It's that time of year again. The time where we put our allegiances aside and focus on just how great certain players are. This year was certainly no exception, as we saw Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza inducted. Griffey set records in doing so, as he received the highest number of votes in MLB History (99.3%), while Piazza slid in during his second year of eligibility
So now let's reflect on their illustrious careers.
Ken Griffey Jr. (.284 with 630 home runs, 1836 RBI and 2781 hits in 22 seasons with SEA, CIN, and CHW)
Ken Griffey Jr. The man who has been labeled with one of the prettiest swings in baseball. What more can be said about this guy except of how much better his stats could've been had he just been able to keep himself healthy. The numbers he was able to put up in 22 years are already mind-boggling, but then to realize that he did that and played less than 100 games in 6 of those seasons, and less than 120 games in 11 seasons, is just incredible. We're talking about a guy who could have hit close to 750-775 home runs for his career had he just stayed healthy. That's unbelievable.
Griffey was also a Rookie of the Year, a 10x gold glover, and a 13x All-Star.
Also, to go on top of being inducted with the highest percentage in MLB history, Griffey is also the first number one overall pick to be selected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Mike Piazza (.308 with 427 home runs, 1335 RBI and 2127 hits in 16 seasons with LAD, FLA, NYM, SD, and OAK)
If you're a minor leaguer and you're reading this, just remember, anything can happen. No matter where in the draft you were selected, there's no telling what you can do if you put the work in to get better and get to the next level.
Now, why am I bringing this up? Because, like Griffey, Piazza also set an MLB record as he is the lowest drafted player ever to get inducted into the Hall of Fame (62nd round). That's just outstanding, the work he put in to get himself to the highest level, and now look at him, sitting pretty and getting a plaque to be enshrined in baseball lore.
One of my personal favorite moments of Mike Piazza, like I'm sure many others are, is his home run in the Mets' first game back at Shea Stadium since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. It was just an incredible, emotional moment for all of America, but most specifically New York.
Piazza's accolades: Rookie of the Year, 12x All-Star, and a 10x Silver Slugger Award winner for catchers.
I'm anxious to hear some of your favorite moments from the wonderful careers of Griffey and Piazza and think they were deserving of such a high percentage of votes. Also, I'd like to hear who you think got snubbed.