Just in time for the New Year, Mets 101's Seven in Seven series returns as our gift to you. Each week, the Mets 101 staff will begin a countdown of topics related to the New York Mets (i.e. best third baseman, worst defeat, etc.). We will begin our countdowns with the number seven and work all the way to number one. This week's Seven in Seven list takes a look at the timeline of all time Mets great Mike Piazza. We will begin the countdown with number seven, Piazza's arrival in Queens.
7. Piazza's Arrival
Date: May 22, 1998
The Buildup: Coming off an 88-74 season under manager Bobby Valentine in 1997, the boys in orange and blue were looking to turn things around. While a respectable record, the team finished at third place in the NL East. Coming into the 1998 season the team acquired several players including John Olerud, Dennis Cook, Al Leiter, and Ralph Milliard. The team however, was still not finished adding to an already impressive list. They still needed a final piece to not only assure them of finally making the play offs but give them a superstar to compete with the Yankees.
The Arrival: On May 22, 1998, Mike Piazza was traded from the then Florida Marlins to the Mets for Geoff Goetz, Preston Wilson, and Ed Yarnall. Giving the Mets the best offensive catcher in the game. Naturally, as Piazza was unable to settle down and struggle, the fans did not take to a liking to the catcher at first. However, things would soon turn around for the fan base and the eventual Mets great.
As Piazza went the Mets would go, setting up for some of the best years for the franchise.
In Hindsight: Even though the team finished with an 88-74 record and missing the playoffs for a second straight season, this was as an important move for the Mets as there ever was. Provided Piazza and the Mets were not able to bring home a World Series Championship, the move made the organization legitimate again and provided it with a player who would carry the team on his shoulders for eight years.
Check back tomorrow when we reveal the sixth moment in Mike Piazza's timeline with the Mets!
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