NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The mystery — if there ever really was one — is over: Mike Piazza will enter baseball’s Hall of Fame donning a Mets cap.
Piazza, who was elected to the Hall on Wednesday with 83 percent of the vote, revealed Thursday his plaque in Cooperstown will indeed show him as a Met. The all-time leader in home runs by a catcher also spent five full seasons and parts of two others with the Dodgers and had stints with the Marlins, Padres and Athletics.READ MORE: New York City Rolls Out $100 Incentive For Getting Vaccinated As CDC Report Warns Delta Variant As Contagious As Chicken Pox
PHOTOS: Mike Piazza Through The Years
There had been some confusion Thursday morning over wording on the National Baseball Hall of Fame website that led some to believe a decision had been made then as to the cap Piazza will wear. A Hall of Fame official, however, told WFAN.com the website was only listing Piazza’s “primary team” — based on most games played for a franchise — not his cap designation.
But the clarification only delayed the inevitable.
“I’m going to go in as a New York Met,” Piazza said at an afternoon news conference in Manhattan.
Not only did Piazza play more games with the Mets than the Dodgers, he also had more home runs (220 vs. 177), hits (1,208 vs. 896) and playoff success (three series wins vs. none) in a New York uniform.
Piazza said he cherishes his time with the Dodgers, but “I feel the fans here (in New York) truly brought me into their family.”
Piazza will join Tom Seaver as the only Mets to be enshrined in Cooperstown. Several other former Mets, including Nolan Ryan, Yogi Berra, Willie Mays, Gary Carter, Duke Snider and manager Casey Stengel, are also in the Hall of Fame, but went in as members of other teams.READ MORE: Broadway Vaccine Mandate: Audiences Must Be Vaccinated And Masked; Performers, Crew And Staff Required To Be Vaccinated
Piazza was drafted by the Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft — the 1,390th selection overall. The next lowest drafted player to reach the Hall of Fame was John Smotz, who was picked 574th in 1985.
“Just shows how great our sports is, that you just need a chance,” Piazza said. “I was able to sneak into this game, kind of limp in, if you will, and through a lot of hard work and determination, and some luck, some timing, was able to build a pretty good career.”
Piazza’s dad was good friends with then-Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, so some wondered if the selection was a favor. But Piazza proved the critics wrong with a brilliant career.
The slugger hit 427 home runs, 396 of them as a catcher.
Piazza’s most famous home run transcended the sport. He hit a game-winning homer at Shea Stadium just 10 days after 9/11, lifting the emotions of the city.
“It’s tough because I get emotional thinking back at that week,” he said. “I mean, anybody knows who was there it’s something you can’t define. It changed all of our lives, not as a baseball level, but personally for me. I mean, it really put my life in perspective and focused what the important things in life are, and that’s family and friends and relationships.”
“To be, for me, at the right place at the right time and come through, I can only think it comes from above and a lot of people who put wind under my wings. That was a special moment for me.”
Kenny Griffey Jr., who was also elected into the Hall on Wednesday, announced he will wear a Seattle Mariners cap, becoming the first player to do so.MORE NEWS: Man Suffers Broken Nose In Alleged Anti-Asian Attack At Midtown Subway Station
Induction ceremonies will be held in Cooperstown on July 24.