Edgardo Alfonzo delivers best Mets game ever

If you asked most Mets fans what is the greatest individual game in team history, most would answer Tom Seaver and his outing on July 9, 1969. Seaver took a perfect game into the 9th inning, when with one out Jimmy Qualls broke it up with a single. Seaver retired the next two batters and finished with a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts.

But as dominating as Seaver was that day, ultimately it was a one-hitter. The Mets have never had a no-hitter but there have been 23 one-hitters in club history, the last by Aaron Heilman in 2005. And while 11 strikeouts is an impressive total, the club record is 19, shared by Seaver and David Cone.

So, my pick as the best game in club history goes to Edgardo Alfonzo, who had a monster game August 30, 1999 against the Astros. The game was impressive enough all by itself, but the fact that it came in the Astrodome, one of the best pitching parks in the majors, helps make it even more memorable.

Alfonzo was playing second base in this game and hit second. After a strikeout to start the game, Alfonzo came up and hit a home run to left center, to stake starter Masato Yoshii to an early lead.

After the Astros went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first, the Mets blew open the game in the second inning, when they scored six times to take a 7-0 lead. Alfonzo singled to right and came around to score on a two-run double by Olerud.

In the fourth inning, Alfonozo extended the lead to 9-0 when he hit a two-run homer to left field. His next time up in the sixth, Alfonzo led off with another homer, his third of the game.

Again in the eighth inning, Alfonzo was the leadoff hitter and this time he delivered a line drive single to left field and later came around and scored. The Mets sent six hitters to the plate in the frame, leaving open the possibility that Alfonzo would get one more chance to bat.

Back-to-back singles with one out in the ninth brought Alfonzo to the plate for the sixth time in the game. He drilled a line drive to deep right field that resulted in an RBI double. Two batters later, Alfonzo crossed the plate for the Mets’ final run in their 17-1 rout.

Alfonzo finished the game 6-for-6, with 3 HR, 6 R and 5 RBIs. He set team records in a game for hits, runs, total bases (16) and tied for the team lead in homers. He became just the seventh player in Mets history to homer three times.

He also had two putouts and three assists, helping Yoshii to his ninth win of the season. Yoshii allowed two hits and struck out eight in six shutout innings.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Alfonzo’s game is that it came during a mini-slump. In his previous 10 games, Alfonzo had just six hits in 39 at-bats and had a .154/.267/.308 line.

“Every player goes through a slump,” Alfonzo told Judy Battista of the New York Times after his 3-HR game. ”I tried to find out what I was doing wrong. Every day, I try to be positive and to hit the ball really hard. The home runs, I don’t think about. They just come.”

Alfonzo played for the Mets from 1995-2002. In his eight years with the club, he amassed a career .292/.367/.445 line in 4,449 PA. He left as a free agent following a season where he posted an .851 OPS as a 28-year old. Alfonzo never came close to those numbers again.

He bounced around from the Giants to the Angels to the Blue Jays and his major league career was over after the 2006 season. He bounced around with several independent leagues, made it back to the affiliated minors, even spending time in the Mets’ farm system in 2006. He last played with the Newark Bears in 2010.

Alfonzo is now a minor league hitting coach for the Houston Astros. Perhaps not a glorious end to his career, but Alfonzo was always a fan favorite when he was with the Mets. And on August 30, 1999, he had the best day in club history.

7 comments for “Edgardo Alfonzo delivers best Mets game ever

  1. Mike
    December 24, 2010 at 9:21 am

    The beginning of the article is misleading where you say, “after a strikeout to start the game.” I had to go back to figure out it wasn’t Alfonzo who struck out. After checking, I discovered it was Rickey Henderson.

    • December 25, 2010 at 8:55 am

      Yeah, I did the same thing. That probably wasn’t the best way to go, but at least it’s print and we can re-read the story again.

      On the other hand, EDGARDO ALFONZO!! BEST MET EVER!
      This is an awesome Christmas surprise!

      • Brian Joura
        December 25, 2010 at 11:34 am

        It must be something to do with you both being named Mike.

        Putting Henderson in there would have made it fool-proof and obviously I should have done that. This is what I get for trying to write tight.

  2. December 24, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Brian

    Friendly FYI – Alfonzo’s brother Edgar is the MILB hitting coach for the ‘Stros. Edgardo is actually playing for a Venezuelan Winter League team.

    Good story – I remember that game well.

    • Brian Joura
      December 24, 2010 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting Mike!

      I grabbed that from Fonzie’s Wikipedia page – do you mean to tell me something on Wikipedia may not be true? I’m shocked, SHOCKED I tell you!

      Thanks for the correction.

  3. Dan Stack
    December 30, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Another correction. Both Dickey and Niese had one-hitters this year. Freakin Cole Hamels ruined Dickey’s.

    • Brian Joura
      December 30, 2010 at 10:45 am

      Man, I’m going to have to double-check my sources. I got that one from MLB.com

      But this one was more unforgivable. Thanks for pointing it out.

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