Heartbreaking news broke this morning as we learned that Darryl Hamilton, who played as a major league outfielder from 1988 until 2001, was one of two victims in a murder-suicide at his home in suburban Houston. The other victim was Hamilton's wife, Monica Jordan.
The news is especially shocking because of how visible Hamilton was to the baseball world. In the years following his retirement, he worked for the commissioner's office as well as in broadcasting. Most recently, Hamilton worked as an analyst for MLB Network and for Brewers radio. His final major league game was played with the Mets in 2001.
Acquired in 1999 via a trade with Colorado, Hamilton stepped in and improved New York's offense down the stretch. His .339/.410/.488 hitting in 55 games was certainly a difference-maker in a Wild Card race that ended with the Mets and Reds tied at 96-66 after 162 games.
During the tiebreaker game in Cincinnati, Hamilton went 1-for-4 with a walk to help lift the Mets to a 5-0 win and their first postseason appearance since 1988. The veteran continued to play regularly for New York during the series against Arizona and Atlanta that year. In the famous Grand Slam Single game at Shea, Hamilton went 2-for-3 with a double before being pinch hit for by Benny Agbayani.
In the sixth and final game of the NLCS, Hamilton drove in a pair of runs with a clutch single in the sixth inning. The big hit was integral in New York's effort to erase a five-run deficit in that game.
Although Hamilton wasn't a regular starter for the Mets in 2000 and 2001, he did come up huge in the 2000 postseason. Entering as a pinch-hitter during a pivotal Game 2 of the NLDS in San Francisco, Hamilton hit a double in the top of the 10th and ended up scoring the winning run on a Jay Payton single. The Mets would win the next two games as well to move on to the NLCS for the second straight year.
Hamilton wasn't most known for his time with the Mets, but he was an important part of the team during one of the most memorable runs in its history. For that, we'll always remember him fondly. May he rest in peace.