Best Hitting Catcher Ever
To think a guy destined to never pass A ball, could become the best hitting catcher is baseball history seems so far fetched. That’s exactly what Piazza did. When he, started playing, as Piazza said, “with a chip”, he was focused on improving his game. Winning 10 National League Silver Sluggers, being a constant threat for 30 home runs, and hitting above .300 every year will put you in small company in the record books.
If you look at how Piazza stacks up with others at his position, he is at the top of nearly every power offensive statistic and in the top 10 of every other offensive stat. Especially when compared to his modern day contemporaries. It’s nearly criminal that he had to wait as long as he did to get enough Hall of Fame votes.
Yes, Piazza played during an offense heavy era. Yes, he had unsubstantiated rumors of performance enhancing drug use attributed to him. Regardless of that, he was the catcher associated with hitting prowess.
For fans who saw him play, especially in his prime, it was easy to associate him with super human strength. He hit moonshots, he hit broken bat home runs, homers to opposite fields. His bomb in the 1996 All-Star Game in Philadelphia helped earn him the MVP Award. His most memorable home run was his blast to help beat the Braves on September 21, 2001. That was the first game played in New York following September 11th, secured his legacy as a Mets legend.
Piazza was truly a sight to see when he was at the plate.