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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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The Hall of Greg Elects Mike Piazza

Flushing, N.Y. (FAF) — Mike Piazza earned near-unanimous election into the Hall of Greg, it was announced Wednesday. Piazza made it on the first ballot with a percentage of 98.83%, a total second only to Tom Seaver’s 98.84%. It was the highest possible percentage available, since the rules of the Hall of Greg state no player may collect a greater proportional vote total than Seaver’s.

Piazza will enter the Hall of Greg as a Met, same as previous first-ballot inductees Seaver (1992), Willie Mays (1979), Keith Hernandez (1996), Gary Carter (1998), Nolan Ryan (1999), Eddie Murray (2003) and Rickey Henderson (2009). Richie Ashburn, Duke Snider, Yogi Berra, Warren Spahn, Casey Stengel and Gil Hodges, elected by the Hall of Greg’s Veterans Committee upon the institution’s founding in the early 1970s, were also inducted as Mets. (Roberto Alomar’s lifetime ban from Hall of Greg consideration remains in effect.)

“This wasn’t a ‘no-brainer,’” said a Hall of Greg spokesman. “We used our brains. We used our common sense. We used our memories. We used our computers. We used everything that was available to us. Clear eyes, full hearts…Mike couldn’t lose.”

The newly elected Hall of Greg member will be asked to choose which Mets cap he wants to be inducted in at ceremonies this summer. He can choose among traditional royal blue, all black or the hybrid black-blue model in which he often played. It’s also been suggested a cap bearing the initials of the New York Police Department would be an appropriate homage to the memorable night of September 21, 2001, when the greatest-hitting catcher in baseball history launched the home run that won the first baseball game played in New York after 9/11 and symbolized the city’s subsequent recovery efforts in the opinion of some.

It was just one of many epic home runs Piazza blasted for the Mets, most of them searing themselves into the consciousness of Mets fans forever. He hit 220 homers as a Met — 427 overall — along with six in the postseason (five as a Met). Nobody in major league history hit more as a catcher than his 396.

Piazza’s debut as a Met marked a turning point in the fortunes of the franchise, as he lifted a then-middling club into serious playoff contention for the next four seasons, leading them to the National League Championship Series twice and the World Series once. He represented the Mets in seven All-Star Games and was selected to the National League squad on five other occasions. Overall, he was a singular icon of New York baseball for most of a decade and the Mets’ biggest star ever this side of Seaver. The pair, as catcher and pitcher, were given the honor of the ceremonial final pitch upon Shea Stadium’s closing in 2008 and first pitch when Citi Field opened in 2009.

No other candidates on the 2013 Hall of Greg ballot were elected. Shawn Green, Julio Franco, Roberto Hernandez, Jeff Conine and Aaron Sele each received token support in recognition of long and meritorious careers, in line with the Hall of Greg’s philosophy that everybody who wore a Mets uniform and makes its ballot deserves at least a glint of recognition.

Piazza could not be reached for comment as he is reportedly in the final stages of completing his book, Long Shot, slated for February release. A Hall of Greg spokesman indicates great interest in reading the book, “but it’s not like anything in there is going to change what we think of what Mike did as a Met between 1998 and 2005.”

19 comments to The Hall of Greg Elects Mike Piazza

  • “This was a no-brainer. We used our brains.”

    Nice.

  • It *wasn’t* a no-brainer. Gub.

  • Joe D.

    I’m just glad that writers didn’t just assume use of steroids with Mike. Lots of adults have acne on the back.

    Besides, if Mike was on anything, his throwing arm would not have been shot toward the end of his career when he literally was bouncing throws to second. Heck, Pudge Rodriguez using steroids was able to throw out base stealers sitting on his knees without the aid of any forward momentum.

    Great day for a Met fan.

  • Sidd Finch

    Mother Superior jumped the gun.

  • Dave

    Well, at least there’s one Hall with credibility. Good for you, Greg.

    As if we didn’t have enough reasons to hate f***ing Clemens already. Now Piazza doesn’t get in thanks to guilt by association for the era in which he played. Maybe next year the BBWAA visits their proctologists to have their heads removed from where they shouldn’t be.

  • Kevin From Flushing

    Let’s hope the Mets do the right thing and give him a plaque at Citi Field this year.

  • […] Greg Prince contributed indirectly to this report.  […]

  • As a longtime Mets fan, I’ve always suspected that Mike was very possibly a steroid user. No proof. No real emotion to it, either. But when I looked at him, added up a few stray details, I felt, “Yeah, maybe, could be, possibly.”

    It was a confusing time for players, and now it’s a confusing time for baseball writers. Everybody is trying to sort it out.

    There are times when I want to say, hey, who cares, I saw what I saw and that was greatness of the field. And then I instantly imagine that I’m a Giants fan talking about Barry Bonds. And I feel less comfortable with that conclusion.

    We don’t know about Mike, we never will. In that way, he’s separate from Clemens and Bonds and A-Rod, and in a court of law would be treated differently. But courts have different standards than the HOF. Or you and me.

    In the end, for me, my basic feeling is that I just don’t care a whole hell of a lot about the “Hall of Fame.” So in that sense, I love the idea of the “Hall of Greg.” Does it have a bloggers wing? Or just chicken wings?

  • nestornajwa

    It’s disappointing that Piazza wasn’t elected on the first ballot. But I’m okay with the blank slate for 2013. At 57.8%, Mike will make it soon.

    A blank slate is a long-overdue indictment of this Commissioner, who has equated team profitability with the overall health of the game. Nothing else has ever mattered to him. PEDs are merely the worst of many atrocities perpetrated or encouraged by Selig, who has also given us 9pm World Series games, playoffs scheduled around new episodes of “House”, the one-game Wild Card gimmick (an injustice waiting to happen), electronic advertisements behind the plate, increasingly lousy umpiring, empty super-premium club seats that make every regular season game look poorly attended during every pitch, and the mandatory replacement of all 1960s “cookie-cutter” stadiums with 1990s-style cookie-cutter stadiums, usually at taxpayer expense.

    I sympathize with the voters who were forced to cast their ballots knowing that a large percentage, perhaps a majority, of players cheated. But they didn’t have the benefit of a complete and exhaustive investigation to help them decide “who did” and “who didn’t”. The Mitchell Report was selective and incomplete, largely depending on the testimony and leads provided by a single distributor. In the absence of definitive evidence, they had to trust their instincts. They penalized the most blatant abusers more than those tainted by mere innuendo. They did the best they could without getting any help from MLB.

    Piazza’s future enshrinement looks like a much better bet than Clemens, Bonds or Sosa’s. So I’ll gladly postpone my personal celebration of the second Met immortalized in bronze (well, 2.5 counting Gary Carter), as long as we’re spared the spectacle of Bobby Bonds’ spoiled kid or that fat headhunting mercenary thug at the podium anytime soon.

    Also, Jack Morris? Really? He had his moments, but I don’t think he belongs. He seems destined to join Rizzuto, Sutton, Jim Rice, Ted Lyons and Eppa Rixey as marginal selections. I hope Raines and Lee Smith make it — both are long overdue. And Schilling was the central figure in two historic storylines. He gets in on a “Joe Willie” ticket — a guy whose raw numbers might not scream “hall of fame’ but who just feels like he belongs.

  • Mikey fan

    What a shame his name had to be on the same ballot as monster head. Love the Hall of Greg and i suggest you propose this to Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce. Being an upstater i have a special affinity for the town and the residents who live and love baseball. They are taking a financial hit with no inductees this year.
    So why not a Hall of Greg ceremony!! Invite first responders…heck they could play a game against each other.
    Good luck next time Mike.

  • Guy Kipp

    There seems to be a lot more hand-wringing over the fact that Jack Morris is almost off the ballot, than there is over the fact that Dale Murphy’s candidacy is done.
    Is there really not a place in Cooperstown for Dale Murphy?
    Did everybody already forget that he was the best, most feared, most complete player in the National League for most of the 80s?
    398 career HR, 1266 RBI, 2 MVPs, 5 Gold Gloves, played 162 games FOUR YEARS IN A ROW, and since it’s the en vogue statistic to cite nowadays, he had an .815 OPS (Andre Dawson’s OPS was .811, and he’s in). And clean as a whistle. Not one thing about his personality or off-the-field behavior that could possibly hold him back.
    And he’s done. Off the ballot. Like his career never even happened. What am I missing? Is his .265 career batting average that much of a hindrance in the face of all those other credentials?

    • dak442

      I have also been baffled by the lack of Murphy support. Maybe if he had lasted a couple more years.

      • open the gates

        Frankly, the HoF voters would have made even a stronger statement had they made Murphy their lone inductee for 2013. Take that, Steroid Era!

        Oh well – wasn’t meant to be.

  • Joe

    I love how Jeff Wilpon puts Piazza in a Mets cap if (and when) he gets to Cooperstown. He was a fine Met, but he was a GREAT Dodger. Plus, most believe his PED use occurred during his tenure on the East Coast. He should be wearing a Dodger cap and inducted by papa Lasorda.

    • Q: How many World Series’ did he get into with the Dodgers?

      A: None. Thanks for playing.

    • Nestornajwa

      LAD: 726 G, 3017 PA, 443 R, 896 Hits, 177 homers, 563 RBI, 283 BB
      NYM: 972 G, 3941 PA, 532 R, 1028 hits, 220 homers, 655 RBI, 424 walks.

      Yes, he did hit for a higher average in LA (somewhat offset by his higher walk rate in NY), so that means he was more likely to be using PEDs … in New York? And I’m not willing to concede PED use at all; otherwise I wouldn’t trouble myself over his Hall admission.

  • open the gates

    FWIW, I think the Hall of Fame voters got it exactly right.

    There should be two tiers of HoF candidates from the Steroid Era.

    Tier 1 would be the obvious bad actors. Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Clemens, Palmeiro, et al. Those guys should get in around the same time that Hell freezes over. And don’t ban them. Let ‘em come up for the vote every year and get shot down. Particularly galling for Bonds and Clemens, who were sure future Hallers before they took their first ‘roids. (Pardon me while I fail to break down in tears.)

    Tier 2 will be the guys who were never touched by the scandal. Guys like Piazza, Biggio, and Schilling; in future years, Smoltz, Chipper Jones, Mariano, Jeter, Griffey, etc. These guys should all get in eventually – just never in the first year of eligibility. Because even though they may be pure as the driven snow, we’ll never know for sure.

    Is that truly fair to the guys who never juiced? Nope. But that’s the way it’s gotta be. At least it’s more subtle than an asterisk.

  • Stan

    “Everybody” who wore a Mets uniform is eligible and deserves consideration? There’s a certain number 47 that I don’t think I’ll see there any time soon :)