Rising Apple Hat Tip: Mike Piazza

By Rich Sparago

On September 29th, the Mets honored Mike Piazza at Citi Field, enshrining their former catcher in the team’s Hall of Fame. This came months after Piazza was denied entry to baseball’s Hall of Fame. Piazza’s time with the Mets was characterized by important home runs, bone-jarring collisons at home plate, and a couple of encounters with Roger Clemens. Piazza’s relationship with the Mets, and Mets fans, did not begin well. After being acquired from the Marlins in May of 1998, Piazza initially struggled, and heard it from the Mets’ faithful. He seemed to sulk, and many expected him not to return when he contract expired at the end of the year. But Piazza did re-sign with the Mets that winter, and went on to delight the faithful through the 2005 season.

Sep 29, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets former catcher Mike Piazza speaks during his induction into the Mets Hall of Fame prior to the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In his career with the Dodgers, Mets, Padres, and Athletics, Piazza put up some incredible statistics. But how does he stack up to some of the widely regarded top catchers of all time? Please take a look at the chart below.

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In looking at the numbers, it’s clear (especially if you like OPS) that Piazza may be the best hitting catcher of all time. How does he compare to some of the best offensive players to have spent time with the Mets?

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Piazza stands out in this crowd as well. When you consider that he compiled these offensive numbers primarily when being used as a catcher, his achievements are even more impressive.

Mike Piazza certainly deserved his day at Citi. He’s arguably the best hitter the team has ever had, and also had a flair for the dramatic. We’ll never forget his home run on September 21, 2001, or his home run off John Smoltz to tie game 6 of the 1999 NLCS. There had been talk that Piazza’s relationship with the Mets had cooled. Let’s hope that’s in the past. Mike Piazza has taken his place in the Mets’ Hall of Fame, a place that will allow fans to admire him for years to come. And that’s an honor he has earned.

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