The Mets are preparing to honor their Hall of Fame catcher the weekend of July 29-31. They will be taking on the Colorado Rockies that weekend, the same visiting team that was on the field when fans at Shea said goodbye to their beloved catcher back in 2005.
Eleven years later, they will welcome him back once again and honor him with a celebration at Citi Field that will come one week after he is inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame.
For those who are unable to make the trip up to Cooperstown, they will have an opportunity to see the plaque that will reside in the Hall of Fame during the celebration in Queens. The plaque will be on display at Citi Field throughout the weekend before it returns to its permanent home on August 1.
The Mets will also have a special giveaway on each day of the Piazza weekend. On Friday July 29, all fans in attendance will receive a Mike Piazza replica jersey, and on Sunday July 31, the first 15,000 fans in attendance will receive a Piazza bobblehead.
Here is the moment the bobblehead is immortalizing:
The Mets will also be retiring Piazza’s number in a pre-game ceremony that will be held on Saturday July 30 at 6:30 PM. Preparations have already gotten underway as the retired numbers have been moved to make them more visible to fans in the ballpark.
This is not the first time Piazza has been honored at Citi Field. Back in 2013, Piazza was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame and the Mets held a ceremony to mark the occasion.
It was a well deserved honor for Piazza, who had many memorable moments during his tenure in New York.
He made his Mets debut on May 23, 1998 and collected his first hit as a Met, a double, while catching a brilliant pitching performance from Al Leiter.
The 1999-2000 seasons are the only years in Mets history where they made the postseason in back-to-back seasons. Mike Piazza was the anchor on those teams. The Mets were off to a terrible start in 1999 and had lost eight in a row heading into an early June series with the Yankees. They had to face Roger Clemens in the final game of the series, but Piazza hit a home run off him that helped lead the team to victory. That win would spark an incredible run of baseball where they won 40 of their next 55 games.
Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS will be forever remembered for Robin Ventura’s Grand Slam Single, but Piazza was involved in a play at the plate in the 13th inning that kept the game tied.
Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS did not have a happy ending, but in the seventh inning Piazza did all he could do when he hit a home run off John Smoltz to tie the game.
The 2000 season had one of the more memorable games in Mets’ history, when the Mets scored 10 runs in an inning against the hated Braves, capped off by another Piazza home run.
The following season, Piazza hit another home run against the Braves that will be forever remembered. On September 21, 2001 with New York wounded and mourning the September 11 attacks, Piazza helped bring some healing and the recapturing of some normalcy when he hit a blast to center to give the Mets the lead in the eighth.
The teams toward the end of Piazza’s Mets tenure gave fans little to cheer about, plus a changing of the guard was coming. Two young pups named Jose Reyes and David Wright were coming up and ready to take over as the new faces of the franchise. Piazza, however, was not done making history. On May 5, 2004, he set the Major League Baseball record for most home runs by a catcher.
The record was previously owned by Carlton Fisk, and with many elite catchers in attendance later in the year, he would be honored for that feat.
When Piazza’s eight years with the Mets were over, he had hit .296/.373/.542 while smashing 220 home runs and driving in 655 and will become only the second player to wear a Mets hat in the Hall of Fame.
Thanks for the all memories Mike.