*Initial note: I’m a Mets fan. Bias is inevitable.
As talk surrounding the Hall of Fame swirls, I thought it would be interesting to look ahead to 2012, when (barring some amazing comeback/terrible voting/Mayan-predicted apocalypse) Mike Piazza will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The case is pretty clear cut, and the only question will be which cap Piazza is wearing on his Hall plaque. Remember, because of some shady dealings with Wade Boggs‘ selection, the Hall decided to choose the hat for the players back in 2001, although the player’s wishes are still heavily taken into account.
For his overall playing time, I decided to look at Sean Smith’s WAR database (rWAR), as well as Fangraphs WAR (fWAR) for as long it goes back.
Year Team rWAR fWAR 1992 Dodgers 0 1993 Dodgers 7 1994 Dodgers 4 1995 Dodgers 6.3 1996 Dodgers 6.1 1997 Dodgers 9.3 1998 Dodgers 0.9 1998 Mets 5.5 1999 Mets 4.3 2000 Mets 5.2 2001 Mets 4.2 2002 Mets 3 5.3 2003 Mets 2 2.4 2004 Mets -0.4 2 2005 Mets 0.8 2.7
Dodgers rWAR: 33.6
Mets rWAR: 24.6
Mets rWAR (1998-2001)+ fWAR (2002-2005): 31.6
Tango and Smith disagree greatly on Piazza’s years as a Met from 2002 on, so we have to look at both. Overall, it’s pretty clear that Piazza played his best ball as a Dodger. While he was certainly fantastic as a Met, he put up some dominant numbers in LA. He had an OPS+of 159 while wearing LA blue and 136 donning the blue and orange. Also, if his defense was ever any good, it was most likely when he was younger and more athletic, rather than his older days in New York.
Los Angeles: 7 seasons, 726 games, 3017 PA, 896 hits, 177 homers
New York: 9 seasons, 972 games, 3941 PA, 1028 hits, 220 homers
In terms of bulk, New York wins by a decent amount. It’s not a ton, but it’s enough to put some separation between the two stints.
Non-Regular Season Stuff
Los Angeles: 6 playoff games, 26 playoff at-bats, 0 playoff series wins, 6 all-star selections, 6 silver sluggers, 1 Rookie of the Year, 1 All-Star MVP
New York: 22 playoff games, 86 playoff at-bats, 3 playoff series wins (1 NL Championship), 6 all-star selections, 4 silver sluggers
It’s really tough to actually weigh these things meaningfully, but the playoff time seems to push this one closer to New York.
Piazza’s dramatic post-9/11 homerun may actually be a subtle tipping point in the whole matter. In debating things with little real world significance, Mike did something that really moved a city in a troubling time, as simple or silly as it may seem.
Although he played better ball as a Dodger, he played longer while on the Mets, and exposed himself to the playoffs and the New York media, ultimately cementing himself as part of the franchise. Again, I admit personal bias, but if I had to guess, I’d say Mike goes into the Hall of Fame in 2012 with a NY cap on his head.