Just in time for the New Year, Mets 101's Seven in Seven series returns as our gift to you. Each week, the Mets 101 staff will begin a countdown of topics related to the New York Mets (i.e. best third baseman, worst defeat, etc.). We will begin our countdowns with the number seven and work all the way to number one. This week's Seven in Seven list takes a look at the timeline of all time Mets great Mike Piazza. Today's moment is number three on the list, Piazza's September 21, 2001 home run against Atlanta.
For ten days following September 11, 2001, New York sports lay dormant and the pennant races in the MLB put on hold, as the city mourned and joined together to aid in the relief efforts. The New York Mets franchise was at the forefront of the movement, using their status to assist the thousands of emergency responders called to the scene.
When baseball returned on September 21, 2001, the Mets hosted their longtime rival Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium, in what would be perhaps the most emotional game played at the park in its 46-year history. Pre-game ceremonies honored the first responders and the Mets traded in their interlocking "NY" caps for those of the FDNY, NYPD and Port Authority PD.
The game itself was exactly what you expected from Mets-Braves games at the time. Tightly played ball backed by strong outings from Bruce Chen and Jason Marquis, respectively. Tied at one a piece going into the eighth, Bravos outfielder Brian Jordan doubled off Armando Benitez, allowing an inherited runner from John Franco to score, putting the Mets down by one going into the home half of the eighth.
With Queens native Steve Karsay on the hill for Atlanta, the Mets started their comeback with a one-out walk drawn by Edgardo Alfonzo, who was lifted for pinch-runner Desi Relaford with the Mets biggest bat coming to the dish. Piazza took a called first strike before digging in and crushing the next pitch he saw to deep left center, putting the Mets ahead 3-2, a lead they would ultimately make stand. Shea Stadium erupted with joy, bringing a level of happiness to New Yorkers that they hadn't felt in a while. It was a moment no Met fan who watched that night will ever forget. Mike Piazza hit a lot of home runs at Shea Stadium, but that home run might have meant the most to Met fans.
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