Former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza was one of two players voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Here are some of this thoughts on that, and other things:
Why did it take until fourth time on ballot, and what was the wait like?
“As I’ve said many times before, when you put everything in historical perspective, Yogi Berra had like four ballots. Joe DiMaggio had three ballots. And so myself being sort of a student of the history of the game, and having respect for the process, it was nail-biting at times but I had a tremendous amount of support throughout my career from the writers and the fans. ... I don’t want to say it was difficult. All of the emotions came into it every year, but again, knowing the history of the game and how many great players throughout this game had to wait years, sometimes many years, it keeps it in perspective.”
Will you wear a Mets cap on the Hall of Fame plaque? And what will it mean to be the second Met to do so, joining Tom Seaver?
“Officially I’m under strict orders to defer that question until tomorrow from the Hall. Trust me, I’ll be a good soldier and we’ll make it official tomorrow. In light of what you said, I think the Mets have such a unique fanbase, not only in the city but across the country. It’s just something I can’t describe. It’s a mixture of love and frustration and ups and downs. The emotions are very strong. It’s one of those things, as a visiting player, I knew coming to New York, it wasn’t a comfortable place to play.”
Do you plan to be at spring training with the Mets this year?
“I was there for the last few weeks of the season, the Sunday night game and the World Series. I have a great relationship with the front office there. We have nothing planned yet. We’ll see. Obviously Jeff [Wilpon] and Sandy [Alderson] and Terry [Collins], if they want me to come by, I’ll definitely listen. But we have nothing structured right now.”
What would it mean if the Mets retired your number, joining Tom Seaver as the only players with that honor?
“That’s their choice. What would it mean? I was blessed to talk to Tom a few weeks ago, just out of the blue. I just wanted to give him a call and see how his wine was doing. He’s a special guy. He’s a special player in the history of this game. And so, obviously, to be in the same Hall as Tom Seaver is an honor. So anything from here on out would be just complete icing on top of the icing. I’m not assuming anything, but Tommy is great. And the one thing about the Mets is just the unique connection the fans do have with the history of the game.”
Are you bothered when people make accusations against you alleging steroid use and just cite acne on the back?
“Today is just a day that I really want to celebrate my career and dwell on the positive parts of my career. So many of those things are just out of my control. It’s just something I can’t worry about. It’s an interesting world today. There are so many outlets out there. For me, as a player, as I’ve said, I’ve been blessed to focus on my job. When I showed up and played, I had a lot to prepare to play. That’s kind of what I focused on. As a player, you put all the numbers up you can, and you work as hard as you can, and it’s like an artist -- you put it out there and people can be critical and people can be complimentary. I’ve been blessed that a lot of people have been very complimentary. I’ve truly found it healthy in life to just be positive, try to set a good example, try to be appreciative of your blessings, and just kind of keep it at that. That’s the freedom we have. You can say these things, and that’s the country we live in. But, at the end of the day, you can do so much as a player. That’s what I focus on.”