Thursday, January 7, 2016

I think of him as a Dodger II

This is kind of a repeat of last year's post, which just goes to show you how well the Dodgers did in the '90s hanging onto superstars who would one day be Hall of Famers. Two straight years of this stuff.

Mike Piazza announced today that he would go into the Hall of Fame as a New York Met. No surprise there. He's made his love for the Mets and their fans known just as he's also made his grudge against Dodgers management of the late '90s known. I've assumed this day was coming for a long time.

But that doesn't change the way my brain thinks or what my collection looks like. Every time I see Piazza dressed in a Mets uniform, my brain is surprised. It has to be reminded again -- oh, yeah, Piazza played for the Mets, too. I have 460 cards of Mike Piazza. Three of them are Mets cards. A handful others are A's or Padres cards (no, I don't have any Marlins Piazzas -- why would I want those?). All of the rest of them are Dodgers cards.

So, of course, I think of him as a Dodger. I'm a Dodger fan, my collection is filled with Dodger Piazzas. I set up the world in which I live. But so have Mets fans.

Mets fans have Piazza in a World Series, the Dodgers have Piazza rookie mojo cards and his Rookie of the Year award. Mets fans have Piazza on their team for 8 years while the Dodgers fans have him for only 6-plus. Piazza's greatest individual years statistically probably came with the Dodgers, but cumulatively, his stats for the Mets are better.

Piazza was drafted by the Dodgers in the 62nd round -- allegedly as a favor to Piazza's dad by Tom Lasorda -- would he even be able to do those things for the Mets if it wasn't for the Dodgers?

But, of course, Piazza was a Met when 9/11 happened. And that pretty much ends the argument. This really is an emotional argument, you know -- on many levels -- and it will never be solved to the satisfaction of everyone.

But, when I think of Piazza, I think Dodger first, second, third, fourth and fifth ... the Mets might come up eventually (but they do come up before the Padres).

Also, when I think of Piazza, I think of him as the king of '90s cards. Again, that's my collection talking. There are definitely other players during that era who put forth the same abundance of excellent cardboard during the '90s. Ken Griffey Jr., for example. You know, that other guy elected to the Hall of Fame yesterday.

But this is the kind of stuff I'm looking at in my Dodgers/Piazza collection. My Griffeys can't handle that -- because I'm not Junior Junkie (who laughs at the mere thought of only 460 cards of one player).

Also, when I think of Piazza, I think of him as the king of inserts -- the king of DIECUT inserts. Because I have more of those of Piazza than any other player -- even Hideo Nomo, I believe (although I need to do research on that).

So, without any more words, here are 10 diecut greats of Piazza:

Funny, they're all Dodger cards.

Enjoy your moment, Mike. It's about frigging time.


  1. I never really think of Piazza as anything but a dodger either, second to me would be a Marlin card lol. Doesn't stop me from collecting them though. I'm sure I have cards from each team he played with.

  2. In my little world, Piazza is still a Marlin. But save that, I still think of him as a Dodger as well. Is it safe to say he has the most cards of any 62nd round pick?

  3. I'm disappointed that the Hall of Fame caved to Mike Piazza's wishes and let him wear a Mets cap into the Hall of Fame but what do you expect since the Hall is in the state of New York. He should have gone in with no cap like some players that put up impressive stats with multiple teams in their career.

    Unfortunately, those two warm and gushy New York Met moments (post 9/11 game and Clemens World Series game) jaded the Hall's decision but obscure the fact that the stats he put up with the Dodgers from 1993 to 1997 are why he’s called the greatest offensive catcher in baseball history and will be inducted to Cooperstown later this year.

    His cumulative WAR with the Dodgers was 31.9 versus 24.5 with the Mets even though he played 250 less games. His lifetime batting average with just the Dodgers was .331 versus .296 with the Mets. You could make an argument that on his Dodger stats alone, Mike was a Hall of Famer. You can't make that argument on his Mets stats alone as they're not much different than what Javy Lopez did in his career.

    I apologize in advance for turning this comment into a complaint with the Hall of Fame but I haven't been this disappointed with the their election process since the Sabermetric community torpedoed Steve Garvey's election chances years ago.

  4. Looking at Mike's stats earlier today, I am still blown away by that 1997 season. Those numbers are not human. No player, much less a catcher, should go .362 40 124 (other than maybe Joe Dimaggio). How Larry Walker won that MVP is a mystery for the damn ages.

    I don't own that UD run producers die cut card - I am coming up to Watertown to steal it - otherwise, I own every other card shown in this post.

    I do, however, own no less than 11 cards of him in a Marlins uniform. I am not sure if I should be proud or ashamed of that fact.

    I explained in my HOF post that his legend was built in Los Angeles but cemented in New York. It is a toss up what team should go on the cap, but also, it is a good example of where a player's preference should take precedent. I would have been slightly disappointed if he went in as a Dodger, but not insulted or anything. He was an absolute monster for them.

  5. That Stained Glass card is a thing of beauty!

  6. I think of him as a Dodger, too, and I have no skin in the game. I would think most neutral fans would agree, unless they were born after about 1986 and then just might not remember much of his Dodger career.

    That said, I do think Mets is the right cap. I was in NYC for work in 2006 and went to a Mets game against the Padres. It happened to be Piazza's first game back in Shea. They did a really cool tribute to him on the video before the game, and when he came to bat, I was shocked at the love Mets fans displayed (he naturally struck out in that 1st AB). After seeing that, I get the feeling that he means more to Mets fans than he does to Dodger fans, even if I remember his greatness as a Dodger. Also, the 9/11 home run and being the Mets' star in the 2000 Subway Series kind of trumps anything he did with the Dodgers.

    I also agree with jacobmrley - this is the perfect situation where the player's preference should be the difference maker.

    Finally, he's very different from Pedro - I think most fans don't even know Martinez was a Dodger.

  7. I'm happy to see Piazza in the Hall. Pulling his cards those first 2-3 years of his career as the Dodgers was fun and I'm not a Dodger fan. Because of those early early years I primarily think of him as a Dodger, but I believe he should go in as a Met. I even forgot that he played for Oakland for a season.

    Yes, that Stained Glass card is great. Unfortunately I never pulled his card from a pack. Good to see it for the first time.

  8. Until you pointed it out, I assumed he was a Dodger longer than a Met. Dodger.

  9. I agree with lifetimetopps... Mike Piazza means much more to the Mets and their fans than he means to the Dodgers, and I believe Piazza understands and appreciates that. The fact that the Mets have kept #31 out of circulation and will likely retire it while the Dodgers gave it to guys like Tim Federowicz, Brandon League and Drew Butera illustrates the difference in the value placed on Piazza by the two organizations.

    Besides, if your employer had traded YOU to the Marlins, wouldn't you regard them with disdain?

    1. Star baseball players get traded all the time. Mike Piazza needs to get over his grudge. It's not healthy. As for whether the Mets or Dodgers "treated him better," I don't care. Like I said, this is an emotional argument. How Piazza "feels" about the teams he played for may matter to him or to Cooperstown, not to me.

  10. Dodgers... Mets... Padres. Where do the A's fall?

    P.S. Piazza will forever be a Dodger in my mind too.

  11. I'm just glad that my favorite player of all time is in the Hall of Fame.

    And, yes, Piazza will always be a Dodger to me!

  12. Piazza is my second favorite player, behind Griffey so Wednesday was a great day for me! I think of Piazza as a Dodger because that's where he started. That was my favorite team at the time and that's the team he became a star playing for. He had plenty of great years with the Mets, but he became a star with the Mets. It's the same way for me with Griffey. He started and became a start with the Mariners. I will always associate him with the Mariners. Pujols - Cardinals and so forth.