Fearsome Foursome Still a Possibility For Shellshocked Mets
In Spite of Losing Nady, Mets Still Have A Shot At Hosting A “Fearsome Foursome” of Sluggers in 2006Copyright © 2006 by Evan Pritchard for Amazine
July 31, 2006
For those who haven’t heard, Duaner Sanchez was in a car crash last night, 16 hours before the trade deadline, and suffered a separated shoulder which will probably require surgery. The news crashed the Mets victory party, celebrating their historic sweep of the Braves at Turner Field earlier that same day. Sanchez was having a career year, and though he can play again in a year or so, he may never be the same. Omar Manaya moved fast and traded right fielder Xavier Nady for aging reliever Roberto Hernandez, a middle reliever the Mets had already sent packing, and one other player, Oliver Perez.
Nady was one of four big sluggers for the Mets, and was definitely on track to hit 20+ homers this year. The Mets had three 20 home run hitters this year at the All Star break, tying an all time record. They are now at the 104 game mark, with 63 victories, on a pace to win 98 games, so that all current stats should be multiplied by 1.56 in order to project a full season. Carlos Beltran is on a pace to hit 50 homers, Carlos Delgado is on a pace to hit 40 homers, and David Wright on a pace to hit 35. Xavier Nady was on a pace to hit 22.5. He will be replaced in right field and in the lineup by Endy Chavez, who is considered better defensively. There is a chance that with more playing time, Chavez will fill the ravine in right, the gap left by the sudden and unexpected departure of “X Man” Xavier Nady.
The Mets also have Reyes, who might surprise us with a home run tear that will put him over the top, but there is no clear pattern to point to. Let Reyes be Reyes. Home runs are not a leadoff hitter’s job. (or yob!) Then there is Cliff Floyd, who has hit 10 homers already, but doesn’t seem to be able to stay on track.
If the Mets can end the regular season with four such powerhouses, we can call it a good year indeed. There is a great history of “fearsome foursomes” since the term was coined in 1959, and Mets players have played a role in many of them as we shall see in the follow-up article below.
Jose Valentin is on a pace to hit 18, Cliff Floyd is on a pace to hit 16, while Jose Reyes hit his 9th homer in the 102nd game to put him on a 15 homer pace for the year. Let’s evaluate each of these players separately as far as late-season power surges are concerned.
Valentin has been showing more and more power with each succeeding month as he gets used to being a starting second baseman, and, barring injury, is very likely to hit 20 this year if not more. He has enjoyed many seasons with close to 30 homers and was a member of many “fearsome fivesomes” with the Chicago White Sox.
Cliff Floyd only has 72 at bats this year, less than Xavier Nady. He has been plagued by injuries and slumps. He has often hit 30 or more homers in a year, no less 20. So far he has only hit 10, which is well below his typical mid-year total. He is capable of hitting 10 in August and 10 more in September if he plays full time. Although we cannot predict his year-end totals, it is not unreasonable to expect 20 as a final total.
Jose Reyes has been hitting homers on a light but steady pace since the beginning of the year, and just crushed his 9th to lead off the 102nd game, against the Mets’ arch-rivals, the Braves in a winning effort. He lost two weeks to a wrist injury but is now hitting for power again. Given his dominance of the NL offensively this year, who is to say he won’t add home run slugger to his budding Hall of Fame resume?
Lastings Milledge hit 3 homers in 30 days during his Met debut earlier this year. With about 60 days left in the season, it is not improbable that Milledge will finish the year with 9 homers. That will be nice, but wil not make a dent in our discussion of proven 20+ home run heroes.
Somewhere in there, we still have a shot at a six-slugger lineup, but with Nady gone, the chances seem dim. Ever since the 1961 Yankees became the first team in history to post a lineup with six 20+ home run hitters, the issue of number of sluggers in a lineup has become a topic of serious discussion. The term “slugger” has long suggested a player with 20 or more homers per season. This is how we will use it here. A number of teams have had 6 such “sluggers,” but only the 1996 Orioles and last year’s Texas Rangers have had seven. Losing Xavier Nady, who was on track to hit 22, pretty much ruins the Mets’ hopes of a “super seven.”
The M&M twins, Mantle and Maris, hit 54 and 61 respectively for a combined total of 115 back in 1961. But in addition to them, there was Moose Skowron who hit 28, Yogi Berra who hit 22, Elston Howard who hit 21 and Johnny Blanchard, who hit 21. Blanchard, a pinch-hitter and backup catcher to Elston Howard, was a surprising source for 20 homers, bringing the total to six hitters. That equals a total of 207 homers for the six players alone.
Since 2003, there has been an explosion of home run hitters coming out of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, as they go all out to try to outdo the other at any expense. In 2003, the Red Sox’ lineup included Manny Ramirez with 37 homers, Nomar Garciaparra with 28 homers, Kevin Millar with 25, Jason Varitek with 25, David Ortiz with 31, and Trot Nixon with 28; six players with 174 homers between them.
Then in 2004, the Yankees matched that record, with six 20+ home run hitters in their lineup as well. Alex Rodriguez hit 36 homers, Sheffield hit 36, Matsui hit 31, Deter Jeter hit 23, Bernie Williams hit 22 and Jorge Posada hit 21. These six players shared 169 homers between them.
In 1969, the Orioles had seven sluggers, starring (1.) Brady Anderson with 50 moon shots, (2.) Raphael Palmiero with 39 taters, (3.) Bobby Bonilla with 28 long balls, (4.) Cal Ripken, Jr. with 26 rockets, (5.) Hoiles with 25, (6.) Robbie Alomar, future Met 2nd baseman with 22 and (7.) B. J. Surhoff with 21 home runs. That’s seven men in a row likely to hurt a pitcher with the long ball, an amazing thing to see. Then last year, the Texas Rangers did the same thing. On that team, Teixeira hit 43, Soriano hit 36, Dellucci hit 29, Blalock hit 25, Mench hit 25, Michael Young hit 24 and Barajas hit 21. Given the circumstances, we can now talk about a “what if” scenario that would give Beltran 45, Delgado 40, Wright 34, Floyd 20, Valentin 20, and Reyes 20.
Even if Reyes doesn’t come out of nowhere to hit 20 homers he is on a pace to hit 20 triples this year, another yardstick by which sluggers are measured. By the way, catcher Paul Lo Duca, the Mets’ “Eighth Man,” home run-wise, leads the team in doubles right now with 25, on a pace to hit 40 doubles. He too is a kind of “slugger” that opposing pitchers learn to fear. So at least in that sense, the Mets will have power up and down the entire lineup. In this amazing year, it’s another statistic to dream on.
The Fearsome Foursomes (and Moresomes) of Baseball History…A Brief History of a Unique Home Run Phenomenon.
The New York Mets were certain to have four 20+ home run hitters at the end of the season. In fact, three of them made it before the All Star Break, a rare event in baseball history. However, with Nady gone, our chances are not as good to see a “fearsome foursome” at Shea. It’s a piece of baseball lingo that dates back to my childhood in Washington D.C.
Way back in 1959, the chronically feeble-hitting Washington Senators somehow had the good fortune to host four 20+ home run hitters in their lineup; Harmon Killebrew with 42, Jim Lemon with 33, Bob Allison with 30 and Roy Sievers with 21.
Some hambone sports journalist coined the phrase “fearsome foursome” in reference to these four Senators, and a great baseball phrase was born. The following year, Jim Lemon hit 38 dingers, Harmon Killebrew had 31, Bob Allison stroked 15 and Roy Sievers (who moved on to Chicago) had 28. The year after that, the entire team was traded to Minnesota and the Senators had to start over. They never again had a “fearsome foursome” combination, even the year Ken McMullen hit 20.
The new Minnesota team was called the Twins after the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and they carried the tradition onward for several years, using the Washington-grown term “fearsome foursome” liberally, to refer to their own hitters, many of them former Senators. In 1961 and 1962, Killebrew, Allison and Lemon stayed together as a combat unit, but were not able to generate the big homers. In 1963, the Twin Cities saw Killebrew hit 45, Allison hit 35, Jim Hall hit 33 and Earl Battey hit 26, certainly a “fearsome foursome,” which is what the media called them.
In 1964, the Twins matched the power of the six-way 1961 Yankees lineup with a fearsome sixsome, a rare occurrence in baseball, as we shall see. Harmon Killebrew led the pack with 49 homers, followed by Bob Allison with 32, both of them part of the original “fearsomes.” Tony Oliva matched Allison with 32 of his own, and Jim Hall hit 25. Don Mincher hit 23 homers and Zolio Versalles hit 20 to round out the six sluggers in that unforgettable lineup. It was only the second time that a team hosted six starting players with 20+ homers. Maris and Mantle had led the first team to do it, the 1961 Yankees.
The following year, 1965, the Twinkies had a fearsome foursome, but with much smaller numbers; Killebrew had 25 homers, Allison had 23, Mincher had 22 and Hall hit 20 home runs. Versalles fell an inch short with only 19 homers that year. Versalles was then traded to the new Senators in our Nation’s Capital, and never hit another homer as long as he lived. (Please note slight exaggeration from a former Senators fan!)
The Twins did not return to the “fearsome” category until 1986, when they started penciling a fearsome fivesome into the lineup at HHH Twindome. Gaetti had 34 homers that year, Kirby Puckett (now deceased) had 31, Hrbek had 29, Brunansky had 23 and Smalley had 20 homers. It was like old times. The following year, this same foursome continued: Hrbek with 34 homers, Brunansky with 32, Gaetti with 31, and Kirby Puckett with 28.
Unfortunately, the Twins have not been able to line up a “fearsome foursome” since. Although the “fearsome” term originated in Washington, it is now associated with Minnesota more than any other venue, and for good reason. They mastered the back to back homer like few teams since, in those golden years.
What happened to those hapless Senators, the expansion team that had to start over from scratch when the finally-hot Senators left town at the start of the 1961 season? (This was roughly the same time the Mets were born as you recall) Those Senators lasted only 10 years. Other than Frank Howard and Willie Kirkland, Mike Epstein and a few others, they were not a team associated with the home run. They almost never broke .500, and when they did the entire town went out to the airport to greet them. I remember, I was there; they let us walk right out onto the tarmac. The team was then again sent to another part of the country, to become the Texas Rangers, but this time there was no expansion or replacement. We were “downsized” down to nothing. Michael Moore is working on a documentary about it called “Robert Short and Me.”
Just as the old team only really flourished after being transplanted to a distant state, “Senators 2” as they are called by MLB stat sheets, suddenly flourished in the golden sunlight of central Texas, leaving a gaping black hole in the hearts of those who used to make the pilgrimage of absolute humility to DC Stadium every week to see the real Nats. In 1992, the expatriated Senators, now called the Texas Rangers began a belated “fearsome foursome” tradition of their own. Some suggest that they may have discovered some rare cactus in the desert that year and found that its juices gave them superhuman, though temporary, and possibly fatal powers, when ingested or rubbed on the joints and ligaments. But then, Texas is known for its tall tales, such as how hot their hot sauce really is.
That year, Juan Gonzalez hit 43 homers, noted author Jose Canseco hit 26, Palmer hit 26, and Raphael Palmiero hit 22. In 1999, Texas featured the fourth “fearsome sixsome” in history and with big numbers: Palmiero hit 47 big ones, Gonzalez hit 39, Ivan Rodriguez hit 35, Stevens hit 24, Todd Zeile, the future Mets star, hit 24, (he was probably pouring that secret formula Texas hot sauce on his ballpark wieners) and Greer hit 20, becoming the sixth player in the lineup to make 20 homers that year. In 2001, the somewhat juiced Texas team put forth Alex Rodriguez with 52 homers, Raphael Palmiero with 47, Ivan Rodriguez with 25, and Ruben Sierra with 23. Some of these names will be familiar to New York sports fans.
In 2003, good fortune and a little more secret Texas formula hot sauce helped the Texas Rangers yet again, and they found themselves sporting another “Fearsome fivesome” in their lineup. A-Rod had 47 homers, Palmiero had 38, Blalock had 29, Teixeira had 26, and Juan Gonzalez had 24. In 2004, Texas saw Teixiera hit 38 homers, Blalock hit 32, Soriano hit 28, Kevin Mench hit 26, and Young hit 22, another “fearsome fivesome.”
Last year, in 2005, Texas tied the 1996 Baltimore Orioles major league record with seven sluggers in a lineup with more than 20 homers. Teixeira had 43, Soriano had 36, Dellucci had 29, Blalock had 25, Mench had 25, Young had 24 and Barajas had 21 taters accordingly. These drawling new Senators of the south had managed to form a “fearsome seven-some,” something their eastern ancestors could not have imagined. They were only the second team to hit the seven mark, after the 1996 Orioles.
Back in 1962, the year after the 1961 “M&M lineup” at Yankee Stadium made six the new number to beat, the Detroit Tigers put together a fearsome foursome of their own that started an amazing tradition in Detroit. During the 1960s, no other team came close to having as many “fantastic foursomes,” as did the Detroit Tigers, putting together four in a row, between 1966 and 1969.
In ’62 the Motor City saw Norm Cash hit 39, Rocky Colovito hit 37, Al Kaline hit 29 and C. Fernandez hit 20 homers. In 1966, Norm Cash hit 32, Al Kaline hit 29, Willie Horton hit 27 and **** McAuliffe hit 23. In 1967, Cash hit 22, Kaline hit 25, McAuliffe hit 22 and Bill Freehan hit 20. In 1968, Willie Horton hit 36, Norm Cash hit 25, Bill Freehan hit 25 and Jim Northrup hit 21. In 1969, Willie Horton hit 28, Northrup hit 25, Cash hit 22 and Kaline hit 21. That was the last four track hit from Motown until 1985. In that year, Evans hit 40 homers, Kirk Gibson hit 29, Lance Parrish hit 28 and Whitaker hit 21 home runs respectively. The following year, 1986, the Tigers became the third team in baseball history to host six sluggers in one lineup; Evans hit 29 homers, Kirk Gibson hit 28, Lance Parrish hit 22, Alan Trammel hit 21, Coles hit 20 and Whitaker hit 20 respectively.
In 1987, the Tigers had their first “fearsome fivesome” with Evans hitting 34 homers, M. Nokes hitting 32, Trammel hitting 28, Gibson hitting 24 and Chet Lemon hitting 20. In 1991, Detroit returned again with yet another “fearsome fivesome,” with Cecil Fielder’s 44, Tettleton’s 31, Deer’s 25, Whitaker’s 23, and Fryman’s 21 home runs on the year respectively. Then in 1992, the Tigers put together their last “fearsome foursome” led by Cecil Fielder. Fielder had 35 homers, Deer had 32, Tettleton had 32, and Fryman had 20 homers. The slugging Tigers, the team of Hank Greenberg, went into decline in the long ball department, culminating in the closing of Tiger Stadium in 1998 and its demolition this year. The new stadium, CoAmerica Park opened the following year, and the Tigers began a long steady revival, including a return to the long ball.
For a long time, the Yankees, Twins, and Tigers were alone in their “fearsomeness,” hosting six back to back sluggers in a lineup. Then, in 1996, the Baltimore Orioles quietly broke the slugger barrier, and broke the old record held by the 1961 Yankees, the 1964 Twins, and the 1986 Tigers.
Baltimore had long been rivals of the Senators, only 40 miles away and in the same league. In the old days they were never much for “fearsome foursomes,” but in 1966, they got into the act in a big way, blowing away the meek and humble Senators down the street with their awesome power. They had Frank Robinson with 49 homers that year, followed by Boog Powell with 34, Curt Blefary with 23 and Brooks Robinson with 23. Just to rub it in, the Baltimore press called them “The Fearsome Foursome.” It was a Chesapeake phenomenon that tended to happen emerge in ten year cycles, like bumper crop clam years. In 1978, the Boo Birds struck again with Decinces who had 28, Eddie Murray with 27, Lee May with 25, and Ken Singleton with 20, a new fearsome foursome.
In 1985, the Orioles were led by Eddie Murray into another fearsome foursome; Eddie had 31 homers, Young had 28, Cal Ripken, Jr. had 26 and Fred Lynn (did you remember him as an Oriole?) hit 23.
In 1996, the Orioles had a bumper crop that busted all previous records, with seven hitters in a row with 20 or more homers. Although tied last year by Texas, that record still stands.
Since ’96, the 2000 White Sox, the 2001 Cleveland Indians, the 2004 Yankees, and the 2003 Red Sox have all had fearsome sixsomes, but rolled no sevens. That record of seven sluggers may occasionally be tied, but it will probably never be broken.
There are several other teams that have entered into the “fearsome” contest, (surprisingly, most have not, at least not since the term was coined) but few with as much consistency as the Boston Red Sox, fueled not so much by “juice” as by that infernal green wall that stands in left field, a stumbling block to baseball logic and to all pitchers who hate the long ball.
It all started in 1969 when Carl Yazstremski and Rico Petrocelli both hit 40 homers, followed by Reggie Smith with 25 and Tony Conigliaro with 20. That was a quartet as legendary that year as the Beatles. The following year, the band got back together, so to speak, and the “fab four” of Boston returned in full force. Yaz ripped 40, Conigliero hit 36, Petrocelli chalked up a less insane 29 while Reggie Smith went with 22.
Then in 1976, the year of the World Series against the Reds and the “Carlton Fisk Home Run,” the Sox surged again. Jim Rice hit 39 homers, George Scott hit 33, Butch Hobson hammered 30, Yazstremski knocked 28 and Carlton Fisk walloped 26, a five-way fireworks display.
In 1978, Boston returned to the four-cornered format with Rice hitting 46, Dwight Evans hitting 24, Fred Lynn hitting 22 and Carlton Fisk hitting 20. In 1979, in the twilight years of Carl Yazstremski, they managed another fearsome five, with Fred Lynn and Jim Rice leading the way with 39 homers each, Butch Hobson with 28, Dwight Evans with 21 and an aging Carl Yazstremski with 21 as well. In 1984, another Red Sox dynasty began, and Tony Armas led the team with 43 homers, Dwight Evans next with 32, Jim Rice with 28, Mike Easler with 27 and Rich Gedman with 24, another fivesome to remember.
In 1998, the Red Sox finally returned to old form, led by now-retired Met Mo Vaughn, who slugged 40 ********, followed by Nomar with 35, Stanley with 29, O’Leary with 23 and Jose Valentin, also with 23, mentioned earlier. In 1999, the Sox had a fivesome featuring O’Leary with 28, Garciaparra with 27, B. Huskey with 22, B. Daubach with 21 and Jason Varitek with 20 homers. In 2002, Boston returned to power, with another fivesome; Manny Ramirez had 33 homers, Garciaparra had 29, Trot Nixon had 24, B. Daubach had 20 and little David Ortiz had 20 as well, that year.
In 2003, the Red Sox tied the 1961 Yankees mark with six consecutive sluggers in the lineup. It was an awe-inspiring crew led by Manny Ramirez in one of his greatest roles. He hit 37 homers, while Garciaparra hit 28, Ortiz hit 31, Trot Nixon hit 28, Kevin Millar hit 25 and Jason Varitek hit 25. Surprisingly, the power mad 2004 and 2005 teams did not have more than three players with more than 20 homers, but overall, to date, few teams have lined up sluggers like the Boston Red Sox have since 1959.
In 2000, the Athletics got into a groove in regard to slugging lineups. That somewhat juicy year Jason Giambi hit 43, Miguel Tejada hit 30, Grieve hit 27, Eric Chavez hit 26 and Matt Stairs hit 21 homers for the Athletics, respectively.
In 2001, Oakland produced a quartet of bat whackers, when Jason Giambi hit 38 homers, Eric Chavez hit 32, Miguel Tejada hit 31 and Jermaine Dye hit 26. In 2002, the A’s fell short one slugger, but Eric Chavez led the team in homers anyway, with an impressive 34 round-trippers. In 2003, Eric Chavez again led the team in homers with 29, followed by Tejada with 27, E. Durazo with 21, and Ramon Hernandez with 21, for a cool quartet. In 2004, Chavez again led the A’s in homers with 29, followed by Jermaine Dye with 23, Bubba Crosby with 22, E. Durazo with 22, and E. Byrnes with 20, forming another fearsome fivesome in the west with names familiar now to New Yorkers. If Jose Valentin, who played very little before June 2nd, stays hot at the plate, he could certainly pass the 20 mark and be the fourth Met of a ‘Fearsome Foursome.”
OTHER SLUGGING LINEUPS
The only other American League teams that have made the grade since 1959 are the 1974 and 1975 Oakland Athletics (4) the 1979 and 1980 Milwaukee Brewers (4) the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers (5) the 1982 California Angles (5) 1995 Cleveland Indians (5) 1991 Seattle Mariners (5) the 1997 and 1978 Seattle Mariners (5/4) the 1998 Seattle Mariners (4) the 1998 Yankees (4) the 1999 Cleveland Indians (6) the 2000 Los Angeles Angels (5) the 2001 Cleveland Indians (6) the 2001 and 2002 Yankees (5) (2002 including Ventura of the Mets) the 2004 Cleveland Indians (5) and the National League which I’ll get to in a later post.
One of the interesting things about this new Mets lineup, is that several of the players have been in “fearsome foursomes” before. You probably already noted that Robbie Alomar was a member of the Baltimore Seven, but coach Rickey Henderson was part of the 1990 Oakland Athletics foursome that included Mark McGuire with 39 homers, Jose Canseco with 37, Henderson with 28 and D. Henderson with 20 homers.
Not too surprisingly, Carlos Delgado has been in a sextet of swat before. In 2000, while playing on the Toronto Blue Jays, he led the team with 41 homers, along with Batista also with 41, followed by Fullmer with 32, then Jose Cruz with 31, then Raul Mondesi with 24, then S. Stewart with 21. While often in a three-way homer constellation with the Blue Jays, that was his only previous experience with a six-pack of sluggers…that is until this year, we hope.
Former Met star (and former husband to Holly Berry) David Justice was on the 1997 Cleveland Indians’ fivesome, with Jim Thome hitting 40, Justice whacking 33, M. Williams hitting 32, Manny Ramirez hitting 26, and (Mets 1st base coach) Sandy Alomar hitting 21. Former Met Darryl Strawberry was on the 1998 Yankees “foursome” including Tino Martinez with 28, Bernie Williams with 26, Paul O’Neill with 24 and Strawberry with 24 home runs for that team, one of the best Yankee teams of all time.
But most Mets fans will be surprised to learn that Jose Valentin, the Met Most Likely To Get Us A “Fearsome Foursome” rating, has been on numerous legendary “foursomes” and “fivesomes” in the past.
In 1998 he was a member of the Boston “fivesome” that included former Met Mo Vaughn. Mo hit 40 that year (not that he ever did that for us…) Garciaparra hit 35, Stanley hit 29, O’Leary hit 23 and Jose Valentin hit 23 that year, just making it into the group. In 2000, he became part of a sensational sixsome with the Chicago White Sox, in which Frank Thomas hit 43 homers, Magglio Ordonez hit 32, C. Johnson hit 31, Jose Valentin hit 25, Carlos Lee hit 25, and Paul Konerko hit 21 home runs respectively.
In 2001, Valentin became part of history again as the White Sox gave birth to a quintuplet of quality. Paul Konerko hit 32 dingers, Magglio Ordonez hit 31, Valentin hit 28, Carlos Lee hit 24, and Ray Durham hit 20 homers. In 2002, the White Sox repeated the quintuplet trick as Ordonez hit 38 homers, Frank Thomas hit 28, Paul Konerko hit 27, Carlos Lee hit 26 and Jose Valentin hit 25. This guy is everywhere! In 2003, Frank Thomas hit 42 ********, while Carlos Lee his 31, M. Ordonez hit 29, Carl Everett hit 28 and Jose Valentin hit 28 as well, adding up to a fivesome of note. They repeated the trick again in 2004, and again Jose Valentin was right there in the middle of it. Konerko hit 41 homers, Carlos Lee hit 31, Jose Valentin hit 30, Aaron Rowand hit 24, Jason Uribe hit 23 and J. Crede hit 21, for a total of five back to back sluggers in the lineup. By the way, the White Sox only managed a foursome in 2005 without Jose Valentin’s home run prowess to guide the way. Last year Konerko hit 40, Jermain Dye hit 31, Carl Everett hit 23, and J. Crede his 22 homers respectively, a mere fourway slugfest, which nonetheless managed to win them the World Championship.
Valentin has been part of five fivesomes and one six-way slugclub during his still expanding baseball career, including a streak of five consecutive years as part of this home run phenomenon with the Chicago White Sox. Last year was an off year for him, but I suspect that he will want to hit at least 20 whacks this year so that he can keep to his personal habits and be part of a Mets five-or-moresome this year. Endy Chavez, on the other hand, is no Eric Chavez, and has only two homers on the year. That is probably all he’ll ever do.
Given the above, the “fearsome foursome, fivesome, or sixsome” is still a relatively rare phenomenon in baseball. There have only been two teams with a lineup of seven sluggers so far in history. If the Mets can get Reyes to whack a few more out of the park along with all those triples, if Cliff Floyd can overcome his aches and pains, finding his famous home run swing in the process, and if Valentin can catch up from his two lost months, I think that we will see a lineup that will be remembered as one of the 2006 Mets finest accomplishments. It won’t have seven such home run heroes, but five would be pretty cool.