Remembering Mets History (1996) Todd Hundley Homers From Both Sides of the Plate & Drives in Seven Runs

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).

In the 1st inning, the Mets started pounded Van Landingham early, as Lance Johnso & Jose Vizcaino both started out with base hits. Bernard Gilkey grounded out but Lance Johnson scored from third for a 1-0 lead. Then Rico Brogna hit a two run HR to make it 3-0 Mets. It was Brogna's fifth HR of the season.

In the home 2nd, Glen Allen Hill hit a solo HR off Mark Clark for the Giants to make it 3-1.

In the top of the 3rd, Lance Johnson & Jose Vizcaino both singled. Bernard Gilkey then drew a walk to load the bases. Rico Brogna delivered again, with a two-run single. It was his third RBI of the game getting him to 23 on the season.

Jeff Kent drew a walk & Todd Hundley was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for another Mets run. William Vanlandingham's nightmare of a day was over as he allowed seven runs on seven hits in just two innings of work.

Then short stop Rey Ordonez added a
two-run single off new Giant pitcher Jose Bautista, making it a 7-1 Mets lead.

In the bottom of the 3rd, Stan Javier reached on an error by Rey Ordonez & Robby Thompson singled. Barry Bonds hit a liner but it was nabbed by Jeff Kent who turned an unassisted double play. But the Matt Williams hit a ground rule double & former Met Mark Carreon reached on another error by Ordonez, that allowed two runs to score, narrowing the Mets lead to 7-3.

In the top of the 4th, Jose Vizcaino collected his third straight hit of the game with another base hit. Rico Brogna then 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.

Mark Clark rolled along to the 6th, as the Giants got another run-on Tom Lampkin's RBI single. 

In the top of the 8th, Rey Ordonez doubled & was brought home on Lance Johnson's third hit of the day making it a 10-4 Mets lead.

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 a 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, his eleventh of the season. Hundley homered from oith sides of the plate & had himself a big seven RBI Day.

The Mets went on to a 14-5 win. Mark Clark had a complete game win allowing five runs on eight hits, with four strikeouts & a walk to get to 2-5 with a 4.15 ERA.
Trivia: 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 the arrival of Mike Piazza.


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