Mike Piazza has had a momentous event – induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. It has been quite a journey for Mike. We all remember him at bat – swinging for the fences and delivering home runs when they counted. As fans, we are fortunate to see such remarkable players in their prime and often, they provide us with memories that stay with us through the years. An example of this is occurred during the first sporting event played in New York after the 9/11 terror attacks. Piazza’s emotional two-run shot in the eighth inning at Shea Stadium not only lifted the Mets to a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves, it lifted the spirts of the entire city. Piazza paid tribute to that moment during his induction speech.
“To witness the darkest evil of the human heart … will be forever burned in my soul,” Piazza said. “But from tragedy and sorrow came bravery, love, compassion, character and eventual healing. Many of you give me praise for the two-run home run in the first game back on September 21st, but the true praise belongs to police, firefighters, first responders that knew that they were going to die, but went forward anyway. I pray that we never forget their sacrifice.”
He gave his emotional speech with tears in his eyes. It was a touching and poignant moment. Piazza knows what it is to struggle. He worked incredibly hard to accomplish what he has. Remember, he was the 1,390th pick in 1988. He is the lowest drafted player to enter the Hall of Fame. Early in his career, Mike briefly quit the game while he was in the minor leagues, but he returned and worked hard, very hard, encouraged by Tommy Lasorda, who held Mike as an infant during his Baptism, and by his father, whom he recognized and praised in his speech.
“He could not follow that dream because of the realities of life. My father’s faith in me, often greater than my own, is the single most important factor of me being inducted into this Hall of Fame. Thank you, Dad. We made it, Dad. The race is over. Now it’s time to smell the roses.”
An emotional speech from a man who embodied many of the qualities that Italians and Italian Americans hold close to our hearts – hard work, loyalty and above all, family. Almost 50,000 people came out to see Mike and Ken Griffey Jr. inducted into the Hall. One man was the top pick in the draft, the other, one of the lowest, but both had reached the pinnacle of recognition in the sport – induction into the Hall of Fame.
Complimenti Michael, hai fatto il tuo padre orgoglioso.