Jan 06

Writers Do Right By Piazza

Finally. The Baseball Writers Association of America did right today by putting slugging catcher Mike Piazza into the Hall of Fame along with Ken Griffey. As far as I’m concerned my colleagues also got it right by keeping PED cheaters Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa out. I also think the writers whiffed with Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Mike Mussina.

Piazza, who fell 28 votes shy last year, received 365 votes for 83 percent of those cast to go in as history’s top home run hitting catcher and is arguably one of the top three of all time at the position along with Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra.

PIAZZA and SEAVER: The Mets' best. (AP)

PIAZZA and SEAVER: The Mets’ best. (AP)

“It’s the first time in a long time I’ve been speechless,” Piazza told the MLB Network. “Nothing can prepare you when you do get that call. It’s just something you can’t describe. …To be in an institution such as the Hall of Fame, is an amazing honor.”

Not surprisingly, Piazza mentioned his home run against Atlanta following 9-11 as a milestone memory.

“Obviously, a lot of people remember the home run in the first game after 9/11,” Piazza said. “When I think back now I start to get emotional. … From the first day in New York to the great teams we had in the late-90s, early 2000s was just very special.”

While the post 9-11 homer was clearly emotional, another memory came during the 2000 season when the Yankees’ Clemens beaned him, and then during the World Series – perhaps in a fit of Roid Rage – threw part of Piazza’s broken bat at him.

Piazza fell short in his previous three chances on the ballot because of the suspicion of PED use. But, other than a few busy-body writers talking about his back acne, Piazza never failed a drug test, did not appear on the Mitchell Report findings and never had another player accusing him on the record.

The same could not be said about Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and Sosa.

Because there was never any doubt he played cleanly, it was speculated Griffey would become the first unanimous selection, but inexplicably there were three writers who did not vote for Griffey. Presumably, their twisted line of thinking was there should not be a unanimous selection.

Normally I defend my colleagues, but not this time. While I don’t agree with those who vote for the PED users, there is no defending their logic. They got it right with Piazza, but these three voters hurt the BBWAA. Even so, Griffey went in with the highest percent of the vote to pass Seaver.

What remains for Piazza is the decision as to what cap he’ll go in with – the Hall says it should be where the player “made his biggest mark,” and that probably will be the Dodgers, and when the Mets will retire his number.

There should be not a matter of “if” Piazza’s No. 31 will be honored.

Jan 22

What about Griffey?

Ken Griffey, like a lot of people, is looking for work. He’s not ready to retire, and hitting 18 homers last season with 71 RBI in 490 at-bats. Not great, but good enough in a part time role.

While the Mets aren’t in it for Manny Ramirez, and I don’t believe they’ll be able to make a trade with the Yankees to reaquire Xavier Nady. They apparently, and this is too bad, aren’t interested in Adam Dunn.

Why not give Griffey a year? The guy still has his moments, and for one year, he’d be a good fit in left field.

Oct 29

What about Griffey?

Griffey: Would he fit in for a year?

Griffey: Would he fit in for a year?

This time, Ken Griffey would be a full-season rental. The White Sox will not re-sign Griffey, making him a free agent and available to the Mets.

Griffey falls into the category of an old player with an injury history, just the type GM Omar Minaya has been criticized of pursuing. Even so, he hit 18 homers with 71 RBI in 490 at-bats, so there’s still life in his bat.

Griffey has never been enamored with New York, but that was the Yankees. Griffey would only cost the Mets money, and a lot less than they’d pay for Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn. The best thing is they won’t have to dip into their farm system.

So, if they want a rental bat for a year, Griffey could be a viable alternative. He doesn’t make the Mets younger, but improves their bench and outfield for a minimal cost.