Ken Griffey Jr. in left field during his last appearance at Dodger Stadium, 6/28/2009
OK. So it might seem like a diss toward Mike Piazza that I would not make first mention of his HOF feat. I’m not even disturbed that he didn’t leave the Dodgers on the best of terms. As fans, we all tend to forget that sports is no different from any other business. Players come and go. Emotions are displayed, but often times, time heals all wounds, or does it ?
Mike Piazza in Dodger Blue
It’s practically been 18 years since Piazza’s bitter departure from Chavez Ravine. A high school senior was entering planet earth. You’d think 18 years and two ownership changes later, as well as his continued accolades with the Mets would be more than enough time to bury the hatchet. Dodger fans were not to thrilled about his departure either.
“If the Hall came to me and said, ‘We want you to go in as a Dodger,’ I’d say, ‘Well, then I’ll go in as nothing,'” Piazza wrote. “I just wouldn’t feel comfortable with LA stamped on my head for all of eternity.”
I am a firm believer that, in spite the anger and bitterness displayed by the one-time Dodger catcher, Dodger fans want to go back to truly embracing him. If only Piazza would just let it go. Heck, one of my favorite moments as a Dodger fan involved Piazza, on the final game of the 1993 season . In his recent biography, he blames good old Vinny for having the fans turn on him. ( Perhaps this further establishes the theory Vin Scully is God around Chavez Ravine…).
Piazza is entitled to his opinion. It’s been 18 years. I really don’t have a problem with him entering the HOF as a Met. Most baseball fans today more likely remember his feats in the Blue, Black and Orange. In some ways, that would be like Shaq entering the HOF as an Orlando Magic. Heck, Shaq wasn’t exactly welcomed back in Orlando with open arms right away in his days donning the Purple and Gold, but he is still welcomed back where his NBA career started.
Mike’s accomplishments are deserving of a permanent place in Cooperstown. Let’s not deny that. Perhaps some day Mike will put aside his bitterness toward the Dodgers and perhaps some day we will have a place inside Chavez Ravine’s hallowed walls to honor the greatest hitting catcher of all-time, in the place where it all started for him. Until then… Oh yeah, Congrats Mike…
From The First Base Dugout…
Now this is entering the Hall With Class. I really believe if Ken Griffey Jr. had injuries not slowed him down, Kenny Grif would be holding the all-time home run record. Be it in a Mariners or Reds uni he was always a joy to watch. He always looked like he was having fun, the way the game is supposed to be. Oh yeah, thanks for waving at us back in ’09 Junior ! A true class act…