BY DAVID RUSSELL
Mike Piazza had his number 31 retired by the Mets in a pregame ceremony before Saturday’s loss to the Rockies. The new Hall of Famer said, during a press conference on Saturday, that he can take his son to Citi Field in a few years and show off.
“He’s too young now to kind of realize, but it’s going to be fun to take him to a game here and say, ‘Hey, you know your dad was cool once.’”
There aren’t many Mets to be honored with retired numbers. Original Mets manager Casey Stengel had his number 37 retired when he stepped away from baseball in 1965. Gil Hodges, manager of the 1969 World Series champions, had his number 14 retired in 1973, one year after his death. The Franchise, Tom Seaver, had his number 41 retired in 1988. And Jackie Robinson’s 42 was retired around the league in 1997.
Number 31, which hadn’t been reissued since Piazza last played for the Mets in 2005, joined the rafters. “I think it’s great that the Mets keep it very, very exclusive,” Piazza said. “So that’s even that much more special.”
There were plenty of great moments, including his mammoth homer off Ramiro Mendoza during the 1999 Subway Series, his home run to cap off a 10-run inning on fireworks night 2000 and his home run against Atlanta in the first game in New York City after 9/11.
During his Hall of Fame speech, Piazza told fans that the seven-and-a-half seasons he spent as a Met seemed to fly by. The greatest hitting catcher explained how that could be, especially when some seasons, specifically 2002-2004, seemed to go very slowly. “When you get into the minutiae of the season and you go through those tough parts like the team is going through now, it may not seem like it’s as quick, but generally, I heard a great expression, ‘The days are long but the years are short’ and that’s what I would describe it as,” Piazza said.