Mets fans will have 31 reasons to celebrate baseball’s newest Hall of Fame inductee this July.
The Mets announced on Monday that they would retire beloved catcher Mike Piazza’s number, 31, on July 30 at Citi Field as part of a three-day celebration of the greatest hitting catcher in baseball history.
Piazza was elected earlier this month by the Baseball Writers of America to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He joined the Mets in 1998 and became fan favorite overnight, leading the Mets to the World Series in 2000 and hitting a number of dramatic home runs along the way during his seven years with Queens’ only professional sports team.
When his number is retired this July, Piazza will be only the second position player in Mets history to receive such an honor, the other being Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver, whose 41 was retired in 1988. The Mets also retired the numbers of two managers: Casey Stengel’s 37 in 1965 and Gil Hodges’ 14 following his sudden death in 1972. Number 42 is retired by all 30 Major League Baseball teams in honor of Jackie Robinson.
“We are truly thrilled to honor Mike by retiring his number during a weekend-long celebration recognizing his incredible career,” Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon said in a statement. “His offensive prowess, ability to deliver in the clutch and tireless work ethic helped him become one of the great catchers of all time.”
“It is such a tremendous honor to have my number retired alongside the great Tom Seaver,” Piazza said. “My time as a Met was truly special, and I want to thank Fred [Wilpon], [Mets President] Saul Katz, Jeff [Wilpon] and the entire organization for this incredible gesture.”
The festivities coincide with the Mets three-game home series against the Colorado Rockies. Piazza’s number will be retired in a pre-game ceremony scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 30. The Mets are offering special Piazza-themed promotions for fans attending the other games that weekend. All fans attending the Friday night game will receive a replica Piazza jersey, while the first 15,000 fans at the Sunday game will receive a Mike Piazza bobblehead doll.
Along with outfielder Ken Griffey Jr., Piazza will be formally inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, on July 24.