Where does Mike Piazza rank in NY Mets and MLB history?
Mets fans have witnessed the domination of Dwight Gooden along with the five-tool talent of Darryl Strawberry and the leadership, defense and timely hitting of Keith Hernandez over the past 30-plus years. Gary “The Kid” Carter become the final piece to the 1986 championship team along with players such as Edgardo Alfonzo, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, and David Wright. The 1969 Mets era that included Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, John Matlock, Cleon Jones and Tommy Agee was also a remarkable time in Mets history.
Who is the best and where does Piazza land? Let’s look at some stats.
Hall of Famer Seaver “The Franchise”, is clearly the No. 1 player in New York Mets history.
The No. 2 all-time player in NY Mets history is Mike Piazza. Piazza is the No. 3 all-time player in Mets history for home runs with 220, No. 3 in RBIs with
655, No. 4 in batting average with a .296 average and No. 2 in OPS with a .915.
Piazza is only No. 12 in games played at 972. Many fans compare Piazza and Strawberry. Both were tremendous players for the Mets. In 137 less games played for the Mets, Piazza out-hit Strawberry by 1,028 to 1,025. While Strawberry out-homered Piazza 252 to 220 he did play almost a full season longer as a Met than Piazza. With Piazza now in the Hall of Fame, the debate must lean Piazza’s way. Personally, I also remember how ugly of an exit Strawberry had when he left the Mets, as opposed to the Piazza who was the ultimate professional and a perfect spokesman for the team and it’s fans, and who left on excellent terms.
Where does Piazza rank with all-time MLB players? Most baseball fans know that Piazza is the all-time leading MLB home run hitter for catchers as he hit 396 of his 427 (47th all-time) home runs as a catcher. The statistic that is not well known is 270 of his home runs either tied the score or put his team ahead. This clearly supports Piazza’s reputation of being a “clutch” player. Piazza averaged a home run every 18.1% AB’s better than Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Reggie Jackson.
Piazza was a powerful hitter with .308 lifetime batting average and is No. 2 all-time from a catcher second only to current Twins player Joe Mauer. He hardly struck out averaging only 69 strike outs per season. He is also the stands No. 28 for all-time in lifetime slugging percentage with .545. Piazza was a 12-time All Star player and a ten-time Silver Slugger. He is one of only nine players to ever hit 400 home runs with a .300 lifetime batting average and never to have struck out 100 times in a season. He is also the No. 1 all-time underdog in MLB history. As a 62nd round draft pick Piazza is the lowest draft pick to ever make the Hall of Fame. The second John Smoltz as a 22nd round pick. Is Piazza a top 50 MLB player of all-time? I say yes, and the numbers certainly support this tremendous player who is now a Hall of Famer.