June 4, 2006. Shea Stadium. Giants 6, Mets 5. Two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Lastings Milledge steps to the plate to face San Francisco closer Armando Benitez.
Milledge connects on a 1-2 pitch and sends the ball over the left field fence to tie the game. It was his first major league home run. This writer was at that game and old Shea Stadium never sounded louder than at that moment.
His future with the Mets looked bright.
However, that was the highlight of Milledge's short-lived Mets career. A first-round draft pick (12th overall) in 2003, the flamboyant Bradenton, FL native high-fived fans as he returned to his position in right field. That irked manager Willie Randolph and several of his teammates, who were not thrilled with his cocky display of emotion.
In 56 games for New York that season, Milledge batted .241 with four HR and 22 RBI.
Milledge made the opening day roster in 2007 but saw very limited action and was sent down to AAA-New Orleans on April 12. He suffered a foot injury but was called back up to the majors right after the All-Star break. He finished his 2007 campaign with a .272-7-29 line.
By that time though Milledge was starting to wear out his welcome with his brash demeanor. He also appeared in a rap song, "Bend Ya Knees" by Manny D. The combination of his mediocre production and off the field issues were too much for the Mets and they subsequently traded Milledge during the off-season to Washington for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider.
Milledge also played for the Pirates and White Sox before signing a contract to play for Japan's Tokyo Yakult Swallows. This is his second season with Tokyo.