Mike Piazza was a New York Mets legend. He was also my favorite Met as a kid and for thousands of other kids as well. There was no other player on the team like him and there hasn't been since.
One reason why Piazza was a fan favorite for the Mets was that he was the best player on the team. Even a 7-year old knew that. The way he hit the ball was different than any other player on the team. When I watched him play I knew I was watching a special player. He was the best offensive catcher of all time.
Why Mike Piazza is a Mets legend and fan favorite
He came through huge in big moments. One of my earliest baseball memories is when he hit a 3-run homer vs the Atlanta Braves to complete a 10-run inning and a 7-run comeback. The game was played on June 30, 2000, which would have made me 7 years old. The Mets were down 8-1 going into the bottom of the 8th before taking an 11-8 lead thanks to Piazza. I can still remember how excited I was when Mike rounded the bases pumping his fists. Braves/Mets was a huge rivalry in the late 90's and early 2000's. The Braves had our number throughout the Piazza era but this was one of the rare moments we got the better of them.
Another reason Piazza was a fan favorite was the cool factor he had. That signature follow through with the bat after he connected with a baseball resonated with me. I imagine tons of young Mets fans would try to copy it in Little League. The way he would always change his facial hair intrigued me. You never knew what kind of look he would have when you turned on the game.
I have a lot of fond memories as a child watching Piazza play. One of my favorite childhood memories is winning a Piazza plaque at an arcade. My family and I took a vacation to Lake George one summer and I begged them to help me win the Piazza plaque. We stayed at the arcade for hours until I had enough tickets to win it. I am sure many young Met fans had posters of Piazza on their bedroom wall.
Piazza is the reason I am a Met fan today. If I didn't get to see him as a kid and see how electric he was as a player I might be a Yankees fan right now. I am thankful that didn't happen. Being a Mets fan builds character. It teaches you to be loyal and that things do not come easy. When the Mets finally win the World Series the wait will be that much sweeter.