NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mike Piazza is one of the most — if not the most — beloved Mets in the history of the franchise.
And yet, according to a report, there is some tension between the 12-time All-Star and the organization.
Piazza was honored on the final day that Shea Stadium stood in 2008, but since then he hasn’t had much of an association with the franchise. His relationship has, in fact, “cooled some over time,” sources told David Lennon of Newsday.
No Mets have worn Piazza’s No. 31 since the legendary catcher played his last game with New York in 2005, but the number has not been retired by the team.
Arguably the greatest hitting catcher in the history of the sport — and unquestionably the best offense player in Mets history — the 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner missed out on election into the Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this year, receiving 57.8 percent of the vote (75 percent is needed). He’ll likely be enshrined in Cooperstown in the next year or two, but he is not a member of the team’s Hall of Fame.
And Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon might not be so inclined to induct Piazza this year.
The slugger upset many in the baseball world following the release of his book, “Long Shot,” and according to Lennon, the Mets aren’t too happy about some comments that Piazza made in regard to the club.
In the book, Piazza accused Wilpon of encouraging him to play with an injury during a spring training contest because the game was sold out. He also surprisingly criticized Vice President of Media Relations Jay Horwitz for not protecting the players enough.
“I felt he was more loyal to the writers and the broadcasters than he was to the players,” Piazza wrote in regard to Horwitz.
There was some animosity before the book came out, too.
When SNY came up with a list of the franchise’s 50 greatest players in 2012 (Piazza was No. 6), Piazza turned down an invitation to be a part of the program. According to Lennon, this bothered team officials for months.
Despite the strange relationship between the two parties, Piazza has suggested on numerous occasions that if and when he’s elected to the Baseball Hall of Hame, his preference would be to go into the museum as a Met as opposed to a Dodger.
In his 16-year tenure in the big leagues, Piazza played for the Padres, A’s and Marlins, in addition to the Dodgers and the Mets. He finished his career with 427 dingers, 1,335 RBIs, a .308 batting average and a .377 on-base percentage.
Would Jeff Wilpon really keep Piazza out of the Mets’ Hall of Fame? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…