It became official today, as C Mike Piazza officially announced his retirement. The Hall of Fame catcher had a memorable 16-year career. He spent time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins, New York Mets, San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics. He finished with a career average of .308, with 427 home runs and 1,335 RBIs.
In no doubt, Mike Piazza was a significant figure in my baseball life. I was only 10 years old in 1998 when the Mets made the greatest trade in their history bringing in the catcher. I was ecstatic as a young fan because I knew how good Mike Piazza was, he was one of the best. So having a stud come to my team was a great feeling and Piazza lived up to everything and more. I’ll never forget his first day coming to New York, as the image of that No. 31 on his back walking up the Mets dugout will always remain vivid in my mind.
Piazza had so many classic home runs for the Mets, it’d be hard for me to sit here and rank them all. Fact of the matter is, he was the greatest offensive Met ever. And I am honored to have been a fan growing up during that time.
I was at Shea Stadium the day he played his final game as a Met and then again the first day he returned as a member of the Padres. Each day, when watching the tribute videos the Mets provided, a tear came to my eyes.
I’ll try to do more on Piazza in the coming days, because he does indeed deserve a good
tribute, other than just a blurb regarding his retirement.
For now, I’ll leave with a nice quote provided by Piazza for the Mets fans.
“But I have to say that my time with the Mets wouldn’t have been the
same without the greatest fans in the world. One of the hardest moments
of my career, was walking off the field at Shea Stadium and saying
goodbye. My relationship with you made my time in New York the happiest
of my career and for that, I will always be grateful.”