2/19/2013 12:30 P.M. ET
Strawberry's Montreal home run stuff of legend
By Marty Noble / MLB.com
PORT ST, LUCIE, Fla. -- A silver anniversary obscured somewhat by time, lack of clear video evidence and the absence of the Montreal Expos approaches. Twenty-five years ago on April 4, Darryl Strawberry hit the roof in Montreal.
The Mets played the Expos on Opening Day, 1988. They hit six home runs and won, 10-6. Strawberry was responsible for the first, the highest and what would have been the longest home run had the cement rim of Olympic Stadium not interfered with its flight. His first homer that day came in the second inning against Dennis Martinez and was rather pedestrian for Strawberry. The second one collided with the ballpark where no pedestrian could reach.
The Expos' pitcher was Randy St. Claire, a right-handed reliever who subsequently pitched for four other clubs and served as Expos-Nationals pitching coach for 6 1/2 seasons, and Marlins pitching coach from 2011-12. His current position is pitching coach with the Mets' Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate. He is in camp these days.
Now, some pitchers are proud when they've played a role in a monster home run. Al Jackson, here working with the Mets, loves to speak of the home run he surrendered to Willie McCovey in St. Louis in the 1960s. Johan Santana isn't at all insulted when the home run Adam Dunn hit against him in 2009 -- it reached the Shea Bridge well beyond the right-center-field wall -- is mentioned.
Other pitchers prefer to forget.
St. Claire is in between "Six inches over the fence or a lot farther ... it makes no difference," he said on Tuesday morning. "I couldn't care less."
Of course, he recalls Strawberry's home run. "Three-one fastball," he said. But he also notes that the point of impact, well above the playing surface, was not beyond the plane of the right-field wall. "Where it hit probably was 25 feet inside the wall."
Where it was headed probably would have required a stop in customs.
"I remember it. Straw killed it," Wally Backman said.
Backman will manage the Las Vegas team. "You know. that home run might just come up once or twice this year."
Single-game tickets to go on sale March 1
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Single-game tickets go on sale Friday, March 1 at 10 a.m. ET, and can be purchased online at mets.com and at (718) 507-TIXX.
An exclusive pre-sale for Citi credit and debit cardholders begins on Monday at noon and runs through Wednesday, Feb. 27. Cardholders in the New York area can purchase tickets to all games and meet former Mets Darryl Strawberry and John Franco at Citi Pond at Bryant Park from noon to 1:00 p.m. on Monday.
Tickets start at $12.
T-Shirt Tuesdays return this year, beginning Tuesday, April 23, when the Dodgers play at Citi Field at 7:10 p.m. Fans will receive a ticket in the Left Field Landing and a limited edition T-shirt featuring a unique design for $19. T-Shirt Tuesday tickets will be available at mets.com beginning March 1.
The club also will resume offering the Power Pack, allowing a family of four to attend a Mets game with food, fries and a soft drink at Citi Field for less than $100. For $23 a ticket, fans will receive a seat in the Left Field Landing, a Nathan's Famous hot dog, a Brooklyn burger or veggie burger, Nathan's crinkle cut French fries and a medium regular fountain soda. Power Packs for April and May games are on sale at mets.com beginning March 1.
New in 2013 is the option to upgrade to Baseline Box seats on the field level.
Fans can purchase Mets tickets before the single game sale with these packages that are on sale now at mets.com:
All-Star Six Packs -- Fans can secure a ticket to Opening Day or a Subway Series game and select five other games. Each pack comes with a ticket to MLB's All-Star FanFest in July. Prices feature additional savings of the established box office price.
Grand Slam Packs -- Fans can choose from among five different packs -- Division Pack, Playoff Pack, Saturday Pack, Sunday Pack and Matinee Pack -- that feature four games. Packs start at $99 per seat for Promenade reserved locations.
• The lone vacant locker in the Mets' clubhouse at Port St. Lucie separates the lockers of David Wright and Mike Baxter. Well-established veterans routinely have at least one vacancy in the adjacent lockers. But what about Baxter. Why is his locker where it is?
"It was a tough decision. It was a long process," Wright said smiling. "Mike interviewed best."
• Before Santana threw his no-hitter on June 1 last year, Tom Seaver had found a silver lining in the Mets' long-standing double negative -- no no-no. "We have distinction," Seaver said. "The longer we go without one, the cooler it gets. Pretty soon every other team will have one, and we'll stand alone."
Seaver of course changed his posture when Santana no-hit the Cardinals. And now, Santana says he doesn't need the distinction of being the only Mets pitcher to throw one. "Besides," he said on Tuesday, gesturing toward the lockers of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, "We can have a few more around here pretty soon."
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.