The New York Mets have hit some meaningful home runs since their World Series championship run in 1986, but some have been more memorable than others.
The past 27 years of baseball in Flushing have only produced five playoff-bound teams, but that doesn't mean there is a shortage of postseason heroics to count down. All but two of the home runs on this list occurred outside the month of October.
Signing free-agent outfielder Curtis Granderson has shown fans that ownership is willing to hand out significant contracts and lure players to Citi Field. The Winter Meetings are set to start on Monday in Orlando, Florida, and Sandy Alderson is expected to be active in trade talks with an eye for continuing to improve the roster.
Mets fans have endured five straight losing seasons. They’re thirsty for a roster of capable players and an opportunity to watch meaningful games when the calendar flips to September. Looking back at the following home runs is sure to provide goosebumps and happy memories.
Each home run was ranked on the time of the year, which team that New York was playing and how it impacted the Mets in that particular game. Enjoy this trip down memory lane.
A few memorable home runs weren't quite good enough to crack this list. That doesn't mean we still can't take a look at them:
I know—this is technically not a home run. That’s the only reason why it didn’t make the list. Still, with the series on the line in front of the home crowd, Ventura made Mets fans very happy with a walkoff hit against the Atlanta Braves.
Mike Piazza’s 352nd home run as a catcher
This home run didn’t help the Mets get to October, but it was a momentous individual achievement for Piazza. He became the all-time home run leader at the catcher position. It was a pleasure to watch him accomplish the feat as a Met and in front of the home crowd.
Jody Gerut has the honor of being the first player to hit a homer at Citi Field, but David Wright picked the perfect time to become the first Met to do the same. The franchise player broke in his new home in style, tying the game with a three-run bomb against the San Diego Padres.
Piazza’s three-run homer in the eighth inning on June 30, 2000, at Shea Stadium against the Atlanta Braves is one of two regular-season bombs to make this list.
Entering the bottom of the eighth, the Braves were cruising with an 8-1 lead over New York—capitalizing on the mistakes the “Amazins” made in the early innings. Atlanta starter Kevin Milwood exited after allowing just one run over seven strong innings. Fully expecting to earn a victory, the Braves bullpen began coughing up a lead.
That seven-run deficit slowly began to shrink, until it was tied at eight with Piazza coming to the plate with two on and two out. The Mets catcher ripped an inside pitch down the right-field line, with the only question being whether or not it had enough height to get over the wall.
It did—and Shea Stadium erupted.
Late-inning comebacks are fun to watch. Ones that seem improbable are even more fun. When it happens against a hated division foe, life couldn’t be any better for Mets fans.
The 1986 New York Mets steamrolled through the competition during the regular season on their way to a franchise-record 108 wins. They were expected to beat the Houston Astros in the National League Championship Series and represent the NL in the World Series.
The Astros gave New York all they could handle, but Davey Johnson’s club collected a number of memorable home runs on their way to a series victory.
With the series tied at one heading into Game 3, Houston jumped out to a 4-1 lead, looking to take control. Darryl Strawberry would have none of that, cranking a three-run bomb into the right-field seats.
His home run not only tied the game but got a capacity crowd at Shea back into it. The Mets would eventually win this game with some more heroics by a New York outfielder to take a 2-1 series lead.
Edgardo Alfonzo’s ability to hit in clutch situations was on full display during the 1999 postseason. He hit a home run during the one-game playoff against the Cincinnati Reds to help clinch the Mets' first playoff berth since 1988.
He continued his lumberjack work by giving the Mets a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the NLDS. Alfonzo was under the spotlight in the ninth inning of that game, and he didn’t disappoint.
The second baseman stepped to the plate with the game tied at four and the bases loaded. Needing something to give a lead to the bullpen, Alfonzo took matters into his own hands by cranking a grand slam into the left-field seats.
Those two momentous swings helped the Mets win their first playoff game in 11 years.
The Mets clinched the NL Wild Card for the second straight season in 2000 and were paired with the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS. The NL West champions took Game 1, but New York evened the series in extra innings before heading back to Shea.
In a pivotal Game 3, New York was in danger of falling behind in the series, but Alfonzo once again came up big with a game-tying double in the bottom of the eighth. Neither team could get the job done during regulation, which allowed the Shea faithful to see some free baseball.
Benny Agbayani came up to bat with one out in the 13th inning and launched a letter-high pitch into the picnic area in left field. Instead of being one game away from elimination, Bobby Valentine watched his team inch one game closer to moving on.
Similar to the '86 Mets, the 2006 version of the “Amazins” were in total control throughout most of the regular season. Like the 2000 playoffs, New York was set to face the St. Louis Cardinals to determine who would represent the National League in the World Series.
New York put together a 97-65 record during the season, giving Willie Randolph’s club home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Game 1 was in front of a packed house at Shea that was just waiting to erupt.
With one on in the bottom of the sixth inning, Carlos Beltran gave the fans something to cheer about. He crushed an offering from Cardinals starter Jeff Weaver, making a dent in the scoreboard out in right center field.
His two-run blast broke a scoreless tie, and it was all the offense the pitching staff would need en route to a 2-0 series opening victory.
If fellow outfielder Darryl Strawberry didn’t hit that three-run bomb to tie things up in Game 3 of the 1986 NLCS, Dykstra wouldn’t have had an opportunity to be a hero.
With the series tied at one coming into this contest, the Mets received the upper hand by winning their second straight game after dropping the opener in the Astrodome. Not having home-field advantage allowed New York to still have two more games to play in Flushing after winning two in a row.
Dykstra had only hit eight home runs during the regular season. The last thing on anyone’s mind when he came to the plate was a walkoff homer. His bomb let the stadium go crazy with optimism heading into Game 4.
Todd Pratt appeared in just 71 games during the 1999 season, accumulating 160 plate appearances. He didn’t play much because he was the backup to superstar catcher Mike Piazza.
Bobby V. called upon Pratt in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Diamondbacks with Piazza forced to sit out with an injury. The Mets were up 2-1 in the series, looking to advance in the postseason for the first time since 1986.
The game went into extra innings but not for long.
Pratt hit a long fly ball to center field off Matt Mantei. No one was sure if it had the distance. Steve Finley crashed into the wall as the ball disappeared. Chris Berman was on the call, and he couldn’t tell whether the Mets had won, or if Finley made a game-saving catch.
The center fielder's look of disgust told the entire story, and the party at Shea was under way.
The Mets had all the momentum in the '86 World Series after Mookie Wilson’s ground ball made it through Bill Buckner’s legs. However, the Boston Red Sox wouldn’t go down without a fight in Game 7 at Shea.
Ray Knight came to bat in the bottom of the seventh with the score tied at three. One mighty swing of the bat from the third baseman changed all that. A line drive to left center field gave New York a 4-3 lead—and they eventually became World Champions for the second time in team history.
It was the last postseason appearance that Knight would have as a major leaguer, and he made it count. He was named the World Series MVP after compiling a .391/.440/.565 line with that home run and five RBI.
Just 10 days after the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, baseball resumed in New York with the Mets against the Atlanta Braves. It was hard to think about baseball with rescue efforts still going on at Ground Zero, but New York was fighting for its playoff life.
Staring a 2-1 deficit in the face heading into the late innings, the “Amazins” were in need of some magic before time ran out. With one man on, Mike Piazza walked to the plate against Atlanta reliever Steve Karsay.
Piazza was able to get his arms extended and send a long fly ball toward the camera tower out in left field. Balls didn’t land there very often, but Piazza added this one to his resume.
When that fly ball cleared the fence and gave the Mets a 3-2 lead, the stadium erupted. After a long week-and-a-half of heartbreak, people started to smile and rejoice over the big hit.
Even though New York eventually missed the postseason, this blast served a tremendous purpose for an ailing city. It didn’t change what was happening outside those stadium walls, but for just one moment, people were able to forget about what was going on and smile.
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