The greatest hitting catcher of all-time has now taken his rightful place in Cooperstown. Mike Piazza, in his fourth year of eligibility, garnered 83 percent of the votes to reach baseball immortality. The 12-time All-Star slugged 396 homers as catcher, the most ever for at that position, while posting a career .308 batting average
Piazza, who played in New York from 1998-2005, joins pitcher Tom Seaver as the only two Mets inducted into MLB’s Hall of Fame.
“Without a doubt Mike Piazza was one of the top hitting catchers in the history of the game,” Seaver said in a statement released by the team. “For Mike to compile the stats he did while catching is amazing. His election to Cooperstown is most deserving.”
Drafted by the Dodgers with the 1,390th pick in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft, Piazza was a close family friend of former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasarda and shares the same hometown of Norristown, P.A. The 47-year old backstop also played for the Marlins, Padres and Athletics and will announce that he will be representing the Mets at a press conference on Thursday at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan.
“The Mets have a unique fan base,” Piazza said. “It’s a mixture of love and frustration and ups and downs and the emotions are very strong. I was very blessed the fans took me into their family and really embraced me.”
Last year Piazza received 69.9 percent of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America vote, falling shy of the 75 percent required for induction.
Joining Piazza in the 2016 Hall of Fame class is Ken Griffey Jr., who shattered Seaver’s record for highest voting percentage of 98.8 set back in 1992 by receiving 99.3 percent of the votes on Wednesday.
Born in Donora, P.A., Griffey became the first ever No. 1 overall pick to be enshrined in Cooperstown. The Mariners selected Griffey at the top spot in the 1987 MLB draft and he spent 11 seasons with Seattle before joining the Reds for a nine year run from 2000-2009. Griffey would return to Seattle for the final two years of his career in 2009 and 2010.
On Thursday both Griffey and Piazza will officially unveil their plaques wearing a Mariners and Mets hat respectively.
Mets co-owner Jeff Wilpon sent his congratulations to Piazza, who the Amazin’s acquired in a blockbuster deal back in 1998 that helped transform a downtrodden franchise into National League Champions two short years later.
"We are really thrilled that Mike Piazza has taken his rightful place among the other greats in Cooperstown,” Wilpon noted. “Mike’s offensive prowess, ability to deliver in the clutch, and tireless work ethic helped him become one of the great catchers of all-time. On behalf of Mets Ownership, front office staff and our fans, we congratulate Mike, his wife Alicia, his parents, Vince and Veronica, and the entire Piazza family."