What makes Piazza’s statistics and achievements remarkable is that he was drafted in the 62nd Round of the 1988 draft and was the 1,390th overall pick! Expectations were not very high for him but he got his foot in the door and made the most of it. The other remarkable fact we have to realize about Piazza is that there aren’t too many catchers in the Hall of Fame, he is only the 17th catcher inducted all time.
Mike Piazza played for the Los Angeles Dodgers between 1992-1998. Then there’s that one crazy year, 1998, he started the season with the Dodgers where he played 37 games, then he was traded to the Florida Marlins for 5 games then traded again to the New York Mets where he finished the season. He went on to play for New York until 2005. He spent one year with the San Diego Padres in 2006 and his final year with the Oakland A’s in 2007. He played for a total of 16 years.
Piazza is regarded as one of the best offensive catchers in baseball history. On May 5, 2004, he surpassed Carlton Fisk for the most home runs by a catcher with his 352nd and currently is all time leader with 427. Defensively he was no slouch either, while with the Dodgers he caught two no-hitters one for Ramon Martinez the other for Hideo Nomo. In 2000 Piazza had a .997 fielding percentage which was tops in the National League that year. He is a 12x All-Star, 10x Silver Slugger Award Winner and was the 1993 Rookie of the Year. His career stats are:
Batting Average .308 | Home Runs 427 | Hits 2,127
Did You Know
- In February 2014 Piazza released an autobiography, entitled Long Shot.
- In 2005 Piazza married Playboy Playmate Alicia Rickter.
- He is a heavy metal enthusiast.
- On September 21, 2001, 10 days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, Piazza hit a home run in the first professional sporting event in New York City since the attacks, giving the Mets a 3-2 lead over the Braves.
- In the 2000 NLCS, Mets coach John Stearns was caught on film saying, “The Monster is out of the cage” after Piazza got a hit. The nickname stuck.
ROOKIE CARDS OF HALL OF FAMER MIKE PIAZZA:
1992 Bowman, Card #461
Bowman really stepped up and offered collectors to this point, their best modern-day release. You could consider this set to be a benchmark product of the 1990’s. At the heart of the “mass-produced era” Topps opted to do something different. They printed their Bowman set to order, meaning order forms were sent to hobby shops, those forms were collected than printers ran to fulfill orders. This approach cut production runs which equates to hobby gold. This 705 card set is loaded with Hall of Fame rookie cards most of which are dressed in some pretty corny street clothes. But not the Piazza rookie pictured below. The 92′ Bowman Piazza is one of the most appealing, iconic, cards in the hobby.
1992 Fleer Update, Card #U92
Piazza’s 1992 Fleer Update is another significant rookie card. This 132 card set is also believed to have low print runs, although in my research could find any proof of that.