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Mike Piazza – Hall Of Fame Preview

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MLB – Mike Piazza

Mike Piazza whom many believe is the Best Hitting Catcher To Play The Game Is Headed to Cooperstown

Mike Piazza may never have gotten the opportunity to play in the majors. Mike’s father Vince Piazza and Tommy Lasorda were childhood friends. During the 1988 draft, Vince asked Lasorda to draft his son as a sort of favor. Tommy listened and Mike was drafted in the 62nd round, 1,390th overall.

When the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted Piazza, it was as a first baseman. On the advice of Tommy Lasorda, Piazza changed positions and became a catcher. The position change worked and Piazza made his major league debut on September 1st, 1992.

His first major league season was a short one as he only played in 21 games. Eleven days after his debut, however, Piazza hit his first of many home runs in the majors. By 1993, Piazza was a mainstay in the big leagues. He played in 149 games and was named NL Rookie of the Year after hitting .318 with 35 homers and 112 RBI’s. Piazza was also selected to his first All-star game. He would appear in 10 straight midsummer classics and 12 total in his career.

In 1996 and 1997, Piazza hit 36 or more homers and was second in the MVP voting both years.

After 7 years with the Dodgers, Piazza was traded to the Florida Marlins where he stayed for only a week. The Marlins traded Piazza to the New York Mets who behind Piazza would fall just short of the playoffs in 1998.

Mike Piazza may be most famously remembered for hitting a home run in the first game played in New York after 9/11. That home run symbolized that New York could overcome such a terrible and senseless tragedy.

Piazza passed Carlton Fisk for most home runs by a catcher on May 5th, 2004 with number 352. In 2005, Piazza’s contract with the Mets expired and he was signed by the San Diego Padres. During his tenure with the Padres, Piazza picked up his 2,000 career hit in 2006. While in San Diego, Piazza got the chance to return to Shea Stadium and play against the Mets. He received cheering from the crowd and many ovations. Piazza hit two home runs in the game and narrowly missed hitting a third.

Piazza signed with the Oakland Athletics in 2006. He would end his career after the 2007 season when no team signed him after he became a free agent.

Mike Piazza ended his career after hitting 427 home runs and driving in 1,335 RBI’s over the course of his career.

The 427 home runs in his career have many experts and fans calling Piazza the best hitting catcher that the game has ever seen. His .308 career average and .377 career OBP certainly backup those beliefs.

Piazza received 83% of the votes needed to become a Hall-of-Fame member. It took him four ballots to finally receive enough votes.

Mike Piazza will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame along with Ken Griffey Jr. on Sunday, July 24th at 12:00pm eastern time. Coverage of the events will be on MLB Network.