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Mike Piazza On 2013 Hall Of Fame Ballot

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26: Former member of the New York Mets Mike Piazza attends a press conference announcing the top three moments at Shea Stadium before the game against the Florida Marlins on September 26, 2008 at Shea Stadium in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets are playing their final three regular season games in the 44 year old stadium this weekend and will move to their new ball park in 2009. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

Former Mets catcher Mike Piazza is one of 37 candidates on the 2013 Hall of Fame Ballot, released Wednesday by the Baseball Writer’s Association of America.

Piazza, maybe the best power hitting catcher of all-time, played 16 years in the bigs (1992-2007) building his legacy with two teams – the Dodgers and Mets. He ended his career with one year each in San Diego and Oakland – and don’t forget his five game stint with Florida, a brief stop between his time in L.A. and New York.

Piazza’s 396 home runs as a catcher are the most ever hit by a player at that position (he had a career total of 427 but some came in pinch hit situations and in his later years at DH).

His career stats in several other categories are also among the all-time leaders at the catcher’s position (stats from encyclopedia of baseball catchers):

  • 1st in slugging percentage (.545)
  • 1st in OPS – on base plus slugging – (.922)
  • 4th in RBI’s (1335)
  • 4th in total bases (3,768)
  • 5th in batting average (.308)
  • 9th in on-base percentage (.377)
  • 9th in doubles (344)

As a Mets fan, I’ll always remember Piazza having some of the biggest home runs in franchise history.

In the year 2000, he had two homers I’ll never forget.

The first was grand slam off Roger Clemens at the old Yankee Stadium at a time when the Mets were up and coming an desperately needed to make a statement against their perennially successful cross-town rivals.

The other came at Shea against the hated Braves. Trailing 8-1 in the 8th, the Mets rallied to score 10 runs in the inning, capped by a two-run laser shot off Piazza’s bat that gave New York the lead. They went on to win 11-8.

And, maybe the most memorable of all came against the Braves as well. It was 10 days after the 9/11 terror attacks in the first game played in New York since the towers crumbled and the Mets were hosting the Braves, trailing 2-1 in the 8th. Piazza hit a monster two-run shot to send the Mets – who were wearing NYPD and FDNY hats instead of their usual team caps – to a 3-2 victory.

And, take a look at this mammoth shot, over and out of Dodgers Stadium:

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