Jul 17, 2016

The Mets All Time Pinch Hit HR Leader: Mark Carreon (1987-1991)

Mark Steven Carreon was born July 19, 1963 in Chicago, Illinois. The six foot outfielder/ first baseman was a rare right handed batter that threw left handed.

His father was Camilo Carreon; a catcher for the Chicago White sox from 1959-1964. (see below) 

Mark Carreon was drafted by the New York Mets in the 8th round of the 1981 draft. As the Mets were winning the World Series in 1986 Carreon was batting .289 at AAA Tidewater.

In 1987 he followed by batting .312 earning him the promotion to the big league club. He debuted with the Mets as a pinch hitter on September 8thgoing hitless. He appeared nine games that September, getting a hit as pinch hitter in his second career at bat off the Cardinals; Greg Mathews.

On the next to last day of the season he drove in his first run, it came in St. Louis in a 7-1 Mets win. That year New York finished second to the Cards going 92-70. In 1988 it was back to AAA Tidewater for Carreon, where he hit 14 HRs & batted .263 in 102 games for the Tides. He did make his first appearance in May with the Mets, going 0-2 as a pinch hitter & returned in September going 5-7.

In 1989 he got to the club on May 18th & remained there for good playing as a reserve outfielder and pinch hitter. On May 12th he hit a 10th inning game winning single, off San Diego’s Mark Davis in a 3-0 win.

He tied a Mets single season mark with four pinch hit HRs, that year, matching Danny Heeps record set back in 1983. On May 12th he hit a pinch hit HR off the Padres Bruce Hurst in San Diego, helping Ron Darling & Rick Aguilera in a 3-0 shut out.

On June 4th he hit a 7th inning pinch hit HR against the Pirates Bob Kipper, breaking a 3-3 tie. The Mets went on to beat Pittsburgh 4-3,as Carreon delivered the game winning hit. On July 26th he hit a third pinch hit HR, this time in a 3-2 loss in Pittsburgh. On September 22nd, in Montreal he helped Ron Darling to a victory, as he delivered his team record fourth pinch hit HR of the season, off native New Yorker John Candelaria.

Overall he enjoyed one of his best Mets seasons hitting .308 with six HRs six doubles 16 RBIs & a .370 on base % in 68 games.

In 1990 he had a big three hit day at Wrigley Field on April 16th, with a HR & three RBIs in a 10-1 Mets win. The next day he hit a solo HR there in a Mets loss. On April 27th he provided the only run of the game, with a solo HR off Mark Portugal, helping Frank Viola to the shut out.

In mid June he helped the Mets in their 9-6 win at Wrigley Field adding a two run HR. The next game he played in was in Pittsburgh on June 17th, he hit two HRs & drove in two runs in the 4-3 win. In August he suffered an injury that shut him down for the rest of the year. He finished with a .250 average, 10 HRs 12 doubles26 RBIs in 188 at bats. That year the Mets won 91 games but finished second to the Pirates.

In 1991 he saw action in 106 games, the most in his Mets career, batting .260 but his power dropped off, hitting just four HRs, with six doubles & 21 RBIs. doubles. On April 16th, he hit a pinch hit HR during a losing effort in Pittsburgh. On April 28th, he entered a game against the Pirates at Shea & hit yet another pinch hit HR, although the Mets lost the game 7-3.

On May 4th, Carreon hit his third pinch hit HR in the young season, this one off the Giants Jeff Brantley at Shea Stadium in the 9th inning, tying up the game. The Mets won it when Howard Johnson hit a walk off HR in the 12th.

Carreons HR drought then lasted three months & when he did hit another, it came during a start. He would not hit anymore HRs that season, unable to tie his own record.

In January 1992 Carreon was traded to the Detroit Tigers for pitcher Paul Gibson. After one season in Detroit batting .232, he signed with the San Francisco Giants and hit a career best .327 in 78 games played. He followed that up batting .301 in 1995 having career highs in HRs (17) RBIs (65) games (115), winning the Willie Mac Award for his leadership to the club.

The next season he started out great as he belted 7 HRs in April, but soon fell off and was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Jim Poole on July 9th. That year he hit a career high 34 doubles, overall while finishing his playing days in Cleveland.
 
In a ten year career he batted .279 with 557 hits 69 HRs 108 doubles 289 RBIs & a .327 on base % playing in 738 games. As a pinch hitter he hit .280 lifetime, and holds the Mets record with eight pinch hit HRs. Jordany Valdespin is now second with six.

Drama: When his MLB career ended he played in Japan for a year then returned back to the U.S. In 1999 he was arrested for stalking, burglarizing, & kidnapping his ex-wife in Mississippi.

In December 2007 he was named as steroid user in the Mitchell Report.

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