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OnBaseMachine
05-20-2008, 04:20 PM
Piazza retires after 19 seasons

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Mike Piazza is retiring from baseball following a 19-season career in which he became one of the top-hitting catchers in history.

"After discussing my options with my wife, family and agent, I felt it is time to start a new chapter in my life," he said in a statement released by his agent, Dan Lozano. "It has been an amazing journey."

The 39-year-old Piazza was not on a team this season.

Taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 amateur draft, Piazza became a 12-time All-Star, making the NL team 10 consecutive times starting in 1993.

He finished with a .308 career average, 427 home runs and 1,335 RBIs for the Dodgers (1992-98), Florida (1998), New York Mets (1998-05), San Diego (2006) and Oakland (2007).

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080520&content_id=2735681&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

OnBaseMachine
05-20-2008, 04:22 PM
Piazza was always one of my favorite hitters to watch. The power he had to the opposite field was amazing. I'll miss watching him play.

WMR
05-20-2008, 04:23 PM
Is he a first-ballot hall of famer?

dabvu2498
05-20-2008, 04:23 PM
Is he a first-ballot hall of famer?

Absolutely.

Cyclone792
05-20-2008, 04:24 PM
Is he a first-ballot hall of famer?

He should be easily. One of the greatest catchers ever.

Matt700wlw
05-20-2008, 04:24 PM
If a player isn't a first ballot HOFer, should they be a HOFer?

It's silly when "experts" say, "he'll get in the hall of fame, but not on the first ballot."


You're either a HOFer or you're not.

WMR
05-20-2008, 04:25 PM
Cool. I figured so.

WMR
05-20-2008, 04:25 PM
If a player isn't a first ballot HOFer, should they be a HOFer?

It's silly when "experts" say, "he'll get in the hall of fame, but not on the first ballot."


You're either a HOFer or you're not.

It seems like it should be that way, doesn't it.

MasonBuzz3
05-20-2008, 04:40 PM
Piazza was one of my favorite opposing players during his career. He is one of the few players that motivated me to go to a Reds game, other than to see the Reds. The way he would drive the ball to the right center gap was incredible to see in person. I remember that I would always have to make some absurd trade to get him on my Reds team in Triple Play every year.

Best hitting catcher ever?

Chip R
05-20-2008, 04:42 PM
Does his awesome hitting outweigh his poor defense enough to be a HOFer?

paintmered
05-20-2008, 04:43 PM
Does his awesome hitting outweigh his poor defense enough to be a HOFer?

Yes.

rotnoid
05-20-2008, 04:43 PM
Best hitting catcher ever?

Most likely. Especially in the power categories. And to finish up with a .308 average, not too shabby. Definite no doubt HOFer.

WMR
05-20-2008, 04:44 PM
Who was the better offensive catcher in his prime: Piazza or Bench?

BRM
05-20-2008, 04:46 PM
Who was the better offensive catcher in his prime: Piazza or Bench?

Just taking a quick glance at OPS+, I'd have to say Piazza.

MasonBuzz3
05-20-2008, 04:46 PM
Does his awesome hitting outweigh his poor defense enough to be a HOFer?

absolutely...i actually thought that Piazza was underrated defensively, not throwing out runners, but as a receiver and handling pitchers

OldRightHander
05-20-2008, 04:49 PM
He should be easily. One of the greatest hitting catchers ever.

Figured I'd add the modifier for you. I always liked watching him hit, but if you wanted to pad your stolen base numbers, he was the one you wanted to face. Great career though and I figure he'll probably make the hall, deservedly so.

Unassisted
05-20-2008, 05:05 PM
If a player isn't a first ballot HOFer, should they be a HOFer?

It's silly when "experts" say, "he'll get in the hall of fame, but not on the first ballot."

You're either a HOFer or you're not.
And it might actually work that way if there were term limits on HOF voters. The voting body is dominated by curmudgeons with axes to grind.

The Baumer
05-20-2008, 05:09 PM
No way is he a HOFer.

Hall of famers play in black and white, go off to war in their prime, and date Marilyn Monroe. They played during the best, most magical era in the game, an era that somehow conveniently overlapped with our childhood and our father's childhood. Purely coincidental though. True HOF'ers glow. They eat raw beef and don't wash their hands after using the restroom.

I've seen Mike Piazza play.

You NEVER get to see a true HOF'er play.

Dom Heffner
05-20-2008, 06:35 PM
Does his awesome hitting outweigh his poor defense enough to be a HOFer?


His awesome hitting from the position is what will make him a hall of famer. Best hitting catcher ever. Poor defender in a time where the stolen base lost much of its value and power hitters reigned. You didn't need to be the best defender during the 1990s.

First ballot, no brainer, he's in like Flynn (which was a saying closer to the time of that Marilyn Monroe stuff Baumer was referring to LOL).

redsfan4445
05-20-2008, 06:46 PM
i went to a game and got to watch him take batting practice in the old Riverfront stadium. He put a ball in the Red seats in Left center field(before they knocked that part down)!! i was like WOW what a hit! thought he might end up playing one more year but it didnt happen..

RedlegJake
05-20-2008, 06:46 PM
Who was the better offensive catcher in his prime: Piazza or Bench?

There have been a few catchers probably better than Bench strictly in offense. Piazza would be one, imo. The comparison ends there however. It was Johnny's incredible arm -quick release - dead on acuracy, his blocking, framing and receiving skills, his agility behind the plate, his speed for a catcher (he was ML average speed wise in his prime but for a catcher that's fast), he was a heckuva base runner, very smart aggressive, game calling, if anything his bat was the weakest part of his game. That should tell you how good he was behind the dish.

RedlegJake
05-20-2008, 06:49 PM
Another thing that often gets forgotten is, like Pujols, nobody wanted him. He practically had to beg for a chance and if he didn't have a family member who was afreind of LaSorda he may not have.

Cyclone792
05-20-2008, 06:54 PM
Figured I'd add the modifier for you. I always liked watching him hit, but if you wanted to pad your stolen base numbers, he was the one you wanted to face. Great career though and I figure he'll probably make the hall, deservedly so.

True, but as Dom pointed out the stolen base went into hibernation during Piazza's career so his weak arm didn't hurt him as much as it would have in other eras. Catcher defense is pretty tough to judge outside of a throwing arm, but one phrase I've heard describe Piazza's defense is "good receiver with a poor arm."

All that considered, he was a catcher when he did his damage and deserves to be ranked alongside other catchers. I personally have Piazza 4th all-time (as an overall catcher, including offense and defense) behind Gibson, Bench, and Berra. Piazza is likely the greatest hitting catcher in MLB history; defense does push Bench and Berra past Piazza for me. The greatest offensive season by a catcher in MLB history may be Piazza's 1997 season whereas the greatest overall season by a catcher in MLB history may be Bench's 1972 season.

Josh Gibson was probably better than all of them, though.

BCubb2003
05-21-2008, 01:30 AM
It makes me wonder what Hall of Famer played with the most teams?

RedsBaron
05-21-2008, 06:44 AM
Piazza should make the HOF on the first ballot, but I will never regard him as having been a greater catcher than Johnny Bench or Yogi Berra, among others. If I had Piazza and Bench on my team, both in their primes, Bench would start, period; I might try to play Piazza at first base or leftfield or DH, but Bench would be my catcher.
I wouldn't always go with the better defensive player. Brooks Robinson was probably the better fielder than Mike Schmidt, but Schmidt would start on my all time team. Ozzie Smith was probably the greatest fielding shortstop ever, but there may be ten or more shortstops that outrank him at that positionfor overall ability. Richie Ashburn has perhaps the greatest fielding statistics of any outfielder ever, but no way does he start over Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio or several others.
At catcher though, in Piazza you have a guy who was a great hitter who played his whole career out of position. He was a terrific hitter, but no way was he a terrific catcher.

dabvu2498
05-21-2008, 08:00 AM
It makes me wonder what Hall of Famer played with the most teams?

Without looking, I'm going to say Gaylord Perry.

Yachtzee
05-21-2008, 09:03 AM
Piazza should make the HOF on the first ballot, but I will never regard him as having been a greater catcher than Johnny Bench or Yogi Berra, among others. If I had Piazza and Bench on my team, both in their primes, Bench would start, period; I might try to play Piazza at first base or leftfield or DH, but Bench would be my catcher.
I wouldn't always go with the better defensive player. Brooks Robinson was probably the better fielder than Mike Schmidt, but Schmidt would start on my all time team. Ozzie Smith was probably the greatest fielding shortstop ever, but there may be ten or more shortstops that outrank him at that positionfor overall ability. Richie Ashburn has perhaps the greatest fielding statistics of any outfielder ever, but no way does he start over Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio or several others.
At catcher though, in Piazza you have a guy who was a great hitter who played his whole career out of position. He was a terrific hitter, but no way was he a terrific catcher.

I think that's a valid point. If Piazza had played before the HR era, would he have stayed at the catcher position? I think he's a Hall-of-Famer, but I suspect that he stayed at catcher as long as he did because he played in an era where SLG is king and the stolen base has had less value. If Piazza played in the '70s, do you think a team might have moved him to left field in favor of someone with better defense/arm behind the plate?

Chip R
05-21-2008, 09:11 AM
If Piazza played in the '70s, do you think a team might have moved him to left field in favor of someone with better defense/arm behind the plate?


Good question. Perhaps he would have been a DH. But, if not, I'm sure he would have found some position to play. Guys with a bat like that wind up someplace.

Yachtzee
05-21-2008, 09:31 AM
Good question. Perhaps he would have been a DH. But, if not, I'm sure he would have found some position to play. Guys with a bat like that wind up someplace.

No doubt. Plus, it's not like he was completely inept in the field. It's just that his defense, specifically his arm, wasn't the best at a position where defense was highly valued in past eras.

Matt700wlw
05-21-2008, 04:50 PM
And it might actually work that way if there were term limits on HOF voters. The voting body is dominated by curmudgeons with axes to grind.

Some of these writers who vote for these things need to leave their egos at the door. You had a beef with a legit HOFer...get over it.

Some of them think they they're WAY more important than they really are

cumberlandreds
05-21-2008, 07:29 PM
Without looking, I'm going to say Gaylord Perry.

He was the first one I thought of when I saw that question. He played with a bunch of teams at the end of his career.

Highlifeman21
05-21-2008, 08:26 PM
It makes me wonder what Hall of Famer played with the most teams?

Gaylord Perry?

Big Klu
05-22-2008, 02:13 AM
His awesome hitting from the position is what will make him a hall of famer. Best hitting catcher ever. Poor defender in a time where the stolen base lost much of its value and power hitters reigned. You didn't need to be the best defender during the 1990s.

First ballot, no brainer, he's in like Flynn (which was a saying closer to the time of that Marilyn Monroe stuff Baumer was referring to LOL).

Doug Flynn? :D