What cap will Mike Piazza wear in the Hall of Fame?

*Initial note: I’m a Mets fan. Bias is inevitable.

As talk surrounding the Hall of Fame swirls, I thought it would be interesting to look ahead to 2012, when (barring some amazing comeback/terrible voting/Mayan-predicted apocalypse) Mike Piazza will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The case is pretty clear cut, and the only question will be which cap Piazza is wearing on his Hall plaque. Remember, because of some shady dealings with Wade Boggs‘ selection, the Hall decided to choose the hat for the players back in 2001, although the player’s wishes are still heavily taken into account.

Value

For his overall playing time, I decided to look at Sean Smith’s WAR database (rWAR), as well as Fangraphs WAR (fWAR) for as long it goes back.

Year     Team      rWAR      fWAR
1992     Dodgers    0
1993     Dodgers    7
1994     Dodgers    4
1995     Dodgers    6.3
1996     Dodgers    6.1
1997     Dodgers    9.3
1998     Dodgers    0.9
1998     Mets       5.5
1999     Mets       4.3
2000     Mets       5.2
2001     Mets       4.2
2002     Mets       3       5.3
2003     Mets       2       2.4
2004     Mets      -0.4     2
2005     Mets       0.8     2.7

Dodgers rWAR: 33.6
Mets rWAR: 24.6
Mets rWAR (1998-2001)+ fWAR (2002-2005): 31.6

Tango and Smith disagree greatly on Piazza’s years as a Met from 2002 on, so we have to look at both. Overall, it’s pretty clear that Piazza played his best ball as a Dodger. While he was certainly fantastic as a Met, he put up some dominant numbers in LA. He had an OPS+of 159 while wearing LA blue and 136 donning the blue and orange. Also, if his defense was ever any good, it was most likely when he was younger and more athletic, rather than his older days in New York.

Service Time

Los Angeles: 7 seasons, 726 games, 3017 PA, 896 hits, 177 homers

New York: 9 seasons, 972 games, 3941 PA, 1028 hits, 220 homers

In terms of bulk, New York wins by a decent amount. It’s not a ton, but it’s enough to put some separation between the two stints.

Non-Regular Season Stuff

Los Angeles: 6 playoff games, 26 playoff at-bats, 0 playoff series wins, 6 all-star selections, 6 silver sluggers, 1 Rookie of the Year, 1 All-Star MVP

New York: 22 playoff games, 86 playoff at-bats, 3 playoff series wins (1 NL Championship), 6 all-star selections, 4 silver sluggers

It’s really tough to actually weigh these things meaningfully, but the playoff time seems to push this one closer to New York.

Miscellaneous

Mike is extremely close with Mr. Dodger, Tommy Lasorda?

May I Have Your Autograph, Please?
The payoff of being polite.

Piazza’s dramatic post-9/11 homerun may actually be a subtle tipping point in the whole matter. In debating things with little real world significance, Mike did something that really moved a city in a troubling time, as simple or silly as it may seem.

Final Thoughts

Although he played better ball as a Dodger, he played longer while on the Mets, and exposed himself to the playoffs and the New York media, ultimately cementing himself as part of the franchise. Again, I admit personal bias, but if I had to guess, I’d say Mike goes into the Hall of Fame in 2012 with a NY cap on his head.


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Pat Andriola is an Analyst at Bloomberg Sports who formerly worked in Major League Baseball's Labor Relations Department. You can contact him at Patrick.Andriola@tufts.edu or follow him on Twitter @tuftspat

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17 Comments on "What cap will Mike Piazza wear in the Hall of Fame?"

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Guy Kipp
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Guy Kipp

Right now, a Mets cap adorns just one player in the Hall of Fame. After Andre Dawson goes in, there’ll be two Expos caps and one Mets cap on the plaques.
Piazza is a Mets icon. He is NOT a Dodger icon. When Shea Stadium closed, Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza were chosen as the “battery” for the last ceremonial pitch.
Piazza has to go in as a Met—much moreso than Gary Carter.

John Northey
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John Northey

This is a lot like the Carlton Fisk Red Sox/White Sox situation.  Very close in playing time for both with a bit more for the 2nd team although most fans remember the first team better.

I’ve always seen Piazza as a Dodger, but the case for him as a Met is a lot stronger than Fisk as a White Sox or Carter as a Met.

Rusty
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Rusty

His best rate of RBI per game came as a Florida Marlin, so he should wear a Marlins cap.

john m
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john m

first, not to be this guy, but because i’m a copy editor: the headline should read ‘wear’, not ‘where’…

second, i would read plenty of sentiment into his dodger days – was drafted there, close with lasorda, put up big numbers – and think maybe that takes the lean.

Pat Andriola
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Pat Andriola

Ha, decided that if I wrote it at 2:30 ET AM I could post it and edit after. Whoops, thanks for catching my mistake.

He does have some Dodger sentiment, but as I said, it’s tough to weigh those things, especially when he has a ton of NY sentiment as well (lives there, does stuff for the Mets post-retirement, etc.)

Will
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Will

Why can’t we all just get along? With all of these so called answer’s made up by all of these so and so’s.Like Value,Service Time,Non-Regular Season Stuff,Miscellaneous,Final Thoughts,john m,Pat Andriola,Ken,Michael Caragliano,Guy Kipp,John Northey and Rusty and all of the newbie’s.All they talk about are the team’s or the player’s.Grow up.And,if you have a problem with that,you can keep saying it,or don’t say it at all.It’s up to you.Now,you may say something bad about my comment,but I don’t care.I could care less.

Ken
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Ken

It’s true.  If he’s going to remember anything about LA, he’s most likely to remember his unceremonious trade and not getting to stay in the city where he’d done so much and played so well.  New York is also fresher in memory and wasn’t bad for him, so my bet’s that he goes in as a Met. 

Oh, and not that it matters, but I’m a die-hard Dodger fan and I will love Mike Piazza til the day I die.  Even if he does go in as a Met.

Duke
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Duke

What about his alleged use of ‘roids?  There have been several reports in the New York tabloids about Piazza’s back acne and other indications of steroid use.  Does it seem odd that a 60th round pick is considered a Hall of Famer?  Are only steroid users who’ve been caught going to be voted down?

Michael Caragliano
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Michael Caragliano

Coincidentally, he’s not even the first Mets catcher to get caught up in this mess. Gary Carter intiallly wanted a Mets cap on his plaque, and the Hall said no, you’ll get an Expos cap. Maybe the answer is for catchers to go in with the cap backwards- leave it up to the viewer to decide which logo is on the other side (that way, both of Piazza’s loyal San Diego fans can imagine an “SD” on the cap)

Travis Bickle
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Travis Bickle

This may be news to you stat geeks but Piazza is not going to be elected to the hall in 2012. As a known steroid abuser he will be hard pressed to garner more votes than Big Mac. Oh and please don`t waste time telling me how he was never caught doing any of that. Everyone knew of his use. Well everyone but the posters here it seems.

Sean Smith
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Sean Smith

I vote with Rusty.  Piazza the Marlin.

My guess on the disagreement between my WAR and Fangraphs:  1. Fangraphs doesn’t have catcher defense data. 2. Mine are slightly lower across the board.

Bill
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Bill

Fred Wilpon basically kept Piazza on for the last few years of his Mets run to try and build up the service time needed to make a case for that second Mets hat on a Cooperstown plaque rather than trade him away while he still had some value. Might as well let Freddy have his day in the sun watching Piazza go in with the NY.

Greg
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Greg

I think it’s pretty clear that Piazza will choose to go in as a Met.  He was more productive as a Dodger, but that’s irrelevant, since the Hall will let Piazza make the choice in this case.

On the other hand, I hope the Hall does the right thing and does not let Dawson choose.  Dawson understandably would choose to go in as a Cub but he spent far more time as An Expo.  We’ll see if the Hall follows its own rules with him.

Paul Moehringer
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Paul Moehringer

He established himself in Los Angeles, but I’ll always think of him as a Met first.

You look at the best moments of his career and it’s almost always him wearing a Mets uniform.

Amol
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Amol

Pat, you’ve missed the most important argument for Piazza to wear a Mets cap into the hall, which is that no one ever wrote a song called “Piazza, Los Angeles Catcher”.

http://www.belleandsebastian.com/recordings.php?release=3&view=lyrics&lyrics=125

John
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John

Mike should go to the hall as a Met. He set the mets club record in RBI,s and the major league record for homeruns while playing for the Mets.

Robert Scptt
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Only a Met fan remembers and considers him as a player who should go in the Hall as a Met. The rest of the baseball world knows and understands that he’s a Dodger, through and through. From his batboy days through his rise in the Majors, Piazza and the Dodgers are synonomous. Only the jerkoffs at Fox, that owned the Dodgers for a short while, would have traded him.

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