They are the only two Mets players to have their numbers retired, and they will forever share a link as the last-pitch and first-pitch Hall of fame battery that helped closed down Shea Stadium in 2008 and open Citi Field the following spring.
Mike Piazza was one of several former Mets to honor the passing of team icon Tom Seaver, who died Monday of complications from Lewy body dementia and COVID-19, according to the Hall of Fame.
“Tom Seaver was a larger than life baseball Icon, he embodied all that is desired in a player and a man, dedicated, loyal, sincere and fiercely competitive,” Piazza tweeted Wednesday night. “Showed strength and dignity during his recent suffering. He will be missed #Mets #TomSeaver.
Piazza’s No. 31 joined Seaver’s No. 41 – along with those of former managers Gil Hodges (14) and Casey Stengel (37) and MLB-widely retired Jackie Robinson (42) – as the Mets’ only retired numbers in a Citi Field ceremony in 2016.
The Mets also were slated to retire former starting pitcher Jerry Koosman’s No. 36 on June 13 of this year, but that ceremony was indefinitely postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ll always treasure our friendship,” Piazza said of Seaver, in a statement released by the Mets. “Tom was always rooting for me to get into the Hall. Two of my fondest memories are walking out of Shea Stadium after the last game and then when he threw the ceremonial first pitch to me at Citi Field the next year. He was one of a kind.”
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Seaver, who won three Cy Young Awards and posted 198 of his 311 career wins in 12 seasons with the Mets, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992 with a then-record 98.84 voting percentage.
Piazza, baseball’s all-time leader in home runs for a catcher, waited until his fourth time on the Hall of Fame ballot to be enshrined in 2016.