Mets have employed the last three pitchers to give up record single-season home runs
By Tim Boyle
Three of the biggest single-season home runs in MLB history were hit against pitchers who would one day suit up for the New York Mets.
There may not be a holier record in North American sports than the single-season home run record. Held by Babe Ruth for decades, it was broken in 1961 by Roger Maris then by Mark McGwire in 1998 and finally by Barry Bonds in 2001. It doesn’t have much to do with the New York Mets but each home run does have a connection to the organization.
You see, while Maris, McGwire, and Bonds never suited up for the Mets, the pitchers who surrendered those famous record-setting dingers did.
Back in 1961, Jack Fisher was on the mound when Maris hit number 60 to tie Ruth’s record. On the mound when he actually broke the record was another player who would suit up for the Mets in the future, Tracy Stallard.
Stallard spent two seasons with the Mets in 1963 and 1964. He lost a league-leading 20 games in 1964 despite having a halfway decent 3.79 ERA.
We can blame those weak early Mets offenses for this.
At the time, Stallard was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. The 23-year-old rookie gave up the famous home run all the while etching his name in MLB history.
Many years later, the record Maris set was finally broken. This time, in 1998 when I was actually alive to see it, Steve Trachsel delivered a pitch to McGwire that went over the left field wall. At the time, he was a member of the Chicago Cubs. In 2001, his journey as a member of the Mets began.
Trachsel remained with the Mets through 2006, pitching to some mixed results of mostly mid-rotation quality. Like Stallard, one of his biggest claims to fame is the one famous home run he gave up. Trachsel did have a much longer big league career and some pretty good years along the way.
For the Mets to have two connections with famous record-breaking home runs is one thing. For them to find a third is rather amazing.
Only three years after McGwire’s record was set, Bonds broke it with a home run against Chan Ho Park of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In the lone All-Star campaign of his career, Park was on the wrong side of history.
To complete the trifecta, Park found his way to the Mets in 2007. He made only one start for them. The results were less than notable with seven earned runs across the plate in only four innings.
Stallard, Trachsel, and Park each spent time with multiple teams. However, only the Mets employed each at some point in their career.
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It’s not exactly the connection the franchise wants to record-breaking home runs. If it’s any consolation, at least all happened before they called Flushing home.