How the 2011 Mets rate in franchise history in HR

The Mets scored 14 runs Saturday without hitting a single home run. While that’s nowhere near close to the major league record of 27 runs scored by a team without the aid of a HR, it is still quite unusual and points out the team’s problem with the long ball with Ike Davis and David Wright on the DL and Jason Bay’s power being MIA.

The Mets have hit just 47 HR in 77 games, the third-worst mark in the National League. Wright played his last game on May 15th. Since he’s been out of action, the Mets have hit 11 HR in their last 37 games and are 19-18 in that stretch.

If the team keeps up its current pace of hitting home runs, the Mets will finish with 99 HR. That will be one of the worst marks in recent history, yet will not crack the top 10 of worst-hitting HR teams in Mets history. Here are those infamous squads:

T 10. 1963 Mets: 51-111, 96 HR
Jim Hickman led the team with 17 HR. Frank Thomas, who hit 34 in the club’s inaugural season, finished second with 15. Five starters finished with double-digit homers but the remaining three everyday players combined for just 7 HR. The highest HR total from anyone on the bench was by Joe Hicks, who hit five.

T 10. 1974 Mets: 71-91, 96 HR
John Milner led the squad with 20 HR and Rusty Staub was one behind with 19. Wayne Garrett and Cleon Jones each had 13. After those four, Jerry Grote and Dave Schneck were the next highest with five each. And to make matters worse, not a single pitcher hit a homer all year for the team.

9. 2009 Mets: 70-92, 95 HR
The year when everyone hit the DL and things really fell apart for the Omar Minaya-era Mets. Daniel Murphy led the club with 12 HR and four others tied for second with 10 apiece, including Gary Sheffield, who the club picked up off the waiver wire at the beginning of the season, and Jeff Francoeur, who the Mets acquired in a mid-year deal. Angel Pagan had 11 triples, meaning the club’s HR leader was nearly surpassed by the club’s triples leader.

8. 1992 Mets: 72-90, 93 HR
Anyone down on the current version of the Mets would be well served to go back and remember the early 90s Mets. Bobby Bonilla took time out from showing reporters the Bronx to lead the team with 19 HR. Eddie Murray (16) and Darryl Boston (11) were the only other players to hit double digits.

7. 1977 Mets: 64-98, 88 HR
John Stearns, Milner and Steve Henderson tied for the team lead with 12 HR. And Henderson didn’t play his first game until June 16th, the day after being acquired in the Tom Seaver trade. Ed Kranepool gave the team a bench player with double-digit dongs, as he hit 10 in 309 ABs.

6. 1978 Mets: 66-96, 86 HR
Willie Montanez led the team with 17 HR yet the starting infield combined for only 20 round-trippers. The double-play combo of Doug Flynn and Tim Foli produced just the one homer by the shortstop, while 3B Lenny Randle managed just two. Joel Youngblood provided power off the bench with 7 HR and Bobby Valentine contributed the last homer off his career.

5. 1973 Mets: 82-79, 85 HR
Milner again led the team, this time with 23 HR and a .432 SLG. Yes, the NL Champions, the team that held a 3-2 lead in the World Series, were topped with a .432 SLG. The four starters up the middle (Grote, Felix Millan, Bud Harrelson and Don Hahn) combined for 6 HR. Willie Mays led the bench with six homers.

4. 1967 61-101, 83 HR
In his only season with the Mets, Tommy Davis led the team with 17 HR. This team would have been even lower on the list if not for the power of 2B Jerry Buchek, who finished second with 14 HR. Flynn and Millan are confused how a second baseman could hit so many. Bob Johnson, acquired in early May from the Orioles, led the bench with 5 HR. After the season, Johnson was dealt to the Reds for Art Shamsky.

3. 1968 73-89, 81 HR
One season after hitting just three homers, Ed Charles led the team with 15 HR. The rest of the infield (Kranepool, Ken Boswell and Harrelson) combined for seven. Shamsky led the bench with 12 HR. His .698 OPS was good for a 108 OPS+, an indication of how pitching-friendly the year of Bob Gibson and Denny McLain really was.

2. 1979 63-99, 74 HR
Youngblood was now a starter and he led the Mets with 16 HR, one more than Lee Mazzilli. The starters did not do too awful in the home run department this year. But the entire bench combined for 9 HR, led by Seaver-trade acquisition Dan Norman’s three. No pitcher hit a homer for the team. If they did they would have become manager Joe Torre’s top pinch-hitting option.

1. 1980 67-95 61 HR
Mazzilli was the only starter on the team to crack double-digits in homers with 16. Claudell Washington finished second on the club with 10 HR. Starters Alex Trevino, Flynn and Frank Taveras combined to hit zero homers. That made Jerry Morales (3) and Elliott Maddox (4) look good in comparison. Hubie Brooks hit his only homer of the season in Game 161 to allow the team to tie Roger Maris.

*****

The 11 teams listed above went a combined 740-1041 (.415) or a 67-95 mark over a 162-game season. Only once did a team on this list finish with a winning record, which was the small-a amazing 1973 Mets. That the 2011 Mets have this little HR power and are basically .500 is a real achievement.

The 1981 Mets hit 57 HR but that team also played in just 103 games due to the strike. Pro-rated over a 162 game schedule, the 1981 squad would have hit 90 HR. Dave Kingman had 22 HR that year while Mazzilli finished second with six.

2 comments for “How the 2011 Mets rate in franchise history in HR

  1. Dan Stack
    June 27, 2011 at 1:58 am

    I think the Astros have it worse. I think I heard they went like 385 at-bats without a HR. It amazes me that even in the steroid era, that quite a few single players could hit more than that 80′ team

  2. Brian Joura
    June 27, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Back in 1980 the newspapers regularly ran charts comparing the Mets HR output as a team to Roger Maris, who was then the single-season HR champ. It was definitely a matter of pride not to be out-homered by a single person.

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