Carlos Beltran is back in the orange and blue. In a sequence of events that would’ve seemed unfathomable a month or so ago, the Mets legend has been hired as the 22nd manager in franchise history. Once persona-non-grata around the Mets due to some turbulence he endured with ownership as a player, Beltran appears to have mended any and all fences, and the team can now finally recognize all of his tremendous contributions on the field.
Beltran spent the better part of seven years in a Mets uniform, and he left a mark on the franchise and its fans. There were so many incredible moments Beltran provided over those seven years, and now that he’s officially back, it seems like a perfect time to take a trip down memory lane and look back at the ten best moments Beltran gave us as a player.
10. His 41st home run
In 1996, Todd Hundley set the Mets single-season home run record with 41. Ten years later, Beltran tied that record as part of an MVP-caliber season, mashing 41 homers of his own. Beltran and Hundley shared that record for 13 years until Pete Alonso—who was 11-years-old in 2006—shattered that record this year.
9. Three home runs in Colorado
Beltran had a renaissance season in 2011, his first fully healthy season since 2008. The highlight of that year for him was probably on May 11 in Colorado, where he blasted three two-run homers in one game. It was Beltran’s last true signature moment with the Mets.
A few weeks before this game, Fred Wilpon had told the New Yorker that Beltran was “65 percent of what he once was.” Beltran finished 2011 with a 152 wRC+, the highest mark of his career.
8. The last Mets home run at Shea Stadium
It’s a rather forgotten moment because of the result of the game, but Beltran hitting a game-tying, two-run homer in the 6th inning of Game 162 was monumental when it happened, with the Mets fighting for their lives on the final day of the 2008 season. It was still the last Mets homer at Shea, after all. No video that can be embedded currently exists of it, but someone did recreate it on MVP Baseball 2005, at least.
7. 13th-inning walk off against the Diamondbacks
Earlier in 2008, the Mets were sputtering, barely hanging on the fringes of contention in June. Beltran provided a jolt while the team was at one of their low points, smashing this walk-off home run in the 13th inning after Billy Wagner had blown a save in the 9th.
6. Game-winning grand slam against the Marlins
Another fairly forgotten dramatic moment, Beltran blasted this game-winning grand slam with the Mets down to their last out against the Marlins during the heat of the wild card race in August 2008.
5. “We’re going home!”
This homer is maybe most known for being an iconic Gary Cohen call, but it was a fairly dramatic home run as well. It was a marathon game that went into the early morning on a cold May weeknight in 2006, and Beltran finally sent everyone home in the 16th inning.
4. Two home runs in NLCS Game 4
With the Mets in danger of falling down three games to one in the 2006 NLCS, the entire offense broke out for a 12-5 win in Game 4, highlighted by Beltran’s two solo homers.
3. Tal’s Hill
In terms of degree of difficulty, ground covered, and the game situation, this is genuinely one of the greatest catches in franchise history. This catch saved the game in the 14th inning, a game the Mets would later win. Beltran’s center field defense probably never got as much praise as it should have.
2. Two-run homer in Game 1 of the 2006 NLCS
With the Mets locked in a scoreless duel in Game 1 of the 2006 NLCS, Beltran hit this two-run shot off the scoreboard to give the Mets the lead in the 6th inning, and they didn’t look back. This homer was the only scoring in the entire game, and without it, the series never even gets to the seventh game, where nothing notable happened at all.
1. The Double “Outta Here”
In one of the best regular season games the Mets have ever played, they capped a six-run comeback with this two-run walk-off blast by Beltran to win the game 8-7. Beltran hit 149 homers in his career with the Mets, and none were more dramatic than this. While the homers he hit in the playoffs may have had more import in hindsight, this walk-off is probably the most iconic moment of his seven years in Flushing.