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Many fans may argue that because of the numbers he put up as a Met, Darryl Strawberry should be considered the team's greatest hitter. However, Straw's overall legacy is not at the level of Mike Piazza, the greatest offensive catcher in baseball history.
Already with a reputation as one of the game's most feared power hitters, Piazza came to New York in 1998 when the Mets were in dire need of a catcher while Todd Hundley was hurt. They got all that and a lot more.
Teammates welcomed him with open arms. John Franco gave up his No. 31 for Piazza and moved to No. 45. Hundley became an outfielder when he returned so Piazza could remain the catcher.
After a solid 1998 season, Piazza signed a seven-year, $91 million deal with the Mets, which instantly transformed the Mets into dangerous contenders. Piazza continued to produce during his prime and hit .303 with 40 home runs and 124 RBI in 1999, as he led the Mets to their first postseason since 1988. The RBI total set a new Mets record.
He followed that up with an even better season in 2000, hitting .324 with 38 home runs and 113 RBI. He led the team to its first World Series since 1986, and Piazza certainly did his part during those two postseasons by hitting clutch home runs and being the one feared hitter the Mets had at the time.
Piazza had two more great seasons in 2001 and 2002 before injuries and his knees in particular began to affect his playing. He missed most of the 2003 season with a groin injury and played half of 2004 as a first baseman, which did not turn out as well as the Mets had hoped.
His last year in 2005 was bittersweet because he was such a fan favorite, but the fans also knew that he would not be the feared hitter he was ever again, and Piazza spent his last two seasons in San Diego and Oakland, respectively, before retiring.
Countless home runs and clutch hits will forever remain etched in the minds of Mets fans that were fortunate enough to watch him play, none more significant than the home run he hit against the Braves in 2001 during the first sports game in New York after 9/11.
Another reason Piazza should be considered the Mets' greatest hitter is because the team depicted him as that when he caught the last pitch at Shea Stadium and the first at Citi Field, both of which thrown by Tom Seaver, the Mets' greatest pitcher and overall player.
A soon-to-be Hall of Famer, Mike Piazza transformed the Mets from underachievers into successful contenders when he arrived in New York, and his Mets legacy will be second to none.