Editor’s Note: As part of WFAN’s 30th anniversary celebration, from May 1-12, we asked you to vote on the best local sports figures over the past 30 years. Over the course of two weeks, we are revealing the top-10 vote getters.
NEW YORK (WFAN) — “The monster is out of the cage!”
Then-Mets bench coach John Stearns issued that famous line during Game 1 of the 2000 NLCS after Mike Piazza hit a run-scoring double in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals that set the tone for New York’s five-game victory and first trip to the World Series since 1986, their last championship season.
Make no mistake, Piazza was a monster throughout his eight-year run in New York, batting .296 with 220 home runs and 655 RBIs. One of the greatest hitting catchers to ever play, Piazza’s 16-year major league career was honored with his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016.
Piazza produced an iconic moment in New York sports history on Sept. 21, 2001, when, in the Mets’ first home game after 9/11, he hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to seal a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves. That play has been widely credited for lifting the spirits of many New Yorkers following the attacks on the World Trade Center.
The 12-time All-Star and 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner finished his exceptional career with 427 homers, including a record 396 as a catcher, along with a .308 batting average and 1,335 RBIs.
Piazza was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 2013 and will forever remain one of the most beloved players in franchise history.