Mike Piazza to be inducted into Mets Hall of Fame

Mike Piazza runs the bases after hitting a

Mike Piazza runs the bases after hitting a home run during the All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game at Citi Field. (July 14, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

Mike Piazza has gotten into the Hall of Fame. The Mets Hall of Fame, that is.

The Mets announced Sunday that their former slugging catcher will be enshrined by the team Sept. 29 in a ceremony at Citi Field.

Piazza, who hit 220 of his 427 home runs as a Met, fell short of getting inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year in his first year of eligibility. Facing what appeared to be lingering doubts about PED use, Piazza garnered just 57.8 percent of the vote; 75 percent is required for enshrinement.

Piazza has consistently denied he ever used PEDs.

"I'm very much proud of my career," Piazza said Sunday at Citi Field, where he played in the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game. "I'll put my body of work up against anybody. Obviously, it's such a huge part of my life and I'm proud of it. I love the game and respect the game and everything else is out of my hands."

Of speculation that voters kept him out because of PED allegations, Piazza said: "There's nothing you can do about that. Just tell your story and live your life and move on."

Piazza will become the 27th person inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. It is a sign that his recently chilly relationship with the club is thawing.

With the Mets, Piazza was named an All-Star seven times. In the spring, he irked some of the club's brass with comments he made in his autobiography "Long Shot."

Nevertheless, after turning down at least one invitation to appear at Citi Field, Piazza has apparently moved forward. There was no mention yesterday of retiring his No. 31.

"Mike Piazza reinvigorated our franchise when we acquired him in May 1998," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said in a statement. "Mike is one of the greatest players in our history and we are thrilled to induct him into the Mets Hall of Fame."

Said Piazza: "I'm extremely honored to be in the Mets Hall of Fame with the company there. I've said all along the Mets have always had some very colorful and outstanding ballplayers in their history. To be in that group is really great, a great honor, and I'm really looking forward to September."

Of his time with the Mets, Piazza said: "It was without a doubt the most exciting time of my life. You can't describe the energy of playing in New York City, being here when we had some pretty good ballclubs and made the playoffs a few times. It's just something you can't describe. It's something I hold very fondly and so many people that I talk to remember. Again, I was very blessed to play here. I got a tremendous amount of support from the fans."

In the last four years, the Mets have added six people to their Hall, including Piazza. The other five are Frank Cashen, Dwight Gooden, Davey Johnson and Darryl Strawberry in 2010 and John Franco in 2012.

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