Mike Piazza will make his first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot next year and the 12-time All-Star catcher wants to wear a Mets hat on his plaque.
Piazza was interviewed yesterday while at Madison Square Garden in New York for the Knicks-Nuggets game and replied “it’s gotta be the Mets, no question” when asked which team he’d like to represent in Cooperstown.
That’s not surprising, but it also may not matter because players don’t get to decide which hat they wear. That decision is made by the Hall of Fame and in Piazza’s case they have a tough call to make.
Piazza played more games for the Mets (972) than he did for the Dodgers (726), but he was a better player in Los Angeles than he was in New York. He hit .331 with a .966 OPS and 33.6 Wins Above Replacement for the Dodgers, compared to .296 with a .915 OPS and 24.6 Wins Above Replacement for the Mets. And while Piazza’s lone World Series appearance came with the Mets, his Rookie of the Year award and pair of runner-up MVP finishes all came with the Dodgers.
Piazza is about as close as a Hall of Famer can get to having his career split evenly between two teams and he also played briefly for the Padres, A’s, and Marlins. I’d lean toward the Dodgers because they drafted him, developed him, and were the team for which he debuted and emerged as a superstar, but Piazza clearly thinks of himself as a Met, played more games for the Mets, and was certainly a great player in New York even if he was better in Los Angeles.
And of course all this speculation assumes that the Hall of Fame voters will do the right thing and elect Piazza, which I suppose is no certainty at this point.
The Dodgers and Astros have selected their starters for Game 1 of the World Series. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel will open the series for the Astros, while fellow lefty Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the first of two home games at Dodger Stadium.
Keuchel, 29, has been a steady presence for the Astros this postseason. He clinched Game 2 of the ALDS with 5 2/3 innings of one-run, seven-strikeout ball against the Red Sox and returned for his second postseason win with seven scoreless innings against the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS. He was outmatched in Game 5 of the Championship Series, however, scattering four runs and eight strikeouts across 4 2/3 innings while the Yankees worked their way up to a 5-0 shutout. Nevertheless, he’s perhaps the Astros’ strongest arm behind ALCS MVP Justin Verlander and has not surrendered a single home run in 17 1/3 consecutive innings this postseason.
Kershaw, on the other hand, has had a less consistent track record in the playoffs. While his postseason yips have been well-documented thus far, his struggles on the mound haven’t always led to disaster — at least not this time around. The Dodgers are 3-0 in all three of Kershaw’s starts this month and enjoyed a quality start from their ace during Game 5 of the NLCS last Thursday. The 29-year-old southpaw recorded his second win of the playoffs with a run, three hits, a walk and five strikeouts over six innings. Unlike Keuchel, he’s given up a home run in each of his outings to date (and four homers in Game 1 of the NLDS).
Game 1 is set for Tuesday evening at 8:00 PM ET. The Dodgers have home field advantage through Games 1 and 2 before the series moves to Houston, and will try to capitalize on that advantage in order to extend their postseason winning streak at Dodger Stadium. They’re 4-0 at home and 3-1 on the road this October, while the Astros boast a 6-0 advantage in Houston and a significantly less impressive 1-4 record away from home.