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Who's Better: Piazza or Pudge?
By BRIAN KRAEMER, MOP Squad Sports Staff Writer
Jul 18, 2004 - 7:05:00 PM

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On June 18th, 2004 the Mets honored Mike Piazza for his record-breaking home run against the San Francisco Giants, where he clubbed a record-setting 352nd career home run as a catcher to pass Carlton Fisk on the all-time list. During the ceremonies, Piazza whispered to Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez that he hopes he can be at Pudge's ceremony when Rodriguez passes him on the list.

Piazza and Pudge are the league's most threatening catchers. Pudge defensively and offensively. Piazza just offensively. So the questions remains, who's better? Piazza or Pudge?

This year, both players are having great seasons. In 87 games for the NL East contending New York Mets, Piazza has 35 runs, 93 hits, 17 home runs and 41 RBIs. Piazza, a career .318 hitter, is only batting .288 this year. Going four for your last 38 at-bats will drop your average.

His career numbers are impressive. In 1548 games, Piazza has 1800 hits, 374 of those being home runs, 1147 RBIs and 922 runs. Piazza averages a home run every 15 at bats. Most batters, not named Bonds, get about four or five at-bats per games. So, Piazza homers about every three games.

Likewise, Pudge's number are just as impressive. In 79 games this season, Ivan has 46 runs, 118 hits, 12 home runs, and 61 RBIs, going into the all-star game with a .369 batting average.

Pudge, a .307 career hitter, has 243 home runs, and 975 RBIs. In 6487 career at-bats, nearly a thousand more than Piazza (5668), Rodriguez has 988 runs and 1991 hits.

Rodriguez has 10 Gold Gloves at Catcher, whereas Piazza has none. Pudge was the 1999 A.L. Most Valuable Player and the 2003 NLCS Most Valuable Player. Piazza has won awards too - maybe not as many as Rodriguez, but a decent amount. Piazza was the 1993 N.L. Rookie of the Year, the 1996 All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, and the 1994 ESPY Breakthrough Athlete.

But what makes a baseball athlete great is his post-season accomplishments. Since 1995, Mike Piazza has been in seven post season series. His team is 3-4 in those series; 0-2 with the Dodgers, and 3-2 with the Mets. In 110 post season at-bats he has 14 runs, 28 hits, six home runs, and 15 RBIs. He's hitting a disappointing .255 in post-season play. But, the main observation on Piazza is the ring.

Piazza had a chance for a World Series ring in 2000 with the Mets as they battled their cross-town rival Yankees. However, the Yankees won in five games. Who made the last out of the 2000 World Series?


Mike Piazza, who on contact, made every New York Met fan rise to their feet. On the sound of impact the ball made the sound that when made makes you think the ball is out of there.

Sadly it wasn't. As Bernie Williams catches the ball and runs to the mound, Piazza and all the Mets and Met fans hang their head.

You know who does have a ring?

Pudge Rodriquez.

In 6 post season series, Ivan's teams are 3-3. In 105 career at-bats, Rodriguez has 11 runs, 31 hits, three home runs, and 20 RBIs. He's hitting an impressive .295 in the playoffs. Most importantly, Ivan did get a ring last year with the Marlins.

Pudge did something Piazza couldn't do: beat the Yankees in the World Series.

These two amazing athletes are Hall of Famers. But, they will be remembered for two plays, out of thousands of plays they will make, two will live on in infamy.

Piazza will be remembered for what he did on September 21, 2001. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Major League Baseball cancelled all games for security reasons and for the deep mourning for all the lives that have been lost.

On September 21, 2001, a crowd of 41,235 at Shea Stadium witnessed the return of baseball to New York City for the first time since terrorist attacks of September 11. The Mets were down 2-1 in the bottom of the eight as Piazza stepped in to bat. Piazza CRUSHED a two-run shot to center field as the fans at Shea went ballistic. The fans were jumping out of their seats and the Mets went crazy.

Piazza's home run gave the Mets a 3-2 win. It wasn't the game that mattered. It was Piazza's homerun in the first game played in New York since 9/11. It kind of felt like things were back to normal after the home run.

Now, Pudge's play was as exciting, but definitely didn't have the magnitude as Piazza's. During last season's first-round playoff series against the Giants, J.T. Snow was rounding third base. Left Fielder Jeff Conine picked the ball up and tossed a strike to Pudge. J.T. barrelled into Ivan, and Rodriguez tumbled over. He got up and showed the ball to the umpire. Snow is called out and the Marlins move on to the National League Championship Series. Pudge jumped up with the ball in his hand, extending his index, middle, and ring finger out as he yelled! That play made Pudge a Marlin.

The question remains, who's better? Piazza or Pudge. It doesn't matter who I think. Let the debating begin.

Copyright 2007 - MOP Squad Sports

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