Earlier today, former Mets legend Mike Piazza was among the dozens of players named as first-time candidates for enshrinement to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Piazza is one of a number of players who might be making a trip to Cooperstown next July. Other notable first-timers on the ballot include Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling and a number of players who have the steroid cloud hanging above them, such as Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and a certain pitcher who was originally drafted by the Mets in 1981 but chose not to sign with the team.
I can go on and on about Piazza's unprecedented offensive numbers for a catcher, which should make him an easy first-ballot Hall of Famer. (Of course, that's assuming the voters don't lump him in with the steroid class.) But instead, I'd rather show you what made Piazza so great. Perhaps a video or five might stir up those memories.
In order, we have Mike Piazza's debut with the Mets in 1998, followed by his game-tying home run against the Braves in Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS. The third video is his healing home run against the same Braves in the first game at Shea Stadium after 9/11. Video No. 4 is Piazza's home run in 2004 that broke the all-time record for homers by a catcher, while the final video is of Piazza hitting his first two home runs as a visiting player in 2006, earning him a standing ovation from the Shea faithful.
I hope you enjoy all five videos. Although the Hall of Fame vote won't be announced until January 9, you know I'll be seeing you in Cooperstown on July 28. Just make sure to pack your No. 31 jerseys. You know you'll be wearing them...