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Saturday, June 8, 2019

Todd Hundley broke single-season catching home run mark; Made 14 ML seasons, Mitchell Report

Todd Hundley 1990 Jackson Mets card, Hundley up close with bat on shoulder smiling

Mets catcher Todd Hundley broke the single-season home run mark for catchers in 1996, hitting 41 on the season.

He captured the mark that had been held for 43 years by Hall of Famer Roy Campanella, a something Hundley's father, himself a former major league catcher, Randy Hundley, told The New York Times he could hardly fathom.

"When Todd starting coming up on the record and his name was mentioned in the same breath as Roy Campanella, I was like, 'You have to be kidding me,' '' Randy Hundley told The Times. ''It was unbelievable."

Todd Hundley's accomplishment may have seemed unbelievable to some. He'd seen six previous major league campaigns, four in a full-time role, and hit 50 home runs total. He then hit those 41 in 1996.

But those home runs may not have been as believable as they initially seemed, at least according to the Mitchell Report. The Mitchell Report included allegations that those 41 Todd Hundley home runs had been fueled by performance enhancing drugs.

Todd Hundley's career began in 1987, taken by the Mets in the second round of the draft out of Fremd High School in Illinois.

Hundley started with the Mets at short-season Little Falls. He returned there in 1988, then hit single-A Columbia for 1989.

Hundley made AA Jackson to start 1990, then made the jump all the way to Queens that May. Hundley later recalled his call-up to The South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

"Later that night," Todd Hundley told The Sun-Sentinel in 1992 of the night of his debut, "I was in my room, thinking to myself, 'Did this really happen? Did I just catch Frank Viola? Am I really here?' I was on an adrenaline high for three or four days."

Hundley saw 36 major league games in 1990, then 21 the next. He then played his first full major league season. In 123 games, he hit .209, with seven home runs.

He hit .228, with 11 home runs in 1993, then .237, with 16 home runs in the shortened 1994 campaign. Hundley hit .280, with 15 home runs in 1995.

Then, according to Kirk Radomski in the Mitchell Report, Radomski offered Hundley steroids. They'd known each other since 1988. Radomski suggested if Hundley took the drugs, he'd hit 40 home runs, according to the report.

Radomski told investigators he'd sold Deca-Durabolin and testosterone to Hundley three or four times, according to the report. A player also recalled discussing steroid use with Hundley. Hundley declined to speak with report author George Mitchell.

Hundley made the all-star team that year in 1996 and the next year, 1997. He hit .273, with 30 home runs in 1997.

He stayed with the Mets through 1998, then moved to the Dodgers for two seasons and then to the Cubs for 2001 and 2002. He hit 24 home runs each in 1999 and 2000 for the Dodgers, and 16 in 2002 with the Cubs.

Hundley saw his final major league time, 21 games, in 2003, back with the Dodgers.
Todd Hundley 1990 Jackson Mets card, Hundley up close with bat on shoulder smiling
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,144
Made the Majors:1,141-36.3%-X
Never Made Majors:2,003-63.7%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 474-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:282

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