Mo Vaughn is turning 50, so let's watch him hit a ball 500 feet
By the time Mo Vaughn came to the Mets in 2002, many of his greatest years were behind him. And they were great. From 1991-2000, the three-time All Star -- who's celebrating his 50th birthday today -- hit 299 homers, collected 1,479 hits, picked up an MVP Award and slashed at a robust .298/.387/.533 clip. He brought Fenway Park to its feet, he tried punching holes in the Skydome, he sent baseballs on frightening trips down Eutaw Street.
But after years of wear and tear and injury (and even missing the entire '01 season due to a biceps operation), the 34-year-old slugger was traded by the Angels to the Mets. The first baseman struggled through April and May -- hitting just four home runs. But once June came around, he started to heat up. And on June 26, Big Mo gave Shea Stadium a delicious, satisfying taste of the Big Mo of old -- uncorking a prodigious dinger halfway up the right-field scoreboard:
As young broadcaster Keith Hernandez expertly noted, "It looks like there's beer coming off that sign."
The solo shot was listed at 505 feet at the time and stands as one of the longest homers hit in the stadium's 44-year history. Mo would go on to hit 26 long balls -- second on the team to Mike Piazza's 33. But none, and maybe not one during his entire 12-year big league career, went as far as this moonshot against the Braves that June night in 2002.