March 7, 2011

Mike Piazza, 2nd Greatest Met Ever?..Not in My Book..

My friend Ed (@lagranderusty) from "The Real Dirty Mets Blog" posted his story on Mike Piazza being the 2nd Greatest Met of All Time ( based on votes submitted to him). Quite simply , I disagree..

Mike Piazza was a key component in the Mets return to the fall classic in 2000, an historic figure in Mets and baseball lore justifiably based primarily on the indelible image of his game winning homer in the eighth inning of the Mets 3-2 victory over the first place Atlanta Braves on September 21, 2001, the first game played in New York City following the horrific tragic attacks of September 11. While it sounds like blaspheme to younger/newer Mets fans, Piazza is not a Top five All Time Mets player in my opinion

While there is little arguing that Mike’s four year run with Mets during which he was arguably the best catcher in the National League and possibly all of Major League baseball from 1999 through 2002. The final three seasons he spent with the Metropolitans were pedestrian at best. His final 2 All Star selections could easily be described as New York volume of votes and based on reputation or lack of competition at catcher. (Paul LoDuca, Johnny Estrada). The fiasco over him playing some first base in addition to the deterioration of his knees obviously also contributed to his rather dramatic drop off in production or maybe it could have been…Not going to go there...

Sorry Mets fans, but from the day Piazza pulled on the royal blue cap with the orange NY after his weekend stay in Florida, I never really, truly acknowledged him as a Met.

I realize that this may be a narrow minded opinion but I look at the entirety of the Mets franchise history and honestly believe Mike’s body of work as a Met is not worthy of the historically impactful royalty reserved for Seaver, Koosman, Doc, Darryl, Hernandez or even the newbies like Wright and Reyes.

The fact that Piazza’s per game, per AB, per PA, OBP, OPS statistics and even his WAR numbers bear out the fact that he was a more productive player as a Dodger doesn’t preclude me from appreciating and respecting the contributions he made as a Met.

Unfortunately for me, the ever replayed bat throwing incident with Roger Clemens in Game 2 of the 2000 Subway Series conjures up thoughts of my Mets losing in the spotlight once again.

Mike Piazza, from his “It’s who you know, not how well you play” beginnings to completing a never imagined sure bet 1st ballot Hall of Fame career is one the greatest “feel good” stories in the history of Major League Baseball. I’m glad he was part of our glorious franchise for a part of that career, but I’ll always think of Mike Piazza as a Los Angeles Dodger and a player who produced magnificently in a players’ era of questionable scientific practices. No evidence, no foul. Kirk Radomski and history may or may not have something to say about that in the future. For now, thanks to Mike Piazza for being a key figure in at least 2 forever memorable moments in New York Mets history and a place in the Top Ten Mets of all time, In my humble opinion.

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