Where have you gone Mike Piazza?
OK, we know exactly where the former Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins (for five games), New York Mets, San Diego Padres and Oakland A's catcher will be Sunday afternoon -- getting inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
But we meant "where have you gone Mike Piazza" in the larger sense, as in, is there an heir apparent to his title as a great hitting catcher?
Piazza, who hit 427 homers in his 16-year career, slugged more long balls than any other catcher in major-league history. His career batting average was .308, and his 162-game averages included 29 doubles, 36 homers, 113 RBIs and a .922 OPS.
"I'm thrilled," Piazza told mlb.com when asked about his impending induction. "I'm nervous for tomorrow. But I'm looking forward to it."
Piazza has earned his legendary status. But suffice to say that no catcher in today's game is close to him in terms of hitting prowess. The closest is Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, but it's not really a fair fight.
Here a look at the offensive numbers of the six catchers who made this year's All-Star Game:
-- American League starter Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals has a career batting average of .278 with 79 homers, 322 RBIs and a .745 OPS. His 162-game averages include 20 homers and 83 RBIs.
-- AL reserve Stephen Vogt of the Oakland A's has a .263 career batting average with 39 homers, 152 RBIs and a .747 OPS. His 162-game averages include 17 homers and 68 RBIs.
-- AL reserve Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles has a career .257 batting average with 109 homers, 409 RBI and a .740 OPS. His 162-game averages include 21 homers and 80 RBIs.
-- Posey, the National League starter, has a .308 career batting average with 114 homers, 491 RBIs and a .857 OPS. His 162-game averages include 22 homers and 95 RBIs.
-- NL reserve Jonathan Lucroy of the Milwaukee Brewers has a .284 career batting average with 78 homers, 385 RBIs and a .778 OPS. His 162-game averages include 16 homers and 78 RBIs.
-- NL reserve Wilson Ramos of the Washington Nationals has a .269 career batting average with 74 homers, 291 RBIs and a .741 OPS. His 162-game averages include 22 homers and 88 RBIs.
Piazza, by the way, never hit .300 or better in his final six seasons. The rigors of catching had clearly caught up to him by then, but he had put up such massive numbers early on that his avearge still was above .300 for his career.
As for the Marlins and Mets, they both have young catchers with some potential:
-- Miami's J.T. Realmuto, 25, has a .280 career batting average with 15 homers, 82 RBIs and a .720 OPS. His 162-game averages include 11 homers and 61 RBIs.
-- New York's Travis d'Arnaud, 27, has a .245 career batting average with 28 homers, 97 RBIs and a .718 OPS. His 162-game averages include 19 homers and 66 RBIs.
D'Arnaud, by the way, grew up a Dodgers fan. He was three years old when Piazza made his Dodgers debut in 1992.
A shortstop in his early years, d'Arnaud patterned his game after Piazza once he converted to catcher. And when Piazza served as a Mets instructor in spring training, d'Arnaud was there to soak up knowledge.
"(Piazza is) an incredible guy," d'Arnaud told ESPN New York. "He had insight on every little thing."
So perhaps it can be said that Piazza is still making a positive impact on the Mets.
But another catcher, anywhere in the majors, who can hit as well as Piazza did for as long as Piazza did .. that's not happening any time soon.
© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.