The New York Mets have had some dramatic home runs since the team started playing in 1962. Here is my list of the Top 10 home runs in franchise history by the New York Mets.

10. September 15, 1969: Ron Swoboda – The Miracle Mets were on their way to their first winning record in team history, but they ran into Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton on one of the finest moments in his career. Carlton struck out 19 batters in this game, but came out on the losing end when Swoboda hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning to give the Mets a 4-3 win. The other two runs scored by the Mets also came on a homer by Swoboda, who connected off the Cardinals’ star in the fourth inning as well.

9. October 7, 2000: Benny Agbayani – The Mets were playing the Giants, the top team in the National League, in the NLDS. With the series tied 1-1, Agbayani, who was 0-for-5 in the game, connected for a walk-off home run in the 13th inning to lift the Mets to a 3-2 win.

8. October 1, 1985: Darryl Strawberry – The Mets were involved in a race for the National League East with the St. Louis Cardinals. New York trailed by three games but had a three-game series in St. Louis. The Mets had an off day prior to the first game in the series which would allow Doc Gooden to match up against Cardinals ace John Tudor. But Davey Johnson held Gooden for the second game and went with Ron Darling. Tudor and Darling did not allow a run and the game went into extra innings. Tudor was pulled for Ken Dayley in the 11th inning and Darryl Strawberry hit a rocket off the scoreboard to give the Mets a 1-0 win.

7. October 17, 1973: Rusty Staub – In Game 4 of the NLCS, Rusty Staub crashed into the wall and injured his shoulder. But the 11-year veteran, playing in the playoffs for the first time, was not going to miss playing in the World Series. Staub heroically played with an injury so debilitating that he had to throw the ball in from the outfield underhand or toss it to a teammate. Staub connected for a three-run home run in the first inning of Game 4 of the World Series, which led the Mets to a 6-1 win and tied the Series two games apiece. Two years earlier, Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley became the first player to win Super Bowl MVP from a losing team. Staub should have been MVP of the World Series. Even with a sore shoulder, he batted .423 with a .464 on-base percentage and a .615 slugging mark – all higher marks than actual MVP winner Reggie Jackson.

6. October 19, 1999: Mike Piazza – New York squared off against its arch-rival Atlanta in the NLCS and spotted the Braves a 3-0 lead in the series. They came back to win the next two games, including a 15-inning affair in Game 5. In Game 6, the Mets spotted the Braves a 5-0 lead but came back to tie the game 7-7 when Mike Piazza hit a two-run homer off John Smoltz. Atlanta went on to win in 11 innings, but the 1999 NLCS was still a great ride for the team.

5. September 21, 2001: Mike Piazza – In the first game in Shea Stadium after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, Piazza delivered a two-run homer in the eighth inning to give the Mets a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Braves. It was one of a million small things that gave people hope and a sense that things were returning to normal after the attacks. And the fact that it came against the Braves was a nice thing, too.

4. October 9, 1999: Todd Pratt – A walk-off home run by Pratt in the 10th inning lifted New York to a 4-3 win over the Diamondbacks and a 3-1 series win. Pratt’s blast sent the Mets to the NLCS and a matchup with the hated Braves.

3. October 27, 1986: Ray Knight – World Series MVP Knight broke a 3-3 tie in Game 7 with a leadoff home run in the seventh inning. Knight’s blast gave the Mets the lead for good after they spotted the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.

2. October 21, 1986: Lenny Dykstra – The Mets fell behind 2-0 to the Red Sox in the World Series, losing the first two games at home. Dykstra made sure the Mets got off to a good start in Game 3, hitting a leadoff homer that sparked the Mets to a four-run first inning and a 7-1 win.

1. October 11, 1986: Lenny Dykstra – The Mets steamrolled through the regular season in 1986 and won 108 games. But in the first game of the NLCS Mike Scott shut down their vaunted offense by pitching a shutout. The Mets evened the series in Game 2, but had Scott looming in Game 4. The Astros took a 4-0 lead in Game 3 but the Mets rallied to tie with four runs in the sixth inning, including a three-run homer by Strawberry. But the Astros re-took the lead with a run in the seventh and had closer Dave Smith on in the ninth. Dykstra hit a two-run, walk-off homer to give the Mets the win. Dykstra would later play a key role in the ninth inning comeback in Game 6 (with Scott, who won Game 4, again looming in Game 7), hitting a leadoff triple to spark a three-run rally to send the game into extra innings.

The Mets’ history is filled with walk-off home runs and momentum-turning blasts in the post-season and quite a few memorable regular-season homers, too. It is difficult to make a list like this and not leave off some memorable shots.

Honorable Mention – Gil Hodges, first home run in franchise history when he connected in the first game ever played by the Mets on April 11, 1962; Julio Franco, becomes the oldest player in the history of the game to hit a home run, when he hit a pinch-hit two-run homer in the eighth inning to give the Mets the lead on April 20, 2006; Carlos Beltran, breaking a scoreless tie in the sixth inning of Game 1 of the NLCS with a two-run homer to account for the game’s only runs, October 12, 2006; Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry and Kevin Mitchell hitting back-to-back-to back home runs in Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium with me in attendance, July 27, 1986; Howard Johnson, any of the four home runs he hit off Todd Worrell, the Cardinals’ elite closer who could not get a fastball by HoJo.

Finally, no article on dramatic home runs by the Mets would be complete without a mention of Robin Ventura and Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS. Ventura came up in the 15th inning with the bases loaded and hit the ball over the wall to give the Mets the victory. He was mobbed by teammates and was carried off the field by Pratt. Since neither Ventura nor Pratt (who tied the game with a bases-loaded walk immediately preceding Ventura’s at-bat) rounded the bases, Ventura was officially credited with a single and an RBI. The play has affectionately been dubbed “The Grand Slam Single”. It would rank second on the list if eligible.

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