The New York Mets announced yesterday that they would retire Mike Piazza‘s number 31 on July 30, a week after he is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. The game sold out almost immediately.
Piazza’s response on Twitter was gracious:
Struggling to find words! Thank you @Mets Fred & Jeff, The Loyalty and Love of #Mets fans cannot be equaled. INCREDIBLE honor! #Retire31
I’m happy for him, and I’m happy for us. In the last six months, we’ve watched our team play in the World Series, we’ve had our second Hall of Famer elected and we’re going to get to see a National League Championship banner rise. Now this. Short of a World Series trophy, I couldn’t have asked for more.
Piazza’s autograph tickets start at $179, plus an additional $59 fee if you want him to add “HOF 2016” or any other inscription to his signature.
That’s a little bit too steep for me – the rising autograph fees are one of the main reasons I’ve stopped posting about which former and current Mets are scheduled to appear at collectibles shows each month.
Yankee fans may be interested to see that Joe Girardi ($79 and up) and Luis Severino ($65 and up) have recently been added to the show lineup, too.
Last night, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza would be inducted this summer as the Class of 2016.
Griffey set a new record, appearing on 437 of the 440 ballots cast. (The old record was held by Tom Seaver – our first Mets representative in Cooperstown – who received 98.84 percent of the vote in 1992.)
It took four years, but Piazza finally crossed the 75 percent threshold in this year’s election. And while I can’t figure out how a man who’s been retired from baseball since 2007 managed to do anything that “made him a Hall of Famer” since the last election, I’d rather celebrate the voters getting something right.
While Pedro Martinez will be remembered by most for his achievements with the Boston Red Sox, my strongest memory comes from one of about a dozen games I went to at Shea Stadium in 2005.
While we were settling in to watch the start of the game, Pedro quickly retired the first two Arizona Diamondbacks batters. Then, with Luis Gonzalez at the plate, all of the sprinklers on the infield suddenly turned on!
Many pitchers would have let something like that throw them off of their routine. Not Pedro. On the Diamondvision board, you could see Pedro smiling and laughing about the ridiculous situation. While the other players left the field during the delay, Pedro stayed out there. Once order was restored, he struck out Gonzalez and went on to pitch eight innings of one-run ball as the Mets won 6-1.
After the game, Pedro told reporters, “Water is a blessing, I believe. So I got wet.”
I hope the Mets invite Pedro Martinez out to Citi Field sometime this summer to honor him and give fans one more chance to applaud.