August 2, 2007: Damion Easley
For whatever reason, out of the several Mets inside-the-park home runs that I’ve had the pleasure of watching live on TV, this one sticks out to me the most. Maybe it’s because I’ve always had a soft spot for Mets utility players, or maybe it’s because I distinctly remember how exhausted Easley looked in the dugout after he completed his triumphant trot.
He wasn’t the fleetest of foot during his time in Flushing, and I have a feeling he used up exactly 100% of his energy while running around the bases. Easley was also 37 at the time, certainly past his prime running days. Nonetheless, on that August day vs. the Milwaukee Brewers, he achieved what few baseball players have, and here’s how it went down.
In the top of the 6th inning, with Chris Capuano on the mound for the Brewers, Moises Alou on second base for the Mets, and the game tied 3-3, Easley launched a fly ball to deep center field. Outfielder Bill Hall could not reel it in, and it took a wide carom off the wall at Miller Park. Easley continued his hustle around the bases, rounding third as Hall retrieved the ball. There would be no remarkable outfield assist that day, as Easley slid in safely at home plate.
Clearly, despite his remarkable achievement, neither Easley nor the Mets were newly convinced that he had transformed into a speed demon.
“He looked tired, oh yeah,” said José Reyes after the game. “Home plate to home plate — it’s too much.”
“I’m hoping for somebody to push me,” Easley said in a postgame interview. “My legs were done after that for the rest of the game. I was pretty much done.”
My lasting image from this game is seeing Easley practically dragging his feet toward the dugout after his 360-foot trot, with Reyes waving a towel over him to cool him off. Though Easley was never a star for the Mets, he did give them several productive years on the bench and one outstanding inside-the-park home run.