New York Mets: What Mike Piazza meant to the Amazins
By Michael Calascione
Mike Piazza is one of the greatest players to ever wear a New York Mets jersey and not many can match the impact he has had the team.
The history of the New York Mets cannot be properly told without mentioning Mike Piazza. The Hall of Fame catcher played for the Mets for eight years beginning when he was traded in 1998 from the then Florida Marlins in a deal that the Mets would never regret.
By the time Piazza left New York following the 2005 season, he had left an impact on the franchise that few before him and since have been able to match. From breaking the record for most home runs by a catcher in baseball history to dodging broken bats thrown by Roger Clemens, Piazza has had a lot of memorable moments in a Mets uniform that led to him having an enormous impact on the franchise and the fanbase.
All of Piazza’s achievements and moments of glory aside, there is no moment that had more of an impact on Piazza’s legacy and the franchise in general than his post 9/11 home run nearly twenty years ago.
After baseball was suspended due to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 the city was reeling from the devastation that occurred. Baseball resumed ten days later, and the country desperately needed a distraction.
As we all know it did not take long for that distraction to kick in. In the eighth inning of the first game back the Metropolitans were down 2-1 with a runner on base and Mike Piazza coming to the plate.
With one swing the fans, city, and nation were uplifted and could rejoice as the ball traveled over the center-field fence. A once somber crowd erupted and became joyful for the first time in ten days.
Piazza, however, meant much more to the Mets than just memorable moments, he was an all-time great. In eight years with the team, he hit 220 home runs for third all-time in franchise history. He also had a .296/.373/.542/.915 slash line with the Mets driving in 655 runs.
He ended up as arguably the best offensive player the Mets have ever had, and he is treated as such by the team and the fans alike. From closing Shea Stadium with “The Franchise” Tom Seaver in 2008 to being the second Met to have their number retired by the team it was just the beginning.
Piazza is one of two Mets to be in the Hall of Fame donning the Mets cap and after re-naming Citi Field address in Flushing for their best player ever, Seaver, the team went down to Port St. Lucie, Florida and re-named that address for Piazza.
If you truly pay attention to the actions the franchise has taken regarding former players over the past several years Piazza is always front and center. The Mets clearly view him as a cornerstone of the franchise’s history and someday there will be a statue of Piazza in front of Citi Field to cement his legacy and impact on this team forever.
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No player besides Tom Seaver has had an impact on the team like Mike Piazza has and we may never see a player like him ever again.