New York Mets History

Mets Once in a Lifetime Moment: Gary Sheffield’s 500th home run

By Edward Lennon
NEW YORK - APRIL 17: Gary Sheffield #10 of the New York Mets hits his 500th career home run in the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 17, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 17: Gary Sheffield #10 of the New York Mets hits his 500th career home run in the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 17, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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On April 17, 2009, Gary Sheffield made a once in a lifetime New York Mets moment when he hit his 500th career home run.

Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, has been a historic ballpark in its brief 10-season tenure.  Hosting an All-Star Game in 2013 and World Series games in 2015, the stadium has become renowned across the baseball community. One historical moment, often forgotten, that occurred at Citi Field was nine-time All-Star Gary Sheffield’s 500th home run, the only player to hit their 500th in a Mets’ uniform.

Prior to the 2009 season, Sheffield, 40 at the time, was entering the year with 499 home runs. All he needed was one more. In early April, the Mets signed the five-time Silver Slugger to a one-year contract.

Sheffield joined New York’s veteran leadership, which consisted of Carlos Beltran, David Wright, and now Boston Red Sox Manager Alex Cora. After being signed, he originally came off the bench, but then became the club’s starting left fielder.

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On April 17, the Mets called on Sheffield to pinch-hit in the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers, Sheff’s former team. He tied the game with a home run, his 500th in his career. He became the 25thplayer in baseball history to hit 500 home runs.

The Mets missed the playoffs in 2009, but Sheffield finished the year batting .276, hit 10 home runs and 43 runs batted in. He was not offered a contract in 2010 and tried to make a comeback in 2011. After remaining unsigned, he retired in 2011, ending his career with 509 home runs.

In addition to being the first Met to hit 500 home runs, he was the first ever player to pinch-hit for his milestone home run. At the time, Sheff became the third player in MLB history to hit home runs before age 20 and after age 40, joining Hall-of-Famers Ty Cobb and Rusty Staub. Alex Rodriguez became the fourth player to accomplish this in 2015.

Ten years later, Sheffield is still the only player to hit their 500th home run in a Mets’ uniform. Sheffield put the Mets in the history books, by reaching one of the most respected milestones in baseball as a New York Met.

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With Sheff as the only Met to hit 500 home runs, no player has ever hit their 3,000thcareer hit as a Met. With five years left on his deal with New York, Robinson Cano enters the year with 2,470 hits. Hopefully, Cano can record at least 530 hits as a Met and reach a milestone with the franchise like Gary Sheffield.

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