Gary Sheffield leads the 2009 Mets with 10 HR.  How does that compare to the worst mark to ever lead a team in franchise history?  How does this year’s squad compare to the worst HR hitting Mets teams of all time?  All this along with Joe Hicks and Bob Johnson, too.

It is August and the Mets have no shot at the playoffs.  But there are always things to watch and root for and one of the top things is the chance to beat the Braves.  It was fun to see them come back from a four-run deficit and put nine runs on the board Tuesday.  Surprisingly, the Mets scored nine runs without hitting a single home run.

The Mets have 71 homers this season, which ranks last in the majors.  And before you claim that Citi Field is the reason why, the Mets have 40 HR at home and only 31 on the road.  At their current pace, the Mets will finish the season with 97 HR.  That would be the fewest homers hit by the club since the 1992 edition managed just 93 round trippers.

But 97 would not be enough to crack the top 10 worst home run seasons in club history.  Let’s take a trip down memory lane and remember the teams that struggled to top Roger Maris’ (then) single-season home run record.

T 10. 1963 Mets: 51-111, 96 HR

Jim Hickman led the team with 17 HR.  Frank Thomas, who hit 34 in the club’s inaugural season, finished second with 15.  Five starters finished with double-digit homers but the remaining three everyday players combined for just 7 HR.  The highest HR total from anyone on the bench was by Joe Hicks, who hit five.

T 10. 1974 Mets: 71-91, 96 HR

John Milner led the squad with 20 HR and Rusty Staub was one behind with 19.  Wayne Garrett and Cleon Jones each had 13.  After those four, Jerry Grote and Dave Schneck were the next highest with five each.  And to make matters worse, not a single pitcher hit a homer all year for the team.

8. 1992 Mets: 72-90, 93 HR

Anyone down on the current version of the Mets would be well served to go back and remember the early 90s Mets.  Bobby Bonilla took time out from showing reporters the Bronx to lead the team with 19 HR.  Eddie Murray (16) and Darryl Boston (11) were the only other players to hit double digits.

7. 1977 Mets: 64-98, 88 HR

John Stearns, Milner and Steve Henderson tied for the team lead with 12 HR.  And Henderson didn’t play his first game until June 16th, the day after being acquired in the Tom Seaver trade.  Ed Kranepool gave the team a bench player with double-digit dongs, as he hit 10 in 309 ABs.

6. 1978 Mets: 66-96, 86 HR

Willie Montanez led the team with 17 HR yet the starting infield combined for only 20 round-trippers.  The double-play combo of Doug Flynn and Tim Foli produced just the one homer by the shortstop, while 3B Lenny Randle managed just two.  Joel Youngblood provided power off the bench with 7 HR and Bobby Valentine contributed the last homer off his career.

5. 1973 Mets: 82-79, 85 HR

Milner again led the team, this time with 23 HR and a .432 SLG.  Yes, the NL Champions, the team that held a 3-2 lead in the World Series, were topped with a .432 SLG.  The four starters up the middle (Grote, Felix Millan, Bud Harrelson and Don Hahn) combined for 6 HR.  Willie Mays led the bench with six homers.

4. 1967 61-101, 83 HR

In his only season with the Mets, Tommy Davis led the team with 17 HR.  This team would have been even lower on the list if not for the power of 2B Jerry Buchek, who finished second with 14 HR.  Flynn and Millan are confused how a second baseman could hit so many.  Bob Johnson, acquired in early May from the Orioles, led the bench with 5 HR.  After the season, Johnson was dealt to the Reds for Art Shamsky.

3. 1968 73-89, 81 HR

One season after hitting just three homers, Ed Charles led the team with 15 HR.  The rest of the infield (Kranepool, Ken Boswell and Harrelson) combined for seven.  Shamsky led the bench with 12 HR.  His .698 OPS was good for a 108 OPS+, an indication of how pitching-friendly the year of Bob Gibson and Denny McLain really was.

2. 1979 63-99, 74 HR

Youngblood was now a starter and he led the Mets with 16 HR, one more than Lee Mazzilli.  The starters did not do too awful in the home run department this year.  But the entire bench combined for 9 HR, led by Seaver-trade acquisition Dan Norman’s three.  No pitcher hit a homer for the team.  If they did they would have become manager Joe Torre’s top pinch-hitting option.

1.  1980 67-95 61 HR

Mazzilli was the only starter on the team to crack double-digits in homers with 16.  Claudell Washington finished second on the club with 10 HR.  Starters Alex Trevino, Flynn and Frank Taveras combined to hit zero homers.  That made Jerry Morales (3) and Elliott Maddox (4) look good in comparison.  Hubie Brooks hit his only homer of the season in Game 161 to allow the team to tie Roger Maris.

*****

The 1981 Mets hit 57 HR but that team also played in just 103 games due to the strike.  Pro-rated over a 162 game schedule, the 1981 squad would have hit 90 HR.  Dave Kingman had 22 HR that year while Mazzilli finished second with six.

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