It was a Piazza palooza at Citi Field.
The New York Mets inducted legendary catcher Mike Piazza as the 27th member in the Mets Hall of Fame on Sunday before the team played its final game of the year.
Piazza received a proclamation from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which declared September 29 as Mike Piazza Day.
“I’m very, very proud to be a New York Met,” Piazza said. “I’m glad they took recognition and gave me this honor.”
Citi Field was packed for Piazza’s induction as many cheered for one of the franchise’s most prominent figures.
Piazza threw out the first pitch of the game to Mets captain David Wright and Piazza’s former teammates Edgardo Alfonzo and John Franco presented him with a plaque and shared some kind words.
“You were a tremendous teammate,” Franco said. “You played hurt, you played hard and you are a great guy to be around. So I just want to say congratulations from one Italian brother to another.”
Piazza is known as one of the greatest hitting catchers of all time. He has the most home runs for a catcher ever with 427, a career .308 batting average and 2,127 hits.
Piazza played 972 games for the Mets, eight of his 16-year career in MLB. He hit 220 home runs with the Mets, ranking second in franchise history, behind Darryl Strawberry (252). He ranks first in team history with a .542 slugging percentage and is third in RBIs (655). Piazza was a seven-time All-Star when he played with the Mets and set a team-record with 124 RBIs and hit 40 home runs in 1999.
Then in 2000 he finished with 38 home runs and drove in 113 runs to lead the team to win the National League Division Championship.
Fortunately the Mets won the final game of the year 3-2 against the Brewers to top off the Hall of Fame celebration, despite another year with a losing record, 74-88.
Piazza is looking forward to a time when the Mets are once again on top of the league standings. He also joked that the organization will have first crack at his son, but he won’t be cheap.
“I’ll teach him how to hit and the rest is up to him,” Piazza said.