Next Saturday Mike Piazza will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Congrats to Piazza on the much deserved capstone to his career.
Like the annual games between the Mets and Yankees, the battles between Mike Mussina and Mike Piazza meant a great deal to New York baseball fans during the aughts. Mussina and Piazza faced each other 24 times (18 times while one pitched in the Bronx and other played catcher in Queens). Here is a year-by-year breakdown of their matchups:
The 1998 game took place after Piazza had been traded to the Mets. It took Piazza until his eighth plate appearance against Mussina for him to reach base. There’s not too much that can be assumed from only 24 plate appearances, but the low walk total for Piazza and the minuscule slugging percentage does stand out. Piazza had a career walk rate of 9.8% and a career slugging percentage of .565.
In 1996, Donruss featured Piazza (then with L.A.) and Mussina (then with Baltimore) on an insert card in a limited edition eight card set called Showdown. Only 10,000 copies of the card were made. Mussina and Piazza had nothing in common at the time besides Italian sounding last names. As you can see above, they hadn’t even faced each other yet, but the theme of the eight card series was to match a hitter from one league against a hitter from the other league (this year’s other HOF inductee Ken Griffey Jr. was matched with Greg Maddux). You can buy a Piazza vs. Mussina card on eBay for $4.00.