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Mike Piazza wants a Mets hat on his Hall of Fame plaque, but what about the Dodgers?

Jan 23, 2012, 11:51 AM EDT

Mike Piazza AP

Mike Piazza will make his first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot next year and the 12-time All-Star catcher wants to wear a Mets hat on his plaque.

Piazza was interviewed yesterday while at Madison Square Garden in New York for the Knicks-Nuggets game and replied “it’s gotta be the Mets, no question” when asked which team he’d like to represent in Cooperstown.

That’s not surprising, but it also may not matter because players don’t get to decide which hat they wear. That decision is made by the Hall of Fame and in Piazza’s case they have a tough call to make.

Piazza played more games for the Mets (972) than he did for the Dodgers (726), but he was a better player in Los Angeles than he was in New York. He hit .331 with a .966 OPS and 33.6 Wins Above Replacement for the Dodgers, compared to .296 with a .915 OPS and 24.6 Wins Above Replacement for the Mets. And while Piazza’s lone World Series appearance came with the Mets, his Rookie of the Year award and pair of runner-up MVP finishes all came with the Dodgers.

Piazza is about as close as a Hall of Famer can get to having his career split evenly between two teams and he also played briefly for the Padres, A’s, and Marlins. I’d lean toward the Dodgers because they drafted him, developed him, and were the team for which he debuted and emerged as a superstar, but Piazza clearly thinks of himself as a Met, played more games for the Mets, and was certainly a great player in New York even if he was better in Los Angeles.

And of course all this speculation assumes that the Hall of Fame voters will do the right thing and elect Piazza, which I suppose is no certainty at this point.

  1. okwhitefalcon - Jan 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Split the difference – Marlin.

    • natstowngreg - Jan 23, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      Yeah, he played for the Fish for 15 whole minutes, after all. Old Gator could present him at his induction ceremony.

      • 78mu - Jan 23, 2012 at 1:41 PM

        Gator might be one of the few fans in Miami that remember the glorious Piazza era. Everyone else can’t imagine the guy that hit .278 with no home runs for them is the same guy on the HoF ballot.

        The Dodger years are why he’s a HoF candidate. This is why the Hall doesn’t let the players choose whose cap they wear.

      • Old Gator - Jan 23, 2012 at 6:48 PM

        Yes, I remember….I remember it all now…. this is wonderful….he was like a lwa striding to the plate….

        How about if he goes in wearing a propeller beanie with the horrible new Feesh “M” in those gonorrhea discharge colors on it? I dunno – has anyone ever gone into the hall wearing a propeller beanie?

      • natstowngreg - Jan 23, 2012 at 7:04 PM

        Nope, but there is a first time for everything, isn’t there?

      • cogitobaseballergosum - Jan 23, 2012 at 10:32 PM

        Guys with nicknames like “Pee-Wee” and “Scooter” probably should’ve.

  2. dabendschein - Jan 23, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Yeah he was better as a Dodger but he still topped .900 OPS as a Met, so it is not like he was significantly worse there. He played longer in New York, appeared in a World Series, was part of the city when it was attacked on September 11. He considers himself a Met. The Dodgers dumped him when he was in his prime. He played longer with the Mets. Also his .915 OPS includes several of his older years where he was really starting to get washed up. His first 3 or 4 years are right up there with his key Dodger years. His defense, though never good, got better during his tenure with the Mets.

    • dodger88 - Jan 23, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      Agree completely. His numbers as a Met are close enough and even a die hard Dodger fan like myself thinks of him as Met first, Dodger second.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jan 23, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      The Dodgers didn’t dump. Fox made a cost cutting move, and ripped the heart out of the franchise with a rusty blade.

  3. missthedayswhenwedidnthavetologin - Jan 23, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Honest question, if Gary Sheffield gets into the HOF (Doubt he’ll make it on his first ballot, but never say never as far as the remaining 14), what cap does he wear?

    To me he is a tougher call than Piazza.

    • kopy - Jan 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      Marlins. He played there the longest, had his best season there, and won a World Series there. Dodgers are a close runner up though, and there is the typical popularity lean toward the Yankees.

      • kopy - Jan 23, 2012 at 12:17 PM

        Excerpt from an interview with the Sun-Sentinal I found after thinking about this more:

        On whether he would want a Marlins cap on his Hall of Fame plaque: “Absolutely. That’s the team I won a championship with. Most people since I played with the Yankees associate me with them, but before I got to the Yankees everybody knew me from my Marlin days. Every time they mentioned the Marlins they’d talk about me and what I’d done there, and so I’m always grateful for that. This is one of the teams that’s dear to me and it’s always going to be my first team.”

    • hep3 - Jan 23, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      Sheffield is a tougher call because NO team would want him representing them. He’s burned more bridges than anyone in MLB; although Manny is getting up there.

  4. l0yalr0yal - Jan 23, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    I’d rather see him in a viking helmet with articulate mustache work.

  5. scatterbrian - Jan 23, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    When giving career stats, one should never use batting average and WAR simultaneously.

    Incidentally, Piazza won an NL pennant with the Mets, so that might color his decision…

    • wlschneider09 - Jan 23, 2012 at 1:26 PM

      Why the hell not?

      • paperlions - Jan 23, 2012 at 2:06 PM

        Because one was developed, in part, because things like batting average are woefully inadequate to describe performance. It is like citing pitcher wins and xFIP in the same sentence.

      • scatterbrian - Jan 23, 2012 at 3:23 PM

        Thanks paper. Thumbs-downers: read this article explaining how batting average is a terrible measure of hitting.

        http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/BBM/1916/bbm165j.pdf

        Keep in mind it was written 96 years ago. Yes, ninety-six.

      • wlschneider09 - Jan 23, 2012 at 3:24 PM

        Again, why the hell not?

        Look, I like SABR statistics and understand the value, but the insistence that ONLY SABR stats are worth even mentioning is ludicrous. Batting average and pitching wins are just numbers, some people think they’re important, others don’t.

      • scatterbrian - Jan 23, 2012 at 3:45 PM

        The idea wasn’t to tout only sabermetric stats, it was to show that batting average is not important. If you think otherwise, then you do not understand the value of sabermetrics.

      • wlschneider09 - Jan 23, 2012 at 5:00 PM

        So if I don’t agree I must be invalid? Or stupid.

        The field of SABR has gotten to be a lot like the study of evolution. In the beginning, scientists who studied and espoused evolution were roundly mocked and derided. As time progressed, and more and more evidence was accumulated, the theory of evolution progressed into the mainstream, as it should have. But this was accompanied by an interesting shift in the mindset of evolutionists. As time progressed the evolutionists used the very same shaming techniques to put down anyone who questions any facet of evolutionary theory (“if you don’t agree with what I say, you don’t understand”). The end result becomes a science that has trappings of religion, where otherwise rational and very smart folks refuse to admit that any parts of evolutionary theory lack support, lest it be used as fodder to dismiss the entire theory.

        Similarly, those who subscribed to SABR in the early phases were the definite minority, and were derided by most (have we heard enough of the Mom’s basement jokes?). Heck, we still see it now. But you can see the acceptance growing, as the evidence becomes inescapable. And we see the same phenomenon, SABRmatricians who refuse to acknowledge anything except their chosen stats and refuse to acknowledge the shortcomings*. So now batting average has become “woefully inadequate”, and should not darken these posts. Is BA inadequate? Yes. Should we refuse to even let people utter the words? C’mon, it’s not the article used divine guidance as a criteria.

        This board is great, and part of the reason I love coming here is because of the intelligent discourse that includes a lot of SABR. But if we start to limit what we will include simply because it isn’t part of our favored paradigm, I think we’ve failed. I’m starting to see a lot more of it. Read any Ryan Howard thread. When Chris was tweaking people via the Jack Morris columns, he was ganged up on by the SABR crowd with all the zeal of an religious inquisition, even though he repeatedly said that he didn’t think Morris belonged in the hall. Anything he (or anyone else) coughed up as evidence was ridiculed.

        Bottom line, this is my plea for tolerance. If someone uses a stat you don’t approve of, don’t just dismiss them. Teach them what you think. Maybe you’ll both learn something.

        *Yes paper, I know this does not apply to you.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 23, 2012 at 5:27 PM

        WAR…what is it good for…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING….say it again….yeah WAR…what is it good for..ABSOLUTELY NOTHING…say it again……………lol.

        Jack Morris HOF ’13

  6. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 23, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Wouldn’t he be the first Met in the Hall of Fame? That alone is a solid reason to go in as one.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Jan 23, 2012 at 12:37 PM

      Tom Seaver is in as a Met. I think he’s the only one though.

      • Detroit Michael - Jan 23, 2012 at 12:47 PM

        Seaver is the only one with a Mets cap on his plaque. Nolan Ryan, Gary Carter and manager Casey Stengal are the only other Hall of Famer players to spend more than two seasons with the Mets.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 23, 2012 at 2:36 PM

        Wow, there’s my dunce comment of the day. Thanks for reminding me. I don’t know why I thought Seaver wasn’t in as a Met.

        Still, Piazza made a lot of fame as a Met; either team makes sense to me. Though really, his most amazing year came as an A. ;)

  7. unlost1 - Jan 23, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    either start putting situations like this up for secret bid or just allow more than one hat

  8. grizz2202 - Jan 23, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Even in light of the Wade Boggs scandal, it’s ridiculous that the player can’t choose anymore. It’s his career, he should be able to pick.

  9. Francisco (FC) - Jan 23, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    What if they did something like two-face. Half the face is LA Hat and the other half a Mets hat?

  10. sdelmonte - Jan 23, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    The public probably thinks of him as a Met, and that should matter.

    It shouldn’t matter that there are lots of Dodgers in the hall and just one Met, but my blue and orange bleeding heart wants to think that way.

  11. Roger Moore - Jan 23, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    This isn’t about where he played his best or most important baseball. This is about him still resenting the way the Dodgers treated him when he was trying to negotiate a contract and avoid free agency in 1998. The Dodgers didn’t want to pay him what he was worth and got their lackeys in the press to badmouth him so they wouldn’t look as bad when they got rid of him. I can completely understand him still resenting it and not wanting his HOF bust to be wearing the cap of a team that treated him as shabbily as the Dodgers did.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 23, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      Do you feel similarly about the way history has treated you as James Bond?

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jan 23, 2012 at 4:40 PM

      Once again, this is Fox doing the dirty work. Not the Dodgers, per se. The Dodgers drafted Piazza in the 58th round, or something. The Dodgers scouts and ownership at the time made the decision to draft a 1st baseman with power and then move him behind the plate because former Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda is good friends with Mike’s father, Vince.

      I make the distinction in terms of Fox ownership and the Dodgers because Fox bought the team as a leverage deal in terms of blocking ESPN’s goals of regional sports network. Everything done by Fox, especially that first year of ownership, needs to be viewed in that context.

      The Dodgers GM (Fred Claire) had nothing to do with that deal. It was all th

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jan 23, 2012 at 4:42 PM

      Once again, this is Fox doing the dirty work. Not the Dodgers, per se. The Dodgers drafted Piazza in the 58th round, or something. The Dodgers scouts and ownership at the time made the decision to draft a 1st baseman with power and then move him behind the plate because former Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda is good friends with Mike’s father, Vince.

      I make the distinction in terms of Fox ownership and the Dodgers because Fox bought the team as a leverage deal in terms of blocking ESPN’s goals of regional sports network. Everything done by Fox, especially that first year of ownership, needs to be viewed in that context.

      The Dodgers GM (Fred Claire) had nothing to do with that deal. It was all that POS Chase Carey making deals from the boardroom.

      Damn, I hate Fox. Rupert could suck it for an eternity and it wouldn’t be enough.

  12. shaggylocks - Jan 23, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    This assumes he’ll make the HOF, which is a HUGE HUGE HUGE if. I mean, c’mon, the guy had BACK ACNE for Christ’s sake.

    I rest my case.

  13. dondada10 - Jan 23, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    In Jeff Pearlman’s The Rocket that Fell to Earth: Roger Clemens and the Rage for Baseball Immortality, he had this excerpt on Piazza:

    As the hundreds of major league ballplayers who turned to performance-enhancing drugs throughout the 1990s did their absolute best to keep the media at arm’s length, Piazza took the opposite approach. According to several sources, when the subject of performance enhancing was broached with reporters he especially trusted, Piazza fessed up. “Sure, I use,” he told one. “But in limited doses, and not all that often.” (Piazza has denied using performance-enhancing drugs, but there has always been speculation.) Whether or not it was Piazza’s intent, the tactic was brilliant: By letting the media know, of the record, Piazza made the information that much harder to report.

    If Bagwell is having a hard time getting in, I think Piazza might, too.

    • Kevin S. - Jan 23, 2012 at 3:38 PM

      I wouldn’t trust Jeff Pearlman to read me the weather properly, much less let me know of a player’s theoretical PED usage.

  14. aceshigh11 - Jan 23, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Is he going to be in the “back acne” wing of the HOF?

    • bobwsc - Jan 23, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      wonder if Murray Chass has his pitchfork out yet on this one

  15. yettyskills - Jan 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Obvious juicer is obvious

    • yettyskills - Jan 23, 2012 at 5:09 PM

      I know 1 of the thumbs down is Bud Selig, who are the other 4 blind/ignorant people?

  16. braddavery - Jan 23, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    How is it possible that Piazza makes the Hall when a player like Bagwell doesn’t because of the “possibility” of PED abuse. Piazza basically admitted abusing PEDs and his teammates called him out for it.

  17. Kevin S. - Jan 23, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Hey, wouldn’t be the first time a Mets’ catcher was forced to wear the cap of a team nearly bankrupted out of existence…

  18. butchhuskey - Jan 23, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    While I believe whether a player gets in to the Hall or not should be primarily based on numbers, the cap on the plaque is more of a symbolic thing to me. In my opinion, the cap should be chosen based on the team the player is primarily associated with. You can argue that Piazza was more productive with the Dodgers, but I think he is really more widely thought of as a Met.

  19. russelltowner - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    He was on ROIDS why should he get in the HALL

  20. foreverchipper10 - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Well, for some reason I cannot see any of the comments before I post this so if it is a repeat my apologies.

    I don’t remember him suiting up for the Padres at all. Even fuzzy on the Marlins. Why do I not remember the end of his career better? He didn’t leave the game all that long ago. *shakes head in embarassment*

  21. dickclydesdale - Jan 24, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    This Ingrate should appreciate the hand that fed him (L.A.)when nobody wanted to draft him! He should go in as a Dodger, end of case!

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