From Left Field: Top 10 Power Hitters In Mets History
I know this may be slightly off topic due to the HUGE three-game road series starting in Philadelphia tonight, but everyone loves the home run.
Home runs are the most exciting part of a baseball game. Over the years, players have made a living on their ability to hit the long ball.
Though the New York Mets have been known for developing strong pitching prospects like Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack and Nolan Ryan, the team has had a handful of good power hitters in their 49-year history.
Shea Stadium and current Mets’ home, Citi Field, aren’t exactly hitter-friendly ballparks, which speaks volumes for the players that actually put up good power numbers in Mets’ uniforms.
Here are the top 10 power hitters in Mets history.
10. Cliff Floyd
Cliff Floyd came to the Mets in 2003 after a decade of putting up decent power numbers.
He put up back-to-back 18 homer seasons in first two years in New York. However, he only played in 108 and 113 games, respectively, due to injury troubles.
In 2005, Floyd hit his stride for the Mets. He crushed 34 home runs in 150 games.
More importantly, many of these home runs were clutch.
He could have been even more of a power threat if he stayed healthy.
9. Bobby Bonilla
Bobby Bonilla was a consistent power threat for the Mets in the early 1990s. In fact, he was pretty much the only power threat on the team at that time.
His Mets’ career-high in home runs came in 1993, when he clubbed 34 homers.
The Mets re-signed a 36-year old Bonilla in 1999 hoping he would regain his power stroke. However, he only managed four home runs in 119 at-bats.
In other news, Bonilla is set to earn almost $30 million from the Mets over the next 25 years. The Mets bought out the final year of his contract in 2000, and Bonilla elected this alternative form of payment.
8. Todd Hundley
Todd Hundley was a fan-favorite when he came up with the Mets.
The switch-hitting catcher put up average power numbers his first few seasons, but he embarked on a home run hitting journey in 1996 that only one other Met has matched.
Hundley set a Mets’ single season record with 41 homers that year. He followed that with a 30 home run performance the next season.
However, injuries caught up with Hundley, which forced the Mets to acquire another catcher, who will be featured later in this list.
7. Howard Johnson
Howard Johnson was the rare combination of speed and power, which was even more unusual since he was a third baseman—a position not known for its speed.
Johnson had five consecutive seasons of at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Of those, he had three 30-30 seasons.
He became the first Met to have a 30-30 season in 1987, along with his teammate Darryl Strawberry that same year.
He led the National league with 38 home runs in 1991. He is one of only three Mets to ever lead the league in homers.
6. Carlos Beltran
The Mets signed Carlos Beltran after his miraculous eight home run clip during the 2004 playoffs for the Houston Astros.
Though he struggled in the power department his first year, Beltran had a big year in 2006.
He tied Todd Hundley for the Mets’ single season record with 41 home runs.
He looked like he was poised to continue this power stroke, but then the injuries kicked in.
Beltran saw his power numbers decline steadily from 33, to 27, to 10 and to just seven home runs last season.
He appears to be healthy this season and ready to regain his home run power.
5. Carlos Delgado
Before the Mets traded for him prior to the 2006 season, Carlos Delgado hit at least 30 home runs in nine consecutive years.
He hit 38 homers in his first year as a Met en route to a division title.
However, his age and injuries began to catch up with him, as he saw his power numbers decline in 2007 and early 2008.
Delgado quickly regained his stroke in the second half of 2008 and went on a home run hitting tear. He finished the year with 38 homers.
He got off to a hot start in 2009, but a hip injury effectively ended his Mets’ career.
He was a big time power threat, who hit some big home runs during his Mets’ tenure.
4. David Wright
David Wright has been a home run hitting threat ever since he came up in July 2004.
He hit at least 26 home runs in each of his first four full seasons. Though the move to Citi Field seemed to affect his power in 2009, Wright returned in a big way with 29 home runs last year.
He has already hit a home this season and hopes for many more.
Wright has terrific opposite field power, which makes him even more dangerous at the plate. When Wright is “right,” he’s driving the ball out of the ballpark the opposite way.
He should sit atop the Mets’ all-time leader in home runs when his career comes to an end.
3. Dave Kingman
Dave Kingman hit the ball as high and far as anyone who’s ever played this game.
He hit 154 home runs in just six years with the Mets.
“King Kong” was similar to Adam Dunn in today’s game, except without the ability to draw walks. Kingman would basically either strike out or hit a home run.
His typical year can be seen with his 1982 season for the Mets. He led the league with 37 homers but also with 156 strikeouts.
2. Mike Piazza
What more can be said that hasn’t already been said about Mike Piazza?
Some consider him the savior of the Mets’ franchise that was heading down the drain in the late 1990s before he arrived.
Piazza had raw power, as evidenced by his tape measure home runs. He hit at least 30 home runs in each of his first four full seasons as a Met.
He is second on the all-time Mets home run list with 220. He will always be remembered for his numerous clutch home runs in a Mets’ uniform.
As a Met, he set the record for the most home runs ever by a catcher, surpassing Carlton Fisk in 2004.
There’s really only one thing left for Piazza: to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, as a Met of course.
1. Darryl Strawberry
From 1983-1991, Darryl Strawberry was a home run hitting machine.
He hit at least 26 home runs per season during that clip, with his career-high in 1987 and 1988 with 39 homers.
Like Howard Johnson, Strawberry was the rare combination of speed and power. He joined Ho-Jo as the first Met to record a 30-30 season in 1987.
His home runs were majestic, which makes his story so sad. Strawberry’s drug issues affected his play on the field and diminished his immense talent.
It’s always imagined what could have been for Strawberry. Still, he retired as the Mets’ all-time leader with 252 home runs.
About the Author: Jim Mancari
Jim Mancari hails from Massapequa, N.Y. He recently earned a Master's degree in Journalism at Hofstra University. He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets fans, Jim has plenty of hope. He also writes as the sports reporter for the Brooklyn Tablet newspaper and the senior editor of metroBASEBALL Magazine. Click my name to view my personal website.
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