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Which team should Mike Piazza represent in Cooperstown?

By C. Trent Rosecrans | Blogger
Mike Piazza played for five different teams in his 16 seasons in the big leagues. (Getty Images)

If Mike Piazza gets the call from Cooperstown on Jan. 9, the next question will be just which team he represents on his plaque? In his 16-year career, Piazza played for five different teams. Here's how his career stats break down:

Team
Years
Games
AVG/OBP/SLG
Hits
HR
OPS+
bWAR
Mets
8
972
.296/.373/.542
1,028
220
136
22.8
Dodgers
7
726
.331/.394/.572
896
177
160
30.7
Athletics
1
83
.275/.313/.414
85
8
95
-1.1
Padres
1
126
.283/.342/.501
113
22
122
1.6
Marlins
1
5
.278/.263/.389
5
0
74
-0.1
Totals
16
1,912
.308/.377/.545
2,127
427
143
56.1

Well, the A's, Padres and Marlins are out -- but we didn't need a chart to tell us that. The question, as it did from the beginning, revolves around the Dodgers and Mets.

Piazza played longer with the Mets, but he was drafted and developed by the Dodgers. He has more hits and homers in a New York uniform, but his rate stats and bWAR numbers are much better for his time in Los Angeles. Piazza also won his Rookie of the Year Award with the Dodgers and of his seven top 10 MVP finishes, five came with the Dodgers and two with the Mets. He appeared in five All-Star Games as a representative of the Dodgers and seven in a Mets uniform.

As for intangibles, the Piazza origin story of a 62nd round draft pick taken because his father asked Tommy Lasorda for a favor (though there are conflicting reports of the validity of that story, it makes a heck of a story anyway), connects him with the Dodgers. Growing up in Philadelphia, because of his father's friendship with Lasorda, Piazza would serve as a Dodgers batboy. As a result, Piazza is forever linked to Lasorda, a Dodger icon.

Piazza appeared in 32 postseason games in his career, 22 of those with the Mets, including his only World Series appearance (2000). He also produced in one of the biggest moments in New York sports history -- as his two-run homer in the eighth inning of the first game played in New York after the 2001 terrorist attacks gave the Mets a 3-2 victory over the Braves.

In the end, it's tough for me to pick either. I'd be fine with either one, but there's a third option (that's perhaps equally a cop-out), but since he's a catcher, what about a catcher's helmet, sans mask?

How about this option for Mike Piazza's plaque in Cooperstown? (Getty Images)

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