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Piazza honored as 27th member of Mets Hall of Fame

Mike Piazza took his rightful place among all-time Mets greats on Sunday, becoming the 27th member of the Mets Hall of Fame.

Piazza, who played eight seasons in New York, was honored in a pregame ceremony that included family, friends and fellow Hall of Famers.

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"I'd really like to thank the Hall of Fame committee for giving me this award," Piazza said. "I'm very, very proud to be a New York Met. I love to leave it on the field and I'm glad they took recognition and gave me this honor."

Piazza, the greatest power-hitting catcher in baseball history with 396 home runs as a backstop, spent the majority of his career with the Mets. He was acquired from the Marlins on May 22, 1998, and led the Mets to the National League Championship Series the following year and then the World Series in 2000.

Al Leiter, who had a taped video message played for Piazza during the ceremony, credited Piazza for changing the Mets organization.

"I lockered next to you for seven years and I got to know you as well as any other teammate and I know you cared," Leiter said. "I think about 1999 and then 2000. What you meant to this team and this organization, I can't say enough how proud I am of you."

John Franco, who was on hand, also spoke highly of the 12-time All-Star.

"Tremendous teammate, played hurt, played hard and you're a great guy to be around," Franco said. "I just want to say congrats from one Italian brother to another."

Piazza hit 220 of his 427 career home runs with the Mets, ranking third in franchise history. His .542 slugging percentage is tops in team history, with his 655 RBIs the third most by a Mets player.

He set a team record with 124 RBIs and hit 40 home runs in 1999 before launching 38 homers and driving in 113 runs during the 2000 NL pennant-winning season.

Piazza told the 41,891 on hand at Citi Field he was thankful for their support during his Mets career, as well as when he came back to New York as an opposing player.

"They say that you can count your true friends on one hand. This is where you guys are. Right here," Piazza said while holding up his hand. "People may say, 'What's your most special memory?' And, yeah, I've hit some great home runs and had some great games with some great teams. But the relationship we've had, the love you've given me and the support, words cannot describe how special it is to me."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth.

New York Mets