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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Before Barry Blessed Bacsik

Mike Bacsik, a New York Met in 2002 and 2003, gave Barry Bonds the pitch that became his 756th home run. Barry Bonds gave Mike Bacsik a bat in appreciation, inscribing it:

“To Mike, God Bless. Barry Bonds”

Barry Bonds can ask for a whole mess of Mets pitchers to be blessed for getting him to 756. Bacsik became the 75th hurler who has been a Met to surrender a homer to Bonds. Obviously Bacsik was a National when the record-breaker was served up. But we're not being picky here. To be in this special wing of the Barry Bonds Home Run Society, you had to have been a Met (a Major League Met, not a farmhand) at some point in your career. And you had to have given up a home run to the man either before you became a Met, while you were a Met or, like Bacsik, after you were a Met.

If Bonds never hits another home run, the list could still grow. If Omar Minaya got a hankering to have Clay Hensley on the Mets, for example, then Hensley would be added to the list, having been tagged with the 755th home run of Bonds' career. Likewise, if Craig McMurtry, now 47, were to come out of retirement to shore up the rotation (he hasn't pitched since 1995, but he's still younger than Julio Franco), then we'd have to add him for he gave up the first homer ever to Barry Bonds.

But we don't have Hensley and we don't have McMurtry. We have had 75 pitchers who have thrown 155 gopher balls to Barry Bonds. That's just over 20 percent of the kaboom king's total. He hit only 38 of these against pitchers when they wore Mets uniforms, but that's another story.

Who were these once Mets, then Mets, now Mets or eventual Mets? I could tell you, but then I'd have to…no, I wouldn't have to kill you, but if I tell you, I wouldn't be able to ask you. And I wanna ask you.

So let's have a quiz! No prizes, just productivity-killing fun. (Try to curb your Internet instincts from looking up the answers directly. I'll give 'em later, along with the inevitable clarifications for whichever questions I muddy in my quest for cleverness.) Remember: the home runs didn't necessarily have to be hit against the Mets, just a pitcher who at some point pitched for the Mets.

Please help these pitchers identify themselves.

1) I'm remembered as the second pitcher in some pretty good rotations, so it's fitting, I suppose, that I gave up Barry Bonds' second home run ever.

2) I gave up Bonds' 26th homer. And I wouldn't be on this list as a Met if the Mets weren't so hot to give away the guy who gave up Bonds' second home run ever.

3) I had a no-hitter going in the seventh until Bonds hit his 201st home run off me. The shock for Mets fans was I had a no-hitter going in the seventh…and that it wasn't the Mets who were being no-hit, given how that particular year was going.

4) If Bacsik's the 75th member of this club, then I guess I'm the 74th, even if the last of the three homers I gave up to Bonds only put his career total to 667.

5) I once had something of a numerical nature the guy who's the answer to the previous question has now. But I gave up just one homer to Bonds: his 171st.

6) Bonds got me for the 56th home run of his career. Once he went and hit another 554 off other people, I could have dropped to my knees and flung my glove in the air in celebration. But I would have exulted too soon, for I also gave up Bonds' 611th homer.

7) Mets fans were far more annoyed that I gave up home runs to the likes of Alfredo Amezaga and Hanley Ramirez than they are that Bonds touched me for eight homers (even if eight is the most anybody in this particular club has on his ledger).

8) I had a perfect ERA of 0.00 in three appearances for Willie Randolph, but I wasn't so lucky when I gave up Bonds' 622nd homer when I was pitching for Bob Boone.

9) I'm one of those myriad lefty specialists who hung around to face lefty sluggers like Bonds. When I was a Met, I wasn't all that special. In fact, I was a starter and gave up Bonds' 244th homer. I'd give up three more to him in my later incarnation in relief. The last two (Nos. 511 and 516), I'll bet, made Mets fans particularly happy given who I was pitching for by then.

10) I was involved in a trade with five other pitchers altogether, but I was the only one of the six who ever gave up a homer to Bonds. I gave up five of 'em, starting with No. 288 and ending with No. 434.

11) My name comes up tangentially in connection to Barry Bonds for some reason. I gave up his 657th homer, but that can't be why people have invoked my name when his comes up. I wonder why we're connected. I wish I had a shot at answering this.

12) Some of the most notable closers in Mets history escaped the wrath of Bonds. I didn't. I gave up the 711th home run of the guy's career, but big deal. We won the game.

13) I took care of Barry Bonds and everybody on his team when it mattered most. But I did give up his 286th and 524th homers, though I doubt Mets fans remember either of those blasts, so associated am I with the aforementioned great effort against Bonds' team.

14) I gave up Barry Bonds' 465th homer, but I prefer to bask in the afterglow of having been the only one in this club to have won a game the night before Barry got to 756.

15) I'm the person who gave up Barry Bonds' 438th home run. That's all you need to know.

16) If all Mets fan knew about me was I gave up Bonds' 46th and 55th career homers, I'd feel a lot better about my career. I think a whole Nation would feel the same.

17) Boy did I suck as a Met. Wait, let me narrow it down for you. Exactly ten years before Barry Bonds became baseball's all-time home run king was the last time Mets fans didn't particularly care how much I sucked. As an aside, I gave up the 110th home run of Bonds' career. But mostly I sucked as a Met.

18) Yeah, I sucked as a Met, too. It was almost as if there were a rule that I had to suck as a Met for like an entire year. I would give up Bonds' 173rd career home run…as a teammate of the guy who gave up the 110th.

19) I was way better than my brother when it came to not giving up home runs to Barry Bonds. Sure, the guy got me for No. 180, but my brother gave up many more to him than I did. So I've got that going for me.

20) Greg thinks I'm the most obscure Met in this entire club, at least in terms of having been a Met. That's a purely subjective metric, but I'm so obscure Greg actually did a double-take when he saw my name. He was all “ohmigod, I totally forgot this guy was ever on the Mets.” It's like I was so obscure that any season I helped build as a Met couldn't have been worth finishing. I'm so obscure that once a season that wasn't worth finishing wasn't finished, I was finished, too…y'know? I'm too obscure to be on any list. I think I'm too obscure to have given up two home runs to Barry Bonds, No. 8 and No. 253. But I did. You know…I must have been around a while to have been tagged by Bonds 245 homers apart. That might help you figure out who I was. Honestly, I don't know what more there is to say about me. If Greg's forgotten me, you have every reason to have also.

21) I doubt I'm all that well remembered by Mets fans either. Greg barely recalls my Met tenure. but I was a part of history. In the runup to Bonds' single-season home run record, I gave up three dingers to the big man in a week, Nos. 559, 560 and 562 in his career. Steve Phillips must have been impressed by me because he went out and got me the very next summer. I wouldn't say he traded the world for me, but he was willing to toss in a very valuable body of water.

22) What the guy before me said? You know, about Nos. 559, 560 and 562? Guess who gave up No. 561? Me! I only gave up that one homer to Bonds, but in my only two Mets appearances, I gave up three homers, including two to a genuine World Series hero. (I really, really, really sucked as a Met.)

23) Barry Bonds hasn't been that much of a problem for the Mets in terms of being a frequent threat since he became a Giant. But when he was a Pirate, he was a potential problem 18 games a year. Remember Barry as a Pirate? I do. I gave up his final Pirate homer, the 176th of his career and the first of three he hit off me in my fairly distinguished career.

24) My kids weren't going to be as uneducated as I was. I saw to that. I guess I didn't seem too bright the five times I gave up homers to Barry Bonds. Five, incidentally, is the total of two plus three…and three is the number I gave up to Bonds after I decided my kids' education was my biggest concern. The last of 'em, so far, was No. 607. Home runs to Bonds, that is. I don't have that many kids as far as I can count.

25) In my time, I also gave up five homers to Bonds, starting with No. 342 and winding up with No. 679. In my time with the Mets, I gave up the first grand slam to another player of some note. My Mets time was rather brief.

26) I gave up four homers to Bonds, the first of them No. 190. But honestly, I've got my own big number that people have been talking about lately, so screw my being in this crappy club for jerks.

27) That's almost exactly what I said about the Mets not long ago, even though I haven't put any big numbers that people are talking about. But I did give up Bonds' 519th and 551st home runs.

28) Just as I sure gave up the second-most home runs to Barry Bonds that any pitcher who has pitched for the Mets has, the Mets sure gave up on me at a pretty young age. I sure made them look bad by going out and being the second-best pitcher in the National League shortly thereafter, at least according to Cy Young voters. The first home run I gave up to Bonds was his 175th. The last was his 394th.

29) My career has been about as gaudy as Bonds'. I'm only in this club because I gave up Barry's 287th homer. I'm only pitching for the club I'm pitching for this week because I've been hurt.

30) Barry got to me for Nos. 40 and 60 when I was one of the best pitchers in baseball and No. 156 when I was in noticeable decline. He never saw me at my absolute best even though he's actually a little older than I am.

31) As of Tuesday night, Mike Bacsik and I had our names next to Barry Bonds' record-setting home runs. The next homer Bonds hit, on Wednesday, Bacsik's name was replaced by Tim Redding's because No. 757 became the new lifetime record. But unless a slugger really bulks up the way Bonds did the year Barry hit the 567th of his career off me, then I'll be a trivia question well into perpetuity. Let's just say it's unlikely I'll ever knuckle under to another pitcher in this regard.

Tip of the trivial cap to Mark at Mets Walkoffs for inspiring this exercise in, well, triviality.

10 comments to Before Barry Blessed Bacsik

  • Anonymous

    Man, that's way hard. Numbers 6, 12 and 24 are pretty obvious and I can make a decent guess at maybe three others, and the rest are total stumpers. Guess I'm not the Mets fan I thought I was. Or else Greg has WAY too much time on his hands …

  • Anonymous

    You know I suck at this stuff, but off the top of my head, I know # 13… and of course #19 >:-(
    Thanks for not including #401, which I remember only because I remember the sense of relief that it wasn't #400. What a double-whammy THAT would have been…

  • Anonymous

    8. Felix Heredia
    12. Braden Looper
    13. Bobby Jones
    20. Roger Mason
    22. Steve Reed
    23. Jason Middlebrook
    24. Mike Hampton
    26. Tom Glavine
    27. John Thompson
    31. Chan Ho Park?

  • Anonymous

    Jman, some of these are right, some of these are not. But I figuratively buy you a bag of overpriced Cracker Jack for getting Roger Mason, someone whose Met tenure I remember occurring but the details of which escaped me by 1995 and remain at large to this day.

  • Anonymous

    Sometimes Mets pitchers managed to strike Bonds out, though. And that's how I'll choose to remember him, getting called out on strikes in the 2000 NLDS.

  • Anonymous

    No asterisk there, baby!

  • Anonymous

    How long do we have to wait for the answers? It's killing me.

  • Anonymous

    The answers? Oh my goodness, there are answers?
    I'll post 'em this weekend.

  • Anonymous

    a list of ostensibly correct(?) answers:
    1) Ron Darling
    2) Tim Burke
    3) Frank Tanana
    4) Brian Lawrence
    5) Mark Clark
    6) Jesse Orosco
    7) Chan Ho Park
    8) Felix Heredia
    9) Mike Remlinger
    10) Kevin Tapani
    11) Guillermo Mota
    12) Billy Wagner
    13) Bobby Jones
    14) Paul Byrd
    15) Robert Person
    16) Calvin Schiraldi
    17) Mel Rojas
    18) Doug Simons
    19) Mike Maddux
    20) Roger Mason
    21) Jason Middlebrook
    22) James Baldwin
    23) Bret Saberhagen
    24) Mike Hampton
    25) Jose Lima
    26) Tom Glavine
    27) Al Leiter
    28) Pete Schourek
    29) Pedro Martinez
    30) Dwight Gooden
    31) Dennis Springer

  • Anonymous

    So…so…SO close! Let's just say if you were going to Baskin-Robbins, you'd get to sample every flavor but one.
    Very nice work.