Number 31 is remembered for one New York Mets player. No, it isn't John Franco. The southpaw is the best closer in Mets history, but he gave up the number for the player who ended up being the last Met to ever wear it.
The best player who's worn number 31 as a Met is Mike Piazza.
The superstar catcher was traded to the Mets in the 1998 season from the Marlins in exchange for Geoff Gentz, Preston Wilson, and Ed Yarnall. This wound up being one of the best trades the Mets have ever made.
Mike Piazza is the best Mets player to wear number 31
Mike Piazza completely turned around this Mets franchise. The last time they made the postseason was 1988 before Piazza arrived. Once he got to play a full season with the Mets in 1999, they were back in the playoffs. Piazza hit 40 home runs and drove in what was a franchise record 124 RBI. David Wright has since tied that mark, but no Met has surpassed 124. The 40 home runs were just one shy of Todd Hundley's record before Pete Alonso shattered it in 2019.
Piazza's 2000 season was even better, and his best in orange and blue. He slashed .324/.398/.614 with 38 home runs and 113 RBI. His 1.012 OPS set a single-season Mets record and his .614 slugging set a franchise record before Dom Smith broke it in the shortened 2020 season. He was an all-star, won a Silver Slugger, and finished third in the National League MVP balloting.
Although the Mets never won with Piazza, they did make a World Series appearance in 2000 and Piazza hit two home runs in the five-game defeat. Piazza had plenty of memorable home runs as well including the one to cap off the ten-run comeback and the one on 9/11.
Overall, he'd put up a very gaudy .296/.376/.542 slash line in his eight seasons as a Met with 220 home runs and 655 RBI. The home runs and RBI both rank third in Mets history. Piazza is also second in OPS, second in slugging, third in batting, and seventh in bWAR. He's towards the top in virtually every important offensive category.
Piazza is one of the best catchers ever. He was not a good defender behind the plate which is why some might not view him as the best ever, but I think it's pretty clear he's at least the best offensive catcher in MLB history. He's by far the best catcher in Mets history and one of the best players overall. His number is retired and for good reason. He dons a Mets cap in Cooperstown.