Former Mets catcher Mike Piazza has been in the headlines of late mostly as the hitting coordinator for the Italian national baseball team. With this upcoming 2011 season marking the fourth year since Piazza has stepped away from Major League Baseball, Mets fans have had more than enough time to ponder the thought of the 12-time NL All-Star Catcher representing them if and when Piazza is nominated into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Here are some numbers to look at that may help shed some light on the situation.
Mike Piazza C (1992-2007) 16 MLB seasons, .308 career batting average, 427 career home runs, 1,335 runs batted in, and a total of 2,127 hits.
8 years with NYM, 1998-2005, best year as a Met, 2000, finished third in the NL MVP voting. In 136 games behind the plate, Pizza hit .348 with 113 RBI and 38 HR to go along with a .614 slugging percentage and a 1.012 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). His other two impressive seasons with New York were in 1999 and 2001. If you average out those three years plus most of 1998, you get a .319 BA, 34 HR, 102 RBI, 152 runs scored, and an average OPS of .982.
To be fair, his seven years with the Los Angeles Dodgers produced four very strong seasons as well, 1994-1997. Looking at those averages, .341 BA per season, 33 HR, 104 RBI, 84 runs and an average OPS of .993.
It’s awfully close but if you factor in Piazza's clutch performance during the Mets 1999 NLCS vs. the Braves and the 2000 Subway Series against the Yankees in addition to the home run that Piazza hit as a Met on September 21, 2001, the first home game at Shea Stadium after the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9-11, you may have some hard evidence that would tip the scales into the Mets favor.
For more power numbers from Piazza, check out baseball reference.com where you can make your own decision as to which team will claim Piazza in the Hall.