Wednesday, July 13, 2016

No hard feelings, Mike

Tonight, MLB Network will air a documentary on Mike Piazza called "Against All Odds." The title refers to Piazza's lack of status as a prospect, his selection in the 62nd round of the 1988 amateur draft, and the fact that he is the lowest draft choice -- by far -- to make the Baseball Hall of Fame.

That, to me, is the story of Mike Piazza: how he somehow turned complete disregard for his talents into one of the greatest catching careers of all-time. He will be inducted July 24th in Cooperstown.

He will be inducted as a Met, not a Dodger, and I've already made my feelings known on this issue. It's clear he considers himself more emotionally aligned with the Mets, and I can't argue that point for obvious reasons. And although he has made the minimum amount effort to acknowledge the Dodger aspect of his career, it's also clear that he holds a grudge against the Dodgers.

Yep, the Dodgers traded him away. They didn't give him the contract he wanted. Both mistakes on the Dodgers' part. But to not equally acknowledge the Dodgers' contribution to his career on par with the Mets (the Dodgers drafted him when no one else would as a favor to Piazza's father, a friend of Tommy Lasorda, and the Dodgers' Reggie Smith convinced Piazza not to quit when Piazza was struggling in the minors) screams bitterness to me.

But I'm not upset. It's Piazza's issue. He needs to figure out that life is too short.

Me? When Piazza is going into the Hall of Fame as a Met, I will be going through all of my Piazza cards of him as a Dodger.

I just received several more from Scott of Scott Crawford On Cards the other day. There are some really cool ones:

This gets me even closer to 500 separate Mike Piazza Dodger cards. I have no idea whether Piazza has more Met cards or Dodger cards. I'd like to think he has more Dodger cards, but you know New York, and Topps' love for New York.

However, the sheer number of Dodger Piazzas that I have (I often wonder whether Kershaw or Piazza will win the battle for my collection) erases any animosity I might have had for the unanimous 1993 Rookie of the Year.

It makes me say, "no hard feelings, Mike. Look at all the great Dodger cards I have of you. You were a Dodger, and you did great things as a Dodger, and it's all there on cards that will be around forever that nobody can make go away no matter how hard they try."

OK, so maybe there is still a smidge of hard feeling.

Scott also sent some cards of people who aren't being inducted into the Hall before the month is out:

Good stuff.

He also sent another non-Dodger card that I'm saving for a different post. It's pretty interesting. To me, anyway.

It's going to be rough watching the Hall ceremony this year. The Metsiness of Piazza's moment, the boisterous Mets fans, will be tough to take, but I'm trying to be a bigger person.

Meanwhile, I'll definitely watch the Piazza documentary tonight (what, you think I'd be watching the ESPY's?) -- where against all odds, Mike Piazza became a Dodger.

(Update: The documentary showed Piazza's 1989 Salem minor league card and his 1990 Vero Beach Star card. One day they will be mine!)


  1. Just so you know.... As a rabid die-hard Mets fan, I think Piazza should probably go into the Hall as a Dodger...or at least with one of those team-neutral hats. Not that he wasn't a great Met; he absolutely was. But he does owe his career to the Dodgers or at least I feel that way. OTOH, there are lots of residents of the Hall sporting a Dodger cap and so few (well, just the one so far) wearing the NY of the Mets. We need this. Think of it as a "pity" induction (my fellow Mets fans will kill me for that). I grew up just nine miles from Cooperstown and was just old enough to discover baseball and become a Mets fan in 1962. Imagine the young mind visiting the Hall through the 60s and 70s with no one representing his team. No explanation that the Mets were a relatively new franchise at the time could ease that confusion, disappointment and, yes, pain.

    1. I'd be ok with a team-neutral hat. I think it's something the Hall should consider in the future as there's bound to be more and more inducted players who are closely identified with more than one team.

    2. I think he should go in as a Marlin!

    3. Maddux, who is much more clearly a Brave than Piazza is a Met or a Dodger, asked for team neutral and got it. It's interesting to contrast Maddux and Piazza from that perspective, but to each his own.

      I'm neutral, but I will always think of him as a Dodger. He had his absolute best years in LA but I guess spent longer in NYC. To me he seems like a good guy who has just taken a few things a little personally. I hope he can get past that because it would probably serve him well.

  2. I think the picture on his plaque should be of him dodging the piece of bat that Clemens threw at him in a fit of steroid rage.

  3. If anyone is interested in cards of him as a Met I just got a bunch that will be up for trade.

  4. I believe he has more cards as a Met, but should go in as a Dodger. Life is too short to hold a grudge.

  5. FWIW my memories of Piazza are almost exclusively as a Dodger. I'd left the room before he went to the Mets.

    Also FWIW I don't like the idea of generic caps on H-O-F plaques. But I support letting the player decide and if he wants a blank one so be it.

  6. A. I've gotta find access to this documentary.

    B. Piazza is one of the greatest players to ever play for both of my favorite teams (right up there with Fingers and Henderson)... but I'll always remember him as a Dodger.

    C. On the flipside... I'll always remember Gonzo for his years in San Diego even though when his career is over, he will have likely played way more games with the Dodgers.