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.”