Mike Piazza probably won't be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today, despite being a slam-dunk, no-doubt, first-ballot type of candidate. The dinosaur voters of the BBWAA are the reason why. Rather than grouse further about these self-important gatekeepers, I figured it would be fun to share some favorite Piazza Mets memories. Let us celebrate the man who so entertained us during his 7+ seasons in Flushing. I'll start with a lesser-remembered moment and add some of his more prominent ones.
Piazza homers off Flash Gordon in the ninth inning to tie game, but Mets lose to Red Sox in extras
Big moments from losses tend to be forgotten, unless they're on the level of Endy's Catch. I would not have remembered this Piazza blast on June 11, 1999 had I not attended the game during which he hit it. Also noteworthy: Ted Williams threw out the first pitch to Piazza that night at Shea Stadium. The Mets and Red Sox kicked off a three-game weekend series with a pitching matchup of Masato Yoshii vs Brian Rose. The two pitched well, but Rose was slightly better and the Red Sox held a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.
Red Sox closer Tom Gordon entered and allowed a leadoff single to the great John Olerud. Up stepped Piazza, who came into the game riding a 14-game hitting streak. He took the first pitch for a ball, then launched Gordon's next offering 430 feet (my estimate) over the left field bleachers to tie the game. I was sitting in the Loge level on the third base side, so I had a beautiful view of the ball from Piazza's bat to its distant landing point. The crowd, quiet much of the night, went bananas, temporarily forgetting the issues (coaches recently fired, Bobby Bonilla's ill-fated return) surrounding the team at the time. The Red Sox wisely walked Piazza twice in extra innings and scored a run off John Franco to win 3-2 in 12 innings. However, the Mets made the playoffs that season and I can still picture Piazza's home run that night.
Some other popular Piazza moments:
Game-winning two-run home run to beat Trevor Hoffman and the Padres in 1999
"Bat-flip" three-run home run against the Yankees in 1999
Three-run home run to cap a Fireworks Night comeback in 2000
Two home runs in a game as a Padre against the Mets during his return series to Shea Stadium in 2006 (yes, this came against the Mets but our heroes still won the game so no big deal)
Mike Piazza is awesome. Share your favorite Piazza memories.