I just read in today’s New York Times that if Mike Piazza were to be inducted into the Hall of Fame (he’s eligible in 2013), he would like to go in as a New York Met, rather than wearing the cap of his first team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Per the New York Times: “The bulk of my career was with the Mets,” he said, “and after going through the trade, then the drama of 9/11. I’ll never forget my Dodger days. But my time with the Mets is what I’ll remember most about my career.”
Really, Mike? What would your brother’s godfather, Tommy Lasorsda, say? After all, Lasorda helped convince the organization to draft you in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft.
Sure, the majority of Piazza’s 12 All-Star seasons were with the Mets, but in his seven years with the Dodgers, he did win the NL Rookie of the Year title in 1993, and once finished second in MVP voting. His career stats with the Dodgers included a .362 AVG, 40 home runs, 124 runs batted in, an on base percentage of .431 and a slugging percentage of .638.
But Piazza’s time in LA was about much more than numbers – it was about the relationship the young catcher had with the fans at Chavez Chavine. In 2008, Ken Gurnick interviewed former general manager Fred Claire about the significance of Piazza’s trade to the Florida Marlins in the seven player deal:
“The trade of Mike Piazza was devastating to the Dodgers on a couple of counts,” said Claire. “The Dodgers lost a great player who should have stayed with the organization forever. But also, the structure of the Dodgers got turned upside down, and that led to a number of other significant events, in my view.”
Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why Piazza wants to go in as a Met (both for what he was able to accomplish between the lines in New York and as a way to show the Dodgers what a mistake they made by trading him), but the sentimental part of me wants Mike to remember where he came from, who gave him his chance to play in the majors and how much he truly meant to the people of Los Angeles.
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP