Remembering Mets History: (1996) Todd Hundley Homers From Both Sides of the Plate

Saturday May 18th, 1996: In 1996, catcher Todd Hundley was one of the bright spots for a Mets team that went 71-91 finishing fourth in the NL East. But changes were starting to happen, that season the Mets fired manager Dallas Green & replaced him with Bobby Valentine.  

Valentine would bring the Mets to playoffs in back-to-back seasons in 1999 & 2000. One problem Valentine did have was Todd Hundley's late-night partying & love of the NY night life.

On this day, Hundley became the fourth Mets hitter to hit HRs from both sides of the plate in the same game.

The others were: Lee Mazzilli (1978) Howard Johnson (1991) & Bobby Bonilla (three times). Hundley himself, had done it before too, two years earlier in 1994.

Dallas Green's struggling fifth place Mets (17-23) were on the annual west coast trip. That week thy had lost three of four in San Diego & they were now in San Francisco, facing Dusty Baker's third place Giants (20-20). 15,298 came to 3Com Park on cool breezy afternoon, as the Mets sent Mark Clark (1-5) to the mound against William Van Landingham (2-5).

The Mets started pounded Van Landingham early, in the 1st inning, Lance Johnso & Jose
Vizcaino both singled. Bernard Gilkey grounded out scoring Johnson. 
Then Rico Brogna hit a two run HR to make it 3-0 Mets. 

In the home 2nd, Glen Allen Hill hit a solo HR for the Giants.

In the top of the 3rd, Johnson & Vizcaino both singled again. Gilkey then drew a walk to load the bases. Rico Brogna delivered again, with a two-run single. Rey Ordonez added a two run single as well. making it 7-1 Mets.

In the bottom of the 3rd, Stan Javier reached on an error by  Rey Ordonez, then Robby Thompson singled. Barry Bonds hit into a double play but Matt Williams hit a ground rule double. Then former Mets Mark Carreon reached on another error by Ordonez, scoring two runs making it 7-3.

In the top of the 4th, Jose Vizcaino collected his third straight hit & Brogna reached on an error. Next, Todd Hundley batting left-handed blasted his first long ball of the day. A two-run shot, to dead center, off reliever Jose Bautista, putting New York up 10-3. It was Hundley's tenth HR of the year.

The Giants got another run on Tom Lampkin's RBI single. In the 8th, Rey Ordonez doubled & was brought home on Lance Johnson's third hit of the day. 10-4 Mets.

In the top of the 9th, Bernard Gilkey drew a walk & Jeff Kent singled. Todd Hundley came up, having gone 1-3 on the day so far, with one HR. This time he was facing the lefty, Todd Creek, so Hundley was batting right-handed. He connected once again, this one to left center field, for his second of the day, # 11 of the season.

The Mets went on to a 14-5 win. 

In 1996, Todd Hundley went into the record books, setting a single season HR mark for catchers with 41. He also set the Mets single season mark in HRs at that time as well.

That year he batted .256 with career highs in HRs (41) doubles (32) hits (140) & RBIs (112). Hundley spent nine seasons with the Mets (1990-1998) as their main catcher before Mike Piazza took over.


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