Mets Merized Online » Mike Piazza http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:57:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 MMO Original: The All-Time Mets Seasons Team http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-original-the-all-time-mets-seasons-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-original-the-all-time-mets-seasons-team.html/#comments Thu, 24 Nov 2016 14:00:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225342 mlb_g_reyes_wright1x_600

Just about everyone and their mother has done a piece on what the Mets’ all-time team would look like, and they all look pretty much the same.

However, when you adjust this all-time team to include the best season at every position, it looks a little bit different– and the numbers are even more impressive. Between decades of losing seasons, the Mets have actually had several fantastic individual seasons that have set both franchise and league records. So with that being said, here’s the All-Time Mets Seasons Team:

Catcher: Mike Piazza, 2000

Piazza was at the apex of his career in 2000, and put up numbers that few catchers– or any batter, for that matter– will ever put up. He batted .324/.398/.614 with 38 home runs, 113 RBIs and a 1.012 OPS. That 1.012 OPS was the third-highest ever by a catcher, and it helped bring the Mets to their fourth World Series in team history. Piazza’s 1999 season, in which he set a club record with 124 RBIs while blasting 40 home runs, could also have easily been swapped into this spot.

First Base: John Olerud, 1998

He was the guy who wore the helmet in the field. Remember him?

Olerud only played on the Mets for three seasons, but definitely made his presence felt while he was in Flushing. In 1998, he batted .354/.447/.551 with 22 home runs and 93 RBIs, giving him the highest single-season batting average in Mets history. His fWAR of 8.1 is 2.3 wins higher than any other first baseman’s season in Mets history as well, making this season a clear choice.

edgardo alfonzo

Second Base: Edgardo Alfonzo, 2000

Another pivotal part of what Sports Illustrated dubbed “The Best Infield Ever,” Alfonzo batted .324/.425/.542 with 25 home runs and 94 RBIs in 2000. Those aren’t numbers you often see a second baseman put up. Fonzie’s average, on-base percentage and fWAR from this season are all franchise records for second basemen, and his slugging percentage, home runs and RBI marks are all second.

Shortstop: Jose Reyes, 2006

Reyes did it all in ’06. He batted .300/.354/.487 as the team’s leadoff hitter, and led the league in triples with 17 and stolen bases with 64. That alone would qualify as an all-time great season, but Reyes also hit a career-high 19 home runs to go along with 81 RBIs. This was a Rickey Henderson-esque statline that may never again be seen in Mets history.

Third Base: David Wright, 2007

There are several Wright seasons that could take this spot, but 2007 takes it for a couple of reasons. First, Wright set a franchise record for all position players with an 8.4 fWAR. Second, his .325 batting average, .416 on-base percentage, .546 slugging percentage and .963 OPS were all career highs. He also became the third player in Mets history to join the 30-30 club, as he hit 30 home runs and stole 34 bases.

It’s unlikely Mets fans will ever see Wright play like this again– if he ever does play again. But it’s fun to look back on how truly dominant he was in his heyday.

Outfield: Carlos Beltran, 2006

The only thing a lot of people might remember about Carlos Beltran in 2006 is him staring blankly at Adam Wainwright‘s curveball. That’s definitely a shame, because Beltran’s 2006 was one of the best seasons of any offensive player in Mets history.

Beltran batted .275/.388/.594, tied a franchise record with 41 home runs, drove in 116 runs and stole 18 bases to go along with all of that. Oh, and he also won a Gold Glove in center field. Beltran was easily the best player on the Mets in 2006.

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Outfield: Yoenis Cespedes, 2015

Maybe Cespedes shouldn’t even be on this list since he only was a Met for two months in 2015. But it’s hard to argue that any offensive player in Mets history had more of an impact in one season than Cespedes did in 2015– even if it was just for two months. The team was 38-22 after the Cespedes trade; it was just 52-50 before the trade.

Cespedes batted .287/.337/.604 with 17 home runs and 44 RBIs in 57 games after the trade, with the .604 slugging percentage being the third highest in Mets history. He was on a 162 game-pace for 49 home runs and 126 RBIs, which both would have been franchise records. The Mets probably could not have made the playoffs in either of the last two years without “Yo,” and might not make them anytime soon if they don’t re-sign him.

Outfield: Darryl Strawberry, 1988

“Straw” was one of the brightest stars in baseball in the 80s, and 1988 may very well have been his brightest season. He led the league in home runs (39), slugging percentage (.545), OPS (.911) and OPS+ (165) all while stealing 29 bases and getting on base at a .366 clip. He finished second in MVP voting to Kirk Gibson that year, despite Strawberry out-homering and out-slugging him despite having a comparable on-base percentage. This definitely provided a bit of foreshadowing for that October, when the Dodgers shockingly beat the Mets in the NLCS.

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Starting pitcher #1: Dwight Gooden, 1985

Gooden’s 1985 season is easily one of the five best in the liveball era. His stats are so amazing that they don’t even need to be put into words. So I’m just going to leave them alone so that you can bask in their greatness:

24-4 record, 1.53 ERA, 16 complete games, eight shutouts, 268 strikeouts in 276.2 innings, .0965 WHIP, 229 ERA+. These numbers need no context or qualification. They’re amazing.

Perhaps the most impressive of those stats is the 229 ERA+. For those of you that aren’t up on your Bill James, 100 is always the league-average ERA+. So that means Gooden was 129 percent better than the league-average pitcher in 1985. That’s almost unfathomable.

If the “All-Time Mets Seasons Team” were compiled again in 100 years, most of the guys on this list would probably be replaced by a new century of Mets baseball. But it’s safe to say that Gooden will still be on here.

Starting pitcher #1A: Tom Seaver, 1971

Can’t have an all-time Mets list without Tom Seaver. Just can’t do it.

You could pretty much put any of Seaver’s seasons from his first stint with the Mets on here, but 1971 definitely stands out as the best– despite the fact that he didn’t win a Cy Young this year. He went 20-10 with a career-best 1.76 ERA, a career-high 289 strikeouts and a 194 ERA+. Seaver is bar none the best player in Mets history, and this is bar-none his best season.

Closer: Jeurys Familia, 2016: 

The last month-and-a-half of Familia’s life has turned what was once a good reputation upside down. For much of this season though, Familia was as good a closer as the Mets ever had.

Familia set a Mets record with 51 saves, and held a 2.55 ERA and 161 ERA+. He also had the second-longest streak of consecutive saves in baseball history this year, which was snapped in July at 52.

His season, kind of like Beltran’s 2006, will be remembered for its worst moment that manifested on the highest stage: The three-run home run he allowed to Gillaspie. But he was fantastic for just about all of the regular season– especially considering the Mets’ weak history in the bullpen.

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Mets One Road Homer Away From Tying Franchise Record http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-one-road-homer-away-from-tying-franchise-record.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/09/mets-one-road-homer-away-from-tying-franchise-record.html/#comments Thu, 29 Sep 2016 15:00:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=223984 Sign man

The New York Mets entered Wednesday night’s game against the Miami Marlins third in the National League in road home runs with 102, behind only the St. Louis Cardinals (121) and the Chicago Cubs (103).

With two, two-run homers by James Loney and Jay Bruce in last night’s 5-2 win, the Mets are closing in on a franchise record for road home runs at 105, set in their N.L. pennant winning season back in 2000. They now sit at 104 before the start of their final three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies, who they’re playing on the road at Citizens Bank Park. The stadium is widely known to be a hitter’s haven, and according to ESPN Home Run Tracker, they average 2.51 home runs per game, good for the fourth highest mark in the National League this season.

The Mets have already shattered their previous franchise high in regular season homers, currently at 216, second in the N.L. behind only the Cardinals (218). Their previous record was an even 200, set in 2006. Power and home runs have remained a huge theme for this 2016 Mets squad, something they’ve lived and died by when it comes to scoring runs this season.

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The current leaders in road home runs for the Mets this season are Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson (17), Neil Walker (13), James Loney (6), and four tied with five homers each (Cabrera, Conforto, Johnson, and Wright).

Rewind to 2000, when the Mets’ road leaders in homers featured players we’d be watching at an Old Timer’s Day event at Citi Field today (make it happen Mets!). The top five that season were Mike Piazza (21), Todd Zeile (14), Edgardo Alfonzo (12), Robin Ventura (12), and Derek Bell (10).

Last night’s starter, Jose Urena, had only given up one home run to a Mets player this season in 44 at-bats, a solo shot off the bat of Jay Bruce in the Mets 6-4 loss at home on September 1 against the Marlins. Entering the game last night, Urena had given up a total of nine homers in 78.2 innings while pitching in relief for the first half of the Marlins’ season, and then moving to the starting rotation in July. Urena also made 12 starts for Triple A New Orleans, surrendering four homers in 48.1 innings pitched. Urena held the Mets hitters to a .552 OPS coming into last night’s start.

But the Mets changed the narrative against Urena Wednesday night, as Loney took him deep in the second inning, a two-run shot to right that tied the score at two. Bruce followed with a two-run shot of his own in the fifth, giving the Mets a 5-2 lead which they held on to. It was Bruce’s first back-to-back home run games since July 26-27 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, when they were visiting the San Francisco Giants.

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Thanks for the Memories, Mike http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/thanks-for-the-memories-mike-piazza.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/thanks-for-the-memories-mike-piazza.html/#comments Fri, 29 Jul 2016 16:58:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=218846 Mets' Mike Piazza hits 8th inning homerun to lead Mets past

Mike Piazza’s legendary career had some speed bumps along the way, yet through sheer determination, work, people who believed in him, and his skill set catapulted a player who was drafted in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft to the pinnacle of being enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY this past weekend.  Let’s take a look at some facts that will amaze the reader on how Mike Piazza overcame obstacles to get to the apex.

It’s no secret that Tommy Lasorda begged and pleaded with Dodgers’ management to draft Piazza, and it took until the 62nd round for them to listen.  Lasorda also made the call to change Piazza’s position from first base to catcher, and unknown to Dodger management, he also sent Piazza down to the development camp in the Dominican Republic for three months to learn his new position. Dodger third baseman Eric Karros (drafted in the sixth round in 1988) indicated that Piazza went above and beyond to become a catcher and work diligently to get to the big leagues.

In a contract dispute with the Dodgers in 1998, he was traded to the Florida Marlins in a six player swap. Piazza only played five games with the Marlins, and as luck would have it, he was shipped off to the Big Apple to play where he would spend seven unforgettable years playing for the boys of Queens.  Being in the spotlight, Piazza became the leader and soul of the New York Mets, and that is how he enters the Hall, a Met.

Piazza hit 220 home runs during his eight year stint with the Mets, where he ranks third behind Darryl Strawberry and David Wright. He also had 655 RBI’s with a .298 batting average. His most memorable moment occurred just after the tragedy of 9/11 when he drilled the first home run post 9/11 in New York off of Atlanta’s Steve Karsay to lift the Mets’ to victory on a storied and emotional night.

Piazza would play in New York until the end of the 2005 season, leading the Mets to a World Series appearance against their cross town rival in 2000. Unfortunately they were defeated in five games in “The Subway Series”. He ended his playing days back on the West Coast with San Diego and then Oakland, retiring in 2007 after playing 16 years.

Piazza ranks 21st all time with 1,630 games behind the plate. Ivan Rodriguez is top at an amazing 2,427 games. He is a 12 time All Star and ranks fourth in appearances behind Yogi Berra (15), Johnny Bench (14), and Rodriguez (14). His 396 home runs as  a catcher ranks first in that category with nine seasons hitting 30 or more home runs which more than doubles any other catcher.

This past weekend, Piazza, along with Ken Griffey Jr. were enshrined at Cooperstown, where Piazza thanked Mets fans for their support and will have his number 31 retired this weekend at Citi Field when the Mets host the Colorado Rockies in a three game set. He is the 312th player to have his career forever preserved in Cooperstown and well deserved.

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Mets Will Wear Special Mike Piazza Hats This Weekend http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/mets-will-wear-special-mike-piazza-hats-this-weekend.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/mets-will-wear-special-mike-piazza-hats-this-weekend.html/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2016 17:08:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=218747 piazzahat

As a part of all the festivities this weekend when the New York Mets will commemorate the Hall of Fame career of legendary catcher Mike Piazza, the players will all wear these special hats that feature an exclusive Mike Piazza Patch.

If you’d like to get yourself one of these special edition Mets hats, they will only be for sale exclusively at Citi Field.

In addition to a special pregame ceremony to retire Mike Piazza’s #31 uniform number on Saturday, July 30, the Mets will also giveaway a Mike Piazza replica jersey to all fans in attendance on Friday night, and a Mike Piazza bobblehead to the first 15,000 fans in attendance on Sunday.

Piazza joins Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver (41; retired in 1988); Manager’s Gil Hodges (14; retired in 1973) and Casey Stengel (37; retired in 1965) as the only uniformed Mets whose numbers have been retired. 

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Topps Now: Win A Free Exclusive Mike Piazza HOF Card http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/topps-now-win-a-free-exclusive-mike-piazza-hof-card.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/topps-now-win-a-free-exclusive-mike-piazza-hof-card.html/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 18:22:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=218610 mike piazza

MIKE PIAZZA ENTERS THE HALL OF FAME – TOPPS NOW

Topps Trading Cards is honoring Mike Piazza with an exclusive Topps Now baseball card featuring his enshrinement to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

ARTBB-16C2S-16TN-0282-2

This exclusive card is only available for 24 hours and can be purchased up until the deadline on Tuesday at 1:30 PM.

PURCHASE YOUR EXCLUSIVE MIKE PIAZZA CARD HERE!

The Topps trading card company has introduced the TOPPS NOW series of physical, tangible baseball cards, to depict the greatest moments and milestones from the 2016 Major League Baseball season almost as soon as they happen. The cards will be available the very next day to purchase through Topps.com, but for just 24 hours, and will never be available for purchase again.

WIN A FREE TOPPS NOW MIKE PIAZZA CARD!

Do you follow Metsmerized on Twitter? Re-tweet this article and you could win a FREE Topps Now Mike Piazza card for yourself. One winner will be randomly chosen from among Metsmerized Followers who re-tweets this article on Twitter.

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Talkin’ Mets: Mike Piazza and the Hall of Fame, Special Guest Sal Licata Weighs In http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/talkin-mets-mike-piazza-and-the-hall-of-fame-special-guest-sal-licata-weighs-in.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/talkin-mets-mike-piazza-and-the-hall-of-fame-special-guest-sal-licata-weighs-in.html/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 01:55:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=218534 mike piazza hof

Tonight I share my memories of Mike Piazza and talk about how game-changing his arrival was for a generation of Mets fans. Hear highlights from Piazza’s career and clips of his emotional speech from earlier today.

I also talk about the critical upcoming homestand, how Jose Reyes has been invaluable to the Mets lineup and whether James Loney should be benched when Lucas Duda returns.

Sal Licata of WOR and SNY joins me  to share his memories of Piazza and talk about the current state of the Mets.

Sal believes Terry Collins needs to play Michael Conforto more and, despite their struggles, expects the Mets to make the playoffs.

 

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Mike Piazza 9/11 Jersey Rescued By Three Mets Fans http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mike-piazza-911-jersey-rescued-by-three-mets-fans.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/04/mike-piazza-911-jersey-rescued-by-three-mets-fans.html/#comments Thu, 14 Apr 2016 19:45:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=208763 piazza1

Great news on the 9/11 Mike Piazza jersey flap. Thanks to the efforts of three huge Mets fans, the jersey will soon be back in New York where it belongs.

According to Kevin Kernan of the NY Post, Anthony Scaramucci, Tony Lauto and an anonymous third business partner, came to an agreement in principle Thursday to buy the jersey for approximately $355,000, making it the most expensive modern-day jersey.

The three of them told The Post that they worked hard to set up the deal so the jersey can spend time at Citi Field, as well as the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

“We had too many friends die in those buildings to let that jersey go anywhere else,” Scaramucci said. “Tony and I wanted to make sure that jersey stays in New York. We talked to Mike, he’s happy. We talked to Mike’s father, Vince, he’s happy.”

Kernan adds that the Mets made no attempt to buy back the jersey, after selling it for a small profit three years ago.

Not for nothing, but the Wilpons need to do something for these three generous fans. And I’m not talking about inviting them to visit a batting practice and meeting Mr. Met.

It’s great to have a happy ending to this. That jersey meant so much to Met fans and New York City, but also many veterans, active duty military and first responders.

April 5

According to a report by Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, Mike Piazza is “very disappointed” after learning the jersey he wore when hitting his epic home run on Sept. 21, 2001, is being sold in an online auction that began on Monday.

Piazza, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer, expressed his feelings to Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, telling him that the jersey never should have left Citi Field.

“They have assured me that contact with the seller has been made and they are making a concerted effort to get the jersey back,” Piazza said. “I’m hopeful that an agreement can be reached and we can give back to the fans and all New Yorkers a piece of that evening that was more than just a game.”

A Mets spokesperson issued the following statement to the Post:

“We made a mistake in selling the jersey and Jeff called Mike to express our regret in so doing,’’ the spokesperson said. “We have dedicated a section in the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum to celebrate Mike’s achievements and his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and are exploring memorabilia to display in that area.”

The iconic jersey could become the most valuable in memorabilia history, and Piazza is furious the Mets let it go. He says that the jersey belonged to the fans and to the people and to New York.

Original Report – April 1

Mets fans will always remember the game against the Atlanta Braves on September 21, 2001. It was the first home game in New York since the horrific terrorist attacks on September 11th, and was a game that gave New Yorkers something to cheer about, even for just one night.

With the Mets trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Edgardo Alfonzo drew a one-out walk against set-up man Steve Karsay. Alfonzo was lifted for a pinch runner, Desi Relaford, who was the tying run. A mistake by Karsay, for now he had to face the fiercest hitter in the Mets lineup, Mike Piazza.

Piazza took the first pitch, a 97 mile-per-hour fastball on the outside part of the plate for strike one. Karsay knew the scouting report on Piazza was to keep the ball away, hoping to keep Piazza from turning on a pitch and pulling it to leftfield.

Catcher Javy Lopez was calling for the pitch to be away, setting up well to the right of the right-handed Piazza. Karsay threw his second pitch, which got just enough of the plate for Piazza to drive to centerfield for a go-ahead two-run home run.

Shea Stadium went nuts, fans jumping up and down, hugging each other, chanting “U.S.A”. The home run offered a temporary relief to those in attendance, allowing fans to embrace the moment. The Mets would go on to win that game 3-2, sending fans home smiling and excited, during the toughest of times.

The very jersey Piazza wore to put the Mets ahead in the eighth is being auctioned off in April by Goldin Auctions. Starting Monday April 3, fans will have a chance to bid online for the iconic piece of memorabilia. The auction concludes on April 30 with a live event in New York.

The white home jersey has an American flag on the back collar, “9-11-01” stitched on the right sleeve, and is signed by the newly elected Hall of Famer.

Piazza spoke about the home run and what it meant to him in January, one day after he got the call to the Hall of Fame.

“It’s tough because I get emotional thinking back at that week,” Piazza said. “I mean, anybody knows who was there, it’s something you can’t define. It changed all of our lives, not at a baseball level, but personally for me. I mean, it really put my life in perspective and focused what the important things in life are, and that’s family and friends and relationships.”

Ken Goldin, founder and president of Goldin Auctions based in New Jersey, says that his cosigner bought the jersey from the Mets in a private auction held about three years ago. I find it odd that the Mets would sell off a piece of memorabilia that has so much meaning behind it. That moment brought fans back to baseball, allowing those who might have been afraid to laugh and enjoy themselves during a time where the nation was seemingly on high alert each day, to celebrate and enjoy the come from behind victory.

The other piece to the story is who owned the jersey before the cosigner? The cosigner bought this jersey from a private sale with the Mets three years ago, so someone had it in their possession for over ten years. Goldin suspects that the original owner of the Piazza jersey was none other than Charlie Samuels, the longtime Mets clubhouse attendant who pleaded guilty in 2012 to tax fraud and possession of stolen property. It was also reported that Samuels had taken an estimated $2.3 million in Mets memorabilia during his 27-year career with the Amazins.

charlie samuels

Goldin Auctions is hoping to set a record sale for a Mets game worn jersey, which is currently held by a 1970 Nolan Ryan jersey, which sold for $53,758 back in 2008.

I believe that this jersey should be displayed at Citi Field or in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The jersey is from an iconic moment not just for New York baseball, but all of the Major Leagues. Some fans feel that Piazza’s home run is a symbol of strength and unity, at a time where Americans needed to feel that after the devastating loss that was felt just ten days earlier.

The New York Daily News spoke with Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson, who feels that Piazza’s jersey should be hanging in the museum, as an artifact that will be able to retell the story of what happened during the turbulent time in our history.

“We would have loved to see Piazza’s jersey in Cooperstown,” Idelson said. “Once the games resumed after 9/11, we tried to figure out how to best tell the story of 9/11. Mike Piazza’s (game-winning) home run was a big part of that night. We think we have artifacts and items that reflect the story so that people who come 50 years, 100 years from now will have an understanding.”

While the Hall does have pieces of equipment from that night including a FDNY hat worn by John Franco, and a NYPD hat worn by then manager Bobby Valentine. However, Piazza’s home run is the lasting image in many fans minds, and having something personal of his to showcase at the museum, and in a year where Piazza finally got the call to Cooperstown, would’ve been an ideal situation.

One can only hope that the person that purchases the jersey in the April auction will donate the jersey to showcase either at Citi Field or in the Hall of Fame, so it can serve its true purpose, being a part of Met history and an item of remembrance for Major League Baseball and our country.

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Piazza Readies For Hall Of Fame Induction http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/piazza-readies-for-hall-of-fame-induction.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/piazza-readies-for-hall-of-fame-induction.html/#comments Thu, 10 Mar 2016 12:00:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=207509 mike piazza usatsi

New York Mets legend, Mike Piazza will be inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame on July 24th of this year. Ahead of that date, Piazza recently went to tour the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and spoke about his feelings on being elected with John Kelkis of Fox Sports.

”It’s a little overwhelming,” Piazza said. ”You kind of feel like the race is over. It all starts to hit home. It’s your career and many people have touched it. It’s pretty crazy to think about.”

For Mike, it was on the fourth try that he would finally get in and deservedly so. It was a moment many Mets fans had been waiting for, as to many of them Piazza is the best hitting catcher of all time.

”It’s incredibly powerful. This whole year for me has been so euphoric. It’s such an honor,” said Piazza. ”When you come here and you see the history here, the players that you played against and with, it all sort of trickles back. It’s a powerful experience. The game has given me everything that I have.”

Piazza, when inducted on that hot summer day in July, will proudly enter the hall wearing a New York Mets ball cap. When he arrived in New York it was the start of something big, an exciting turnaround for a franchise that needed it desperately.

mike piazza

”Getting to New York in 1998 was one of the greatest blessings of my life, a challenge in my life and my career that I needed at that time,” Piazza said. ”When I first got there, it wasn’t the easiest introduction because I think there was a lot of trepidation – they didn’t know if I was going to stay and I was a free agent. But once I decided to become a Met and embrace the city, things changed for me for the better.”

Number 31 becomes the 17th catcher elected to the HOF. He brings with him some epic numbers: 396 home runs as a catcher, 427 overall. A lifetime .308/.377/.545 slash line, and 1,335 RBI. Mike, always had a knack for the bat since he was a kid.

”I just believed in myself. I knew I had a unique ability to hit,” said Piazza. ”When I finally found a home behind the plate, it allowed me to not only be in a premium position, but also utilize my hitting. That was obviously very important in my career.”

The Mets will retire Mike Piazza’s uniform No. 31 in a ceremony that will take place in Citi Field on Saturday, July 30.

Congratulations Mike, you earned it, and thank you for everything you have done for not just New York baseball, but the entire sport.

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Mets Players And Staff Host Clinic For St. Lucie Special Olympics http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/mets-players-and-staff-host-clinic-for-st-lucie-special-olympics.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/03/mets-players-and-staff-host-clinic-for-st-lucie-special-olympics.html/#comments Tue, 01 Mar 2016 16:48:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=207092 tmp3plVur

On Sunday, the New York Mets hosted a clinic for the St. Lucie Special Olympics at Tradition Field.

The feel of the event can be summed up with a quote from Special Olympics regional director Jeff Hancock, who said, “This is beyond amazing. The opportunities that our athletes in the Special Olympics have because of the New York Mets bringing this clinic in is unbelievable.”

“This is once-in-a-lifetime for anybody, let alone an athlete with the Special Olympics. I cannot say it enough: Thank you, New York Mets, for allowing us out here today.”

The group consisted of over 100 athletes, ranging from as young as four years old to adults. The clinic lasted longer than two hours, as over a dozen Mets players taught and played with the special Olympians.

When the athletes got to the stadium entrance, they were greeted by David Wright, Curtis Granderson, and Hall-of-Famer Mike Piazza. They all then went onto the field where the rest of the players were waiting to meet them.

Many players were there helping out giving the athletes the times of their lives, including the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom, Neil Walker, Buddy Carlyle, Wilmer Flores, Eric Campbell, and Brandon Nimmo.

MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo spoke to Granderson who said, “It’s every kid’s dream, and these kids are no different than anybody else. They all enjoy watching the game. They enjoy being out on the field and they enjoy playing. They get a chance to do all of that today, so it’s a great moment and experience. Hopefully we just get a chance to put smiles on their faces and bring some joy.”

Thor was speaking to the TC Palm’s Jon Santucci, and said, “It’s a great cause. This allows them to come out, participate with us and be part of the team. Just being able to hang out is great.” There are some more wonderful photos here at TC Palm.

“We take great pride in being an active member in the St. Lucie community during the spring training months and throughout the year,” Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said in a statement. “Our players and coaches have always been willing to give their time to local community and charitable efforts, including our players and coaches hosting Special Olympic athletes from all over the state.”

My brother has Down’s Syndrome so this is, to me, extra awesome. The Mets keep doing amazin’ things, being a fantastic organization both on and off the field. I am so very proud to be a Mets fan.

Follow me on Twitter @LBarer32! LET’S GO METS!

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Travis d’Arnaud Looking Forward To Working With Mike Piazza Again http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/travis-darnaud-looking-forward-to-working-with-mike-piazza-again.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/travis-darnaud-looking-forward-to-working-with-mike-piazza-again.html/#comments Sun, 28 Feb 2016 13:00:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=206944 travis darnaud

Former Mets catcher and newly inducted Hall of Famer Mike Piazza will arrive to New York Mets Spring Training camp on Sunday to serve as a guest instructor for a few days.

There may be no player more excited to see the former Mets All Star catcher than the current team catcher himself, Travis d’Arnaud.

“It’s a dream,” d’Arnaud said on Saturday. “I worked with him a couple of years ago, and I felt like I was floating on cloud nine.” (Jamal Collier, MLB.com)

D’Arnaud was born and raised in California and was a huge Piazza fan growing up. When the announcement came that Piazza was voted into the Hall of Fame back in January, d’Arnaud said that he was jumping up and down like a 5-year old kid.

Piazza will enter the Hall of Fame wearing a Mets hat and will also have his uniform No. 31 retired by the organization this summer.

This will be the second time d’Arnaud will work with Piazza, as the two spent some time together in 2014. Back then, Piazza gave the Mets rookie some sage advice.

“Go out there and stay loose and have fun,” Piazza told d’Arnaud. “Because you play best when you’re loose, not when you’re tight.”

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Mets To Retire Mike Piazza’s No. 31 This Summer At Citi Field http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mets-to-retire-mike-piazzas-no-31-this-summer-at-citi-field.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mets-to-retire-mike-piazzas-no-31-this-summer-at-citi-field.html/#comments Mon, 25 Jan 2016 18:08:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204932 mike piazza retire

The New York Mets today announced they will retire Mike Piazza’s #31 uniform number Saturday night, July 30 at 6:30 p.m. before the Mets host the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. Tickets are on sale now at Mets.com/Piazza or by calling (718) 507-TIXX.

The Mets will commemorate the Hall of Fame career of the legendary catcher throughout the weekend with special promotional giveaways on Friday, July 29 and Sunday, July 31 in addition to the pre-game on-field retirement ceremony on Saturday night.

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Mike Piazza Weekend:

· Friday, July 29 – 7:10 p.m. – Replica Jersey Giveaway

All fans in attendance will receive a Mike Piazza replica jersey

· Saturday, July 30 – 6:30 p.m. #31 Pre-Game On-Field Retirement Ceremony

· Sunday, July 31 – 1:10 p.m. Bobblehead

The first 15,000 fans in attendance will receive a Mike Piazza Bobblehead

“We are truly thrilled to honor Mike by retiring his number during a weekend-long celebration recognizing his incredible career,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. “His offensive prowess, ability to deliver in the clutch, and tireless work ethic helped him become one of the great catchers of all-time.”

“It is such a tremendous honor to have my number retired alongside the great Tom Seaver. My time as a Met was truly special and I want to thank Fred, Saul, Jeff and the entire organization for this incredible gesture.”

Piazza joins Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver (41; retired in 1988); Manager’s Gil Hodges (14; retired in 1973) and Casey Stengel (37; retired in 1965) as the only uniformed Mets whose numbers have been retired.

Awesome! Is this shaping up to be a magical year for the Mets or what?!!

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Proving Piazza Didn’t Use Steroids http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/proving-piazza-didnt-use-steroids.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/proving-piazza-didnt-use-steroids.html/#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2016 16:00:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203839 mike piazza

There have been some irresponsible opinions that Mike Piazza‘s election to the Hall of Fame means it will pave the way for  known steroid users to be elected to the Hall of Fame. This premise contains one potential logic fallacy. It presupposes Piazza used steroids. Did he?

Let’s start with the case against him. There are no reports, investigations, or tests linking him to steroids. The case against him boils down to rumor, innuendo, and skin problems. We have no statements from teammates, clubhouse workers, or anyone else who may have any link to Piazza establishing he used steroids. So that makes me question how do you counteract rumors and innuendo?  Facts don’t work. Piazza’s denials haven’t worked.  Overall, the only way to combat rumors and innuendo is to present what people will actually say in public about a person.

Cliff Floyd was a teammate of Piazza from 2003 – 2005. Floyd is an analyst all over the place from MLB Radio, MLB Network, and SNY.  Here’s his opinion on steroid users and the Hall of Fame:

Floyd doesn’t want steroid users in the Hall of Fame. Here’s how he reacted when Mike Piazza was elected:

Floyd didn’t choose to ignore Piazza’s election. He didn’t condemn the choice. He celebrated Piazza’s induction. Floyd shared a clubhouse with Piazza for three years. If anyone would know he used steroids, it was Floyd. However, there were no accusations from him. Just congratulations. From this it is apparent that Cliff Floyd does not believe his former teammate used steroids.

I already know the rebuttal. Steroid testing  in baseball began in 2003. Of course Floyd saw nothing. This rebuttal doesn’t take into account that no teammate has ever spoken about Piazza using steroids. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been good enough thus far. To that, my next example is Al Leiter.

Like Floyd, Leiter is all over the place covering baseball. Leiter was Piazza’s teammate from 1998 – 2004. They played together a long time, and Leiter threw to Piazza more than any other catcher. Here was Leiter’s ballot on MLB Network:

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It should first be noted Leiter doesn’t actually have a ballot. The above photo from MLB Network shows how he would have voted if he had a vote.

Note, there’s no Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens on the ballot. Leiter didn’t vote for two people who have been linked to steroids use during their careers.  These are two people who would’ve been elected but for their steroid use.  Leiter didn’t vote for people who we know from various sources that used steroids. Yet, Leiter voted for Piazza. Other than Piazza himself, who would know better than Leiter if Piazza used steroids?

If teammates like Leiter and Floyd don’t link Piazza to steroid use, how can anyone else?  If we’re going by word of mouth or rumor, shouldn’t we at least take into account the opinions of Piazza’s teammates?  These are people who have put their name out there and have separated Piazza from the group of known steroid users. They now are now members of the media and are staking their reputations if it ever came out that Piazza used steroids.  I find it hard to believe there is a massive Mets cover up afoot; a coverup which includes each and every player and former player.

Isn’t this substantive proof that Piazza DID NOT use steroids?  Isn’t this more than what has been presented by anyone as a factual basis to prove Piazza used steroids?  Why doesn’t anyone ever discuss this aspect of whether or not someone used steroids?  It seems the people saying Piazza used steroids are the ones that didn’t play the game. They weren’t the ones in the Mets locker room. Somehow, we’re supposed to believe they know more about Piazza than people who were with him every day from February to early October. It doesn’t add up.

Therefore, using the same “standard of proof” others have used, it is conclusive Piazza didn’t use steroids.

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Mike Piazza To Have Number Retired At Citi Field http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mike-piazza-to-have-number-retired-at-citi-field.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mike-piazza-to-have-number-retired-at-citi-field.html/#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2016 13:41:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203789 mike piazza retire

A quick update to yesterday’s big news… According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the Mets plan to retire Mike Piazza’s number this season in a ceremony at Citi Field.

Rubin says no official date has been set as of yet, but that the Mets are talking to Piazza’s people to confirm a date and to make concrete plans. That’s going to be a fun and exciting day!

Mike Piazza: I’m Going In As A New York Met

As all of you on MMO already know, we first reported that Hall of Famer Mike Piazza will be representing the New York Mets when he is officially enshrined at Cooperstown later this year.

On Thursday afternoon, Piazza and fellow nominee Ken Griffey Jr, were on hand for the Baseball Hall of Fame press conference in New York.

The president of the Hall of Fame Jeff Idelson got things started with some opening comments… He then turned to the the newest members of the Hall of Fame and asked them to stand…

And then an emotional Mike Piazza made it official saying, “As much as I loved coming up with the Dodgers and I’m truly grateful to them, I’m going in as a New York Met.”

“”It’s tough. For me, as much as I enjoyed my time there in Los Angeles, I ended up in New York. And I feel like the fans here truly brought me into their family. Every time I’ve come back I’ve been so incredibly honored from the response. Unfortunately we do have to choose one. And, for me, I always sort of enjoyed reconnecting here in New York.”

A Mets contingent that included owner Jeff Wilpon, GM Sandy Alderson and Assistant GM John Ricco were all on hand at the New York Athletic Club.

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“I think the Mets have such a unique fan base, not only in the city but across the country. It’s just something I can’t describe. It’s a mixture of love and frustration and ups and downs. The emotions are very strong.”

Kevin Kernan of the New York Post shared a quote from Mike Piazza’s dad Vince, who told him:

“I am so happy for Michael, what a story, what a great kid. … I can’t believe it. … The hell Michael went through, the criticisms he took, the way they ripped him. He took the high road and, God, it’s paid off. He’s just one hell of a kid. He’s finally getting the due he deserves, now they are talking about his abilities and what he’s accomplished.”

Congratulations Mike!

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Mike Piazza Will Be Inducted To Hall of Fame As A Met http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/breaking-news-mike-piazza-goes-into-cooperstown-as-a-met.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/breaking-news-mike-piazza-goes-into-cooperstown-as-a-met.html/#comments Thu, 07 Jan 2016 13:52:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203551 mike piazza

Great news! It looks like the Hall of Fame has let the cat out of the bag a bit too early, and that Mike Piazza will be wearing a New York Mets cap on his HOF Plaque in Cooperstown.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame website has just updated their page and listed Mike Piazza as a Met for his primary team as pointed out by our minor league analyst Michael Mayer. They also have his profile photo in a Mets uniform.

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How awesome is this… Congratulations to Mike Piazza and to the New York Mets!

Piazza now joins Tom Seaver as the only two Mets players to be enshrined at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

“I’m under strict orders to keep this confidential until Thursday,” Piazza said yesterday. ”I don’t want to break any rules… Obviously I have a special place in New York City with these fans. They’ve done nothing but embrace me and honor me, and so I’ll leave it at that.”

The official announcement should come later today, but this is official enough for us.

I’m so happy for Mike, who really wanted this and gets his wish to be immortalized wearing a Mets cap. It’s been an incredible 24 hours for him and all of us too. Good stuff!

Original Report – January 6

This year could finally be the year, Mike Piazza gets inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is currently at 86,0 percent of the 171 ballots from online by voters. It takes 75 percent to get into the Hall of Fame.

A total of 475 total ballots were sent to out to qualified BBWAA voters including MMO Senior Editor John Delcos who has always voted Piazza in. You can view John’s full ballot here.

If Piazza gets in, the question then is whether he gets in with a Mets or Dodgers hat. He spent his first seven seasons in Los Angeles and then eight seasons in New York. It’s also possible that he gets in with no logo at all.

“The museum staff works with each inductee by suggesting an appropriate logo option, or no logo at all,” Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson told ESPN on New Years Day. “For those whose most compelling contributions clearly took place with one team, a logo makes sense. For those whose careers were built significantly among multiple teams, not having a team logo is equally acceptable.”

Here’s a simple breakdown of Piazza’s career between the Dodgers and Mets as summarized by Aaron Gleeman:

Piazza played more games for the Mets (972) than he did for the Dodgers (726), but he was a better player in Los Angeles than he was in New York. He hit .331 with a .966 OPS and 33.6 Wins Above Replacement for the Dodgers, compared to .296 with a .915 OPS and 24.6 Wins Above Replacement for the Mets. And while Piazza’s lone World Series appearance came with the Mets, his Rookie of the Year award and pair of runner-up MVP finishes all came with the Dodgers.

And then there’s that post 9/11 home run, perhaps his most memorable and of course he did that as a Met.

Back in 2012, Piazza said that he wants a Mets hat on his head if he gets in, “It’s gotta be the Mets. no doubt about it.”

And as for how he’d feel about going in as a Dodger, a cutting remark from his own autobiography says it all.

“If the Hall came to me and said, ‘We want you to go in as a Dodger,’ I’d say, ‘Well, then I’ll go in as nothing,’” Piazza wrote. “I just wouldn’t feel comfortable with LA stamped on my head for all of eternity.”

Nobody knows how this will ultimately end up. But clearly Piazza has some very strong opinions on the matter, and hopefully Cooperstown will carefully consider what their newest member wants in his heart of hearts.

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Mike Piazza Humbled and Honored By Hall Of Fame Selection http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mike-piazza-humbled-and-honored-by-hall-of-fame-selection.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mike-piazza-humbled-and-honored-by-hall-of-fame-selection.html/#comments Thu, 07 Jan 2016 03:43:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203707 mike piazza black

So you just got home from a long day at the office and you missed all the excitement as Mike Piazza finally got elected to the Hall of Fame earlier this evening?  Well have no fear, we’ve got you covered.

The Baseball Writers Association of America punched Piazza’s ticket to Cooperstown after he received 83.0 percent of the vote in his fourth chance at Hall of Fame enshrinement. He will join Ken Griffey Jr. who set a new record with 99 percent of the vote.

One of the greatest offensive catchers of all time, Piazza set the MLB record of 396 home runs as a catcher while with the Mets. Over 16 seasons with the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres and A’s he finished with 427 homers, 1,335 RBI, and a .308 batting average.

A 12-time All-Star and 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner, he spent eight years with the Mets and helped take them to the postseason in 1999 and all the way to the World Series the following season.

Thanks to our friends at MLB Advanced Media, here is the complete phone interview with Mike Piazza, seconds after he was told the amazing news. It’s pretty awesome, so have a listen.

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HOF Tracker: Support For Mike Piazza Slips To 87.2 Percent http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/hof-tracker-support-for-mike-piazza-slips-to-87-2-percent.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/hof-tracker-support-for-mike-piazza-slips-to-87-2-percent.html/#comments Sun, 03 Jan 2016 18:39:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202977 mike piazza

I’m not feeling as confident about Mike Piazza getting into Cooperstown this year as I was five days ago. I still believe he’ll squeak in but this latest round of public balloting hasn’t been too kind to Mikey J.

40 more ballots have become public and when you have BBWAA voters like Jon Morosi and Jon Heyman leaving Piazza off but voting for Barry Bonds and Jeff Bagwell it really makes you wonder about their decision making process.

So with 141 ballots now accounted for, or about one-third of the overall electorate, Piazza has dipped below 90 percent and is now represented on 87.2 percent of the ballots according to the most recent update by Baseball HOF Tracker.

The 2016 Hall of Fame class will be announced Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network. Piazza needs a 75 percent showing for election.

December 29

Here’s the latest update from the Baseball HOF Tracker, as things continue to look very good for Mike Piazza who now appears on 102 of the 112 known public ballots.

With 25 percent of the vote in, Piazza is holding steady with healthy 91.1 percent of  BBWAA voters including him on their ballots. That far exceeds the threshold of 75 percent to gain election into the Hall of Fame.

After appearing on just 57.8 percent of ballots during his first year of eligibility, followed by 62.2 percent in 2013  and 69.9 percent last winter, it looks like the BBWAA is finally coming to their senses and will get Piazza enshrined at Cooperstown in 2016.

“I was a little disappointed, I can’t lie about that,” Piazza said after last year’s vote. “I can only say that there’s been a lot of great players throughout history that have had to wait their turn. Joe DiMaggio had three ballots. Yogi Berra had three ballots. And that’s part of the process.”

“For me, it’s not really my place, I feel, to start campaigning. I can only say that I’m proud of my work and I’m proud of my career. I’ll put my numbers against a lot of players in history, and I feel that’s all I can do.’’

Piazza remains one of the greatest offensive catchers of all time, setting the MLB record of 396 home runs as a catcher while with the Mets. Over 16 seasons with the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres and A’s he finished with 427 homers, 1,335 RBI, and a .308 batting average. He retired with a .922 OPS and .545 slugging percentage.

A 12-time All-Star and 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner, he spent eight years with the Mets and helped take them to the postseason in 1999 and all the way to the World Series the following season against the Yankees in 2000.

His Herculean blasts, intensity as a player, and unwavering charisma endeared him to Met and Dodger fans, but it was his uplifting and dramatic home run following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 that endeared him to a nation.

Mike has said he would go into the Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap, becoming the first position player ever to do so.

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Griffey, Piazza, Bagwell Headline My Official Hall of Fame Ballot http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/griffey-piazza-bagwell-headline-my-official-hall-of-fame-ballot.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/griffey-piazza-bagwell-headline-my-official-hall-of-fame-ballot.html/#comments Sat, 02 Jan 2016 03:15:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203390 griffey piazza

I had intended to publicize my Official Hall of Fame ballot before Christmas, but some health issues prevented me from proceeding as planned. So here it is, without further adieu, the nine players I submitted for the Class of 2016.

1. Ken Griffey Jr. – One of the greatest players of all time and a great ambassador for the game. Staggering offensive numbers despite missing four seasons worth of games due to injuries. If healthy, he would have broken Aaron’s HR mark cleanly.

2. Trevor Hoffman – An amazing 601 saves. Put Hoffman on all those great Yankee teams and they still win all those games. When he entered a game to “Hell’s Bells” it was a spectacle.

3. Mike Piazza – It’s sad that he wasn’t a first ballot guy because some colleagues bought into unfounded rumors and accusations. One of the game’s greatest offensive catchers along with Bench and Berra who almost always delivered in the clutch.

4. Jeff Bagwell – Another no-doubt Hall of Famer who like Piazza has been victimized by suspicion. One of the most dominating first basemen in his era and for a time one of the most feared sluggers in the National League.

5. Lee Smith – He was a personal favorite of mine. I still fail to understand the criticism of people who say he’s a compiler of stats. He was a dominant closer and nearly missed winning three Cy Young awards.

6. Mike Mussina – Very underrated pitcher who won 270 games despite only winning 20 games once – in his final season in 2008. Talk about going out on top. A .638 winning percentage and a career 1.191 WHIP to go with seven Gold Gloves.

7. Edgar Martinez – Some penalize him because he was a DH, but 500+ doubles, 300+ homers, 1,200_ walks, 1,200+ RBI and a career .312/.418/.515 slash should make him a no-brainer for inclusion.

8. Fred McGriff – Just shy of 500 home runs and over 1,500 RBI back when it was still a rare feat. Nine seasons of over 140 OPS+ production and a .917 OPS in postseason play.

9. Tim Raines – One of the best leadoff hitters of all time. The Rock retired with a .385 OBP, 808 stolen bases and 1,571 runs scored.

There you go, I look forward to your comments. Read more of my writing at New York Mets Report.

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Amazin’ Moments: Todd Zeile Goes Out With A Bang http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/amazin-moments-todd-zeile-goes-out-with-a-bang.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/09/amazin-moments-todd-zeile-goes-out-with-a-bang.html/#comments Thu, 24 Sep 2015 14:37:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=119466 Todd - Zeile

Following the defection of John Olerud to the Seattle Mariners as a free agent following the 1999 season, the Mets found themselves casting about for a first baseman. To the surprise of many, Steve Phillips announced the signing of Todd Zeile to fill the position.

Zeile had come to the majors as a catcher with the Cardinals and had subsequently been shifted to third where he had spent the bulk of his career. In the course of an 11-year sojourn through the big leagues, Zeile had followed his time in St. Louis with stints with the Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, and Rangers before landing in Flushing.

Although he had seen limited action at both first and the outfield from time to time, Todd had plied his trade primarily at the hot corner for the bulk of his big league tenure. Nevertheless, it was as the Mets’ newly-anointed first sacker that he now helped form the heart of a lineup that included Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura, a crew that would help carry the team to the World Series that year.

During the October showdown with the rival Yankees that year, Zeile was involved in one of the more teeth-gnashing moments in Mets history when his Game 1 shot to the edge of the lower left field deck in Yankee Stadium morphed from an apparent 2-run jack to a double by virtue of a hotly contested call by umpire Tim McClelland.

The truly maddening result of the play was the fate of base runner Timo Perez who, after taking the opportunity to showboat ahead of what he was sure would be a leisurely trot from second to home, was summarily thrown out trying to score as the ball was relayed in by Yankee left fielder David Justice. At that time, instant replay was still 8 years away, so despite protestations to the effect that the ball had been interfered with by a fan and thus prevented from landing in the stands, the ruling stood. The rest, as they say, is history.

Todd’s 2001 Met campaign was a down year as his offensive numbers fell off significantly and during the following winter he was traded to Colorado as part of a package in a 3-way deal that reunited the Mets with their one-time minor league slugging prodigy Jeromy Burnitz.

Zeile resumed his journeyman ways and after spending a season as a Rockie, moved on to stints with the Yanks and then the Expos the year after that before ending up back with Mets in 2004 for what he declared would be his final season in the bigs.

It would not be a particularly memorable final run as the Mets were in year 2 of the Art Howe era and would finish a disappointing fourth in the division. But Todd managed to reach some career milestones along the way, hitting his 250th career home run and reaching the 2,000 mark in career hits.

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When the last game of the year arrived, the Mets were set to play the Expos in what would be that team’s  final game as a franchise before moving on to Washington, D.C. the next season.

Todd thought it would be fitting to go out the way he came in and persuaded manager Howe to let him start the game behind the dish one last time.

The Mets were leading the soon-to-be-no-longer Montreal squad by a score of 4 to 1 when Zeile stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 6th with two on and none out, facing Expos pitcher Claudio Vargas.

After working the count to 3-1, Todd whacked the next pitch high over the left field fence. “I floated around the bases” he later reported, and described the experience as “surreal.” After catching the next two innings he was called back from the plate for a pinch hitter before his next at-bat to allow the fans to give him a sendoff ovation. The crowd of over 33,000 cheered appreciably and provided a fitting backdrop as Todd stepped from the field and moved on to the next phase of his life.

Todd has busied himself in a number of pursuits since the end of his playing days, most notably as a filmmaker and as a producer on Charlie Sheen’s latest network television series “Anger Management.” His baseball career, while perhaps not of Hall of Fame caliber, was nonetheless marked by some unusual and notable achievements such as his record of having homered with no fewer than 11 different major league teams. His parting shot with the Mets showed that he also knew how to go out with style.

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This Date in Mets History: Mike Piazza Becomes a Met http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/this-date-in-mets-history-mike-piazza-becomes-a-met.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/this-date-in-mets-history-mike-piazza-becomes-a-met.html/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 18:30:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=182278 New York Mets - 2003 Season File Photos

17 years ago today, Mike Piazza became a New York Met after the Florida Marlins swapped him for Preston Wilson, Geoff Goetz, and Ed Yarnell. Little did both General Managers know, this trade would create a New York icon.

I am a Mets fan of the millennium, so it was only natural that Mike Piazza became my first favorite player. Piazza was the reason I became a catcher in little league, and after watching him club 33 homeruns during the 2002 season, I proudly decided to pattern my own swing and batting stance after him as just a T-baller.

I also remember becoming livid when my friends would torment me on the elementary school playground by chanting “Mike Piazza stinks like a rotten pizza.” This obnoxious chant led to more than a few scraped knees and hurt feelings.

While I didn’t realize it then, the Mets acquisition of Mike Piazza truly signified a rebirth of baseball in Flushing. After the trainwreck that was the early 90’s (I’m glad I wasn’t alive then to witness it), Piazza brought the Mets back into the national spotlight.

His gargantuan blasts and unwavering charisma not only carried the team to the 2000 World Series but also consoled the city of New York following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Never before, and probably never again will we ever see both Met and Yankee fans cheer for a walkoff blast by the same team.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBMC1tA4CdM

There is little debate that Mike Piazza is an all time great, everything that he has done for New York City and the game of baseball speaks for itself. His lifetime .308 batting average and 427 career homeruns back many claims that he is the best offensive catcher in history and his leadership and competitiveness anchored the solid Mets teams of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. He was awesome to watch, even cooler to talk to, and there is no doubt in my mind that he deserves enshrinement in Cooperstown, with a Mets cap on his plaque.

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Yankees To Retire Pettitte, Bernie, Posada Numbers, Mets Still Nothing On Piazza http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/yankees-to-retire-pettitte-bernie-posada-numbers-mets-still-nothing-on-piazza.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/yankees-to-retire-pettitte-bernie-posada-numbers-mets-still-nothing-on-piazza.html/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 13:42:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174778 New York Mets - 2003 Season File Photos

With the news that the New York Yankees plan to retire the numbers of Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada later this season, Kevin Kernan of the NY Post says the Mets should retire the number of Mike Piazza to steal their thunder.

“The Yankees have legacy players and they are not afraid to promote that legacy, even if there is a PED past as in Pettitte’s case. The Mets, meanwhile, sit it out.”

“They ignore their past, even when it’s staring them right in the face. Sure, the Mets don’t have 27 titles, but Mets’ fans have heroes.”

“Mike Piazza should have his number 31 retired by the Mets in 2015. It should have been retired two years ago when Piazza was inducted into the Mets’ Hall of Fame.”

The Mets have only retired one player’s number in their 53 year history, and that is No. 41, Tom Seaver. Managers Casey Stengel (37) and Gil Hodges (14) have been retired as well and then you have Jackie Robinson’s 42 which is retired throughout baseball.

Kernan adds that retiring Piazza’s number this year would send a positive message to Hall of Fame voters for the greatest home run-hitting catcher of all time and that the Mets would be getting ahead of the curve.

Look, I’m all for retiring Mike Piazza’s number and wish the Mets would have done this years ago. I don’t care about some lame attempt to steal the Yankees’ thunder, do it because it is the right thing to do.

To this day, the Wilpons have had a huge problem when it comes to honoring the rich history of the Mets. Even some of the things they eventually did, like opening a Mets museum at Citi Field and giving the ballpark more of a Mets feel, came after a huge wave of outrage and backlash from the fans.

The Mets will eventually retire Piazza’s number I’m sure, but the problem is that like always it will come off looking like it’s too little too late and that they had to be dragged kicking and screaming before doing it.

By the way, I find it interesting that Pettitte will get his number retired and that Jerry Koosman is hardly even mentioned.

Pettitte – 256 W, 3.85 ERA, 521 GS, 26 CG, 3 SO, 2,448 K, 1.351 WHIP

Koosman – 222 W, 3.36 ERA, 527 GS, 140 CG, 33 SO, 2,556 K, 1.259 WHIP

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Steve Phillips Recollects Acquiring Mike Piazza http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/steve-phillips-recollects-acquiring-mike-piazza.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/steve-phillips-recollects-acquiring-mike-piazza.html/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 20:39:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174575 New York Mets - 2003 Season File Photos

Today former Mets General Manager Steve Phillips discussed his decision to acquire Mike Piazza in a blockbuster trade with the Florida Marlins on MLB Network Radio (Metsblog). He explained that the best trade is often the one that you don’t make.

“Back in 1997, 1998, we had a good little team with the Mets, but we knew we needed some star power,” he explained, telling a story from his time as GM of the Mets. “I remember sitting in the owner’s box with Mr. Doubleday and he would say, ‘Fans here love stars, they love super stars,’ and so did Mr. Doubleday. And he said, ‘If we get a super star, we’ll fill this stadium up like we did in the 80s, so I really want you to focus on getting that super-star, marquee player.’”

“We kicked the tires on Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield, and other guys that were out there,” Phillips said, speaking about his winter after the 1997 season. “But, it wasn’t until Mike Piazza came around (early in 1998) that we felt, after a bit of hesitation, let’s get him. And, it was the right move to make. In other words, we were better served having not gotten the other guys, even though we may have been able to put a deal together, because the right guy came along at the right time. So, there is a level of patience you have to balance with patience in order to move your franchise forward.”

Thoughts:

This was easily the best move of Phillips’ tenure as GM. Piazza performed like a true superstar, and he was arguably the greatest Mets hitter of all time. Phillips dealt three top 100 ranked prospects in order to bring Piazza to Queens, but Preston Wilson was the only one who achieved any success in the majors.

While the perception of Phillips’ time with the Mets is unfavorable, the one attribute I admire about him was his aggressiveness. He made a lot of bold moves, and he wasn’t afraid of making any mistakes. Even though his risky decisions to acquire veterans like Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar and Bobby Bonilla backfired severely,  his boldness also propelled the Mets to success during the late 90′s and early 2000′s. His acquisitions of key players such as Piazza, Al Leiter  Robin Ventura and Mike Hampton resulted into one of the most exciting and memorable eras in Mets history.

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