The game-winning RBI had a short shelf life as an official major league statistic from 1980-88, but current Mets star Pete Alonso continues moving up the list toward breaking the unofficial single-season record.
Alonso’s ninth-inning single Friday lifted the Mets to a 7-6 comeback victory over the Rockies, giving him 25 game-winning RBIs this season, one more than current Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez’s franchise record of 24 in 1985.
The first-place Mets’ sixth walk-off win of the season also occurred on the night before they were set to honor their 60-year history with the organization’s first Old Timers’ Day in 27 years on Saturday — including Hernandez and other members of their most recent World Series championship in 1986 World Series.
Hernandez loves to use the expression “ribeye steaks” to describe RBIs, but No. 17 told The Post ahead of his jersey retirement on July 9 that he always wished the game-winner stat was redefined.
“The 24 game-winning RBIs, that stat, I could have driven in a run in the first inning and it’s a 10-0 game and I get the game-winning RBI,” Hernandez said last month. “I always felt like it should only be from the seventh inning on, or if it’s a one-run game or tied and it’s a really meaningful hit.”
Alonso entered Saturday night’s game against the Rockies tied with St. Louis triple-crown candidate Paul Goldschmidt for the National League lead in total RBIs with 105, four behind Yankees slugger Aaron Judge in the majors. But just three players have totaled more than his 25 game-winning RBIs in one season: Willie Mays (1962 with the Giants) and Joe Torre (1971 with the Cardinals) with 27 apiece and Jim Gentile (1961 with the Orioles) with 26.
“It’s a privilege to be put in those situations,” Alonso said. “I’m just trying to put the ball in play hard every single time I go up there.”
Buck Showalter’s team has made a habit this season of responding quickly after the opposing team takes a lead, as the Rockies did Friday night in a three-run inning against Mets starter Chris Bassitt and reliever Mychal Givens. But Mark Canha ripped a game-tying double in the bottom half of the inning to set up Alonso’s heroics in the ninth.
“Nothing needs to be said,” Canha said. “It’s just kind of looking around and going, ‘OK, it’s time to go to work here.’ … It’s kind of like our thing.”