QUEENS, N.Y. >> The theme for Mike Piazza’s Hall of Fame induction week was to thank all of the people who helped him make it all possible.

The week capped off with his No. 31 being retired by the New York Mets Saturday night at Citi Field.

The Hall of Fame catcher thanked everyone again throughout the special evening. He was honored again during a home game against the Colorado Rockies that drew a large crowd on a rainy night.

“This is so special going full circle,” said Piazza. “I am here with all of my family tonight. I thought about my dad and all that he did for me. It is so special to share this with him.”

He is also grateful to the Mets organization for making him one of a select few players to have their numbers retired since the team was founded as a National League expansion franchise back in 1962 and played its games at Shea Stadium.

The former Los Angeles Dodgers low-round draft choice was able to get the number 31 from the Mets that was already being worn by pitcher John Franco.

“I would have bribed him,” laughed Piazza, the 1986 graduate of Phoenixville Area High School.

He was so happy and thrilled to be back in New York since he now lives in Florida with his family.

“I am glad they did it,” said Piazza. “This is really awesome. This is just really a special time for me and my family.”

He said entering the Hall of Fame is an honor that you share with so many people who helped you achieve the feat.

“I did the work but they all helped me,” said Piazza. “They helped me do the right work and the right things.”

Piazza’s No. 31 joins Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver’s No. 41 above the outfield wall. Seaver was part of the ceremony.

Piazza’s 31 is also on the Big Apple for New York that will pop up whenever a Met player hits a home run. His number 31 was imprinted in the outfield for the big night.

Finally, Piazza was asked how he wanted to be remembered for such a fascinating, incredible, unexpected Hall of Fame career in Major League Baseball.

“It is summed up on the plaque,” said Piazza. “I was durable. I went out and played every day and produced at a position that is difficult to play. They could count on me to go behind the plate and produce.

“It is one of life’s lessons. If you are willing to do the work and stay determined, you can make anything possible.”

comments powered by Disqus