The NY Times has a good article today by Joe Brescia about Mike Piazza. Basically, Piazza says that he wants to go into the Hall of Fame with a Mets cap on. That’s great to hear and I was talking about this recently with a friend of mine. We were discussing whether he will go as a Dodger or a Met. I think it’s a foregone conclusion that he’s in the Hall in 2013, his first year of eligibility.
There have always been rumors about Piazza using steroids during his career. But nobody ever found anything in his locker like Mark McGwire. And he wasn’t linked to BALCO like Barry Bonds. So I don’t think the unfounded rumors will keep him out like it will McGwire and Bonds.
His career was one of the best in MLB history for catchers, especially his offense. If you look at the players most similar to him according to Baseball Reference, it’s a “who’s who” of catchers. Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, and Carlton Fisk are the top four. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The knock on Piazza has to be his defense. Remember those late 90’s and early 2000’s Marlins teams running wild on the bases? Piazza couldn’t stop Luis Castillo and Juan Pierre. They ran at will on Piazza. For his career, he caught 23% of runner stealing and he was much better with the Dodgers than the Mets.
You could also argue that he was more successful with the Dodgers from an awards perspective. He was a 6 time All-Star with both the Mets and Dodgers, even though he played 1.5 fewer years with the Dodgers and was the ’96 All-Star game MVP. He was also the ’93 Rookie of the Year and won 5 Silver Sluggers compared to 4 with the Mets.
It’s a tough call whether he should go in as a Met or Dodger. I’d be curious to hear what a Dodgers fan would think about that. What do you think? Comment below.