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.
”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.