crushed a 2-1 fastball over the right field for what should have been a game-winning grand slam. However, as Ventura rounded second base, Pratt had run towards him to mob him in celebration. Only one runner officially crossed the plate, which turned the grand slam into a "Grand Single".
In Game Three of the 1969 World Series, Mets' center fielder Tommie Agee had a game for the ages.
Agee hit a leadoff home run off Jim Palmer in the 1st inning, which was all the offense the Mets needed. He then went on to save around five runs thanks to his spectacular defense. In the 4th inning, Agee made a diving catch in left-center field that prevented two runs from scoring off the bat of Elrod Hendricks. Then in the 7th inning, Paul Blair hit a line drive to right-center field that Agee caught, which prevented three additional runs from scoring.
All in all, Agee did everything in the Mets' win in Game Three and he, along with the rest of his teammates really earned his ring.
The Mets' 1986 season began and ended as well as anyone could have ever dreamed of, as the Mets won their second championship in franchise history.
Despite the Game Six heroics, the Mets still had to win Game Seven, which was delayed by a day due to rain. The Red Sox scored three runs off Mets' starter Ron Darling in the 2nd inning, and it took until the 6th inning for the Mets' offense to finally get going.
The Mets tied in the game at 3-3 in the 6th inning, before scoring another three runs in the bottom of the 7th inning, which was highlighted by eventual World Series MVP Ray Knight's home run. After the Red Sox scored two runs in the top of the 8th, the Mets responded with two runs of their own, including a home run by Darryl Strawberry.
In the 9th inning, Orosco sealed the deal, throwing his glove in the air as the Mets celebrated the championship they had just won. It was certainly a very memorable season for the Mets, and by far their best in franchise history.
In 1969, no one would have predicted that the Mets would become world champions, especially enduring losing seasons in each of their first seven years of existence. That all changed though as the Mets' core finally began to gel and the combination of excellent pitching and timely hitting led the Mets to 100 wins, the inaugural NL East division title, and eventually, the 1969 World Series.
The Mets that year were led by the pitching duo of Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman, along with starters Nolan Ryan and Gary Gentry, with Tug McGraw and Ron Taylor anchoring the bullpen. The Mets' offense was led by outfielders Cleon Jones and Tommie Agee, and also featured shortstop Bud Harrelson, first baseman Ed Kranepool, catcher Jerry Grote, and a critical mid-season addition in Donn Clendenon.
The Mets swept the 1969 NLCS over the Braves before defeating the Orioles 4-1 in the World Series. It was a great season for the "Miracle Mets" and one that all fans who were alive at the time will never forget.
While most teams would consider their championship games to be the best in team history, Mets fans don't need to look further than what simply become known as "Game Six".
During the 1986 World Series, the Mets had been down 3-2 with their backs literally against the wall. After a 3-3 tie went into extra innings, everything just started to work in the Mets' favor.
After the Red Sox scored two runs in the top of the 10th inning, the Mets were down 5-3. Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez both flew out to put the Mets one out away from ending their amazing season in heartbreaking fashion. However, the next batter was Gary Carter and he refused to give up.
Carter hit a single to start the famous rally that has become synonymous with the 1986 World Series itself. Rookie Kevin Mitchell, who had replaced slugger Darryl Strawberry thanks to a double switch, was next to bat. He followed with a single of his own and the next batter, Ray Knight also hit a single, which allowed Carter to score and put the Mets at a one run deficit.
Red Sox pitcher and former Met Calvin Schiraldi was then replaced with Red Sox closer Bob Stanley. Mets' left fielder Mookie Wilson was next to bat and he worked the count to 2-2. On the seventh pitch, Stanley threw a wild pitch that went to the backstop and allowed Mitchell to score the tying run.
On the 10th pitch of Wilson's at-bat, he hit a ground ball down the first base line that somehow got past Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner and Knight came across the plate to score the winning run, which forced the World Series to go to a seventh game. The Mets ultimately won that game and the World Series.
This game is still the defining moment of the Mets and their history, and barring any future moments that are even more amazing, "Game Six" will remain the Mets' greatest moment forever.