Piazza Will Become The 27th Member Of The Mets Hall Of Fame

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The New York Mets announced they will be inducting Mike Piazza into the Mets Hall of Fame.

The Mets made the announcement Sunday, before the former catcher played in the celebrity softball game ahead of Tuesday night’s All-Star game.

Piazza understands what it’s like to be a New York Mets fan. That’s why his selection for the team’s Hall of Fame means so much to him.

“Sometimes the tough times really define you when you’re going through the good times,” he said Sunday. “When you have that sort of roller-coaster history and some adversity — well, a little bit more than some.”

When the Mets succeed, the re-energized supporters surge with enthusiasm. Piazza experienced that firsthand when he helped the club reach the 2000 World Series — only to lose to the Yankees.

“It’s a character thing. I mean, they ride that high with you, and even though it could be very tough struggling in this city, it’s what defines this organization,” he said. “It’s a different synergy I feel from other teams.”

Piazza will become the 27th member of the Mets Hall of Fame during a pre-game ceremony on Fan Appreciation Day.

Fan Appreciation Day will take place on September 29th, prior to the 1:10PM game vs. Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field.

Piazza played 972 games for the Mets, for eight of his 16-year career in MLB. He recorded a .296 BA, which included 1,028 hits, 193 doubles, 2 triples, 220 home runs and 655 RBIs with the Mets.

Piazza’s 220 home runs ranks him second in Mets franchise history and he ranks third in RBIs.

Piazza became the greatest home run hitting catcher, breaking Carlton Fisk’s record of 351. Piazza was also a seven-time All-Star with Mets.

The other members of the Mets Hall of Fame include: Joan Payson, Casey Stengel, Gil Hodges, George M. Weiss, Johnny Murphy, William A. Shea, Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson, Bud Harrelson, Rusty Staub, Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Ed Kranepool, Cleon Jones, Jerry Grote, Tug McGraw, Mookie Wilson, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Tommie Agee, Frank Cashen, Dwight Gooden, Davey Johnson, Darryl Strawberry and John Franco.

While the Mets said he will be inducted into their Hall on Sept. 29 during Fan Appreciation Day at Citi Field, Piazza fell short in his first try for baseball’s Hall of Fame. The burly catcher received 329 of 569 votes when totals were announced in January, falling 98 shy of the necessary 75 percent.

“I got a tremendous amount of support. As a player and a person, you just have to respect processes and understand that this is the way it’s always been done,” he said. “There’s been some great players in history that have had to wait their turn. I’m very much proud of my career. I’ll put my body of work up against anybody.”

Piazza realizes some suspect he used performance-enhancing drugs, even though he never tested positive and no evidence has been produced connecting him with PEDs. It’s a product of the era he played in.

“There’s nothing you can do about that,” he said. “You just tell your story and live your life and go on.”

He did exactly that this year in his memoir, “Long Shot.” Piazza said he never took steroids but did admit to using just about everything else, including androstenedione, amphetamines, Creatine, ephedra and a type of asthma medicine that made him more alert and focused.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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