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Mike Piazza

Mike Piazza
Mike Piazza
Mike Piazza
Mike Piazza
Mike Piazza

Travels from Miami, Florida

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Mike Piazza is a twelve time major all-star catcher and holds the record for most home runs ever hit by a catcher (397). Although not drafted until the 62 round of the major league draft, Mike overcame all obstacles to become regarded as the best hitting catcher in major league history.  He shares a desire to spread the "good news" through athletics and loves the Catholic Mass.

Mike has played for the LA Dodgers, Florida Marlins, New York Mets and San Diego Padres.  

On January 29, 2005, he married Alicia Rickter at St. Jude's Catholic Church in Miami, Florida, before 120 guests, including Brande Roderick, Lisa Dergan, Anjelica Bridges, Al Leiter and Detroit Tigers catcher Iván Rodríguez and also Billy Ray Cyrus was their wedding singer.

On February 5, 2007, Piazza's wife gave birth to the couple's first child, a daughter. Nicoletta Veronica Piazza was born at 4:07 a.m. in New York City. She weighed 5 lbs., 8 oz. and measured 19 inches long.  Piazza is Catholic and is featured in the Catholic film series Champions of Faith.  He is known to be a fan of heavy metal music and is featured on the cd Stronger Than Death by Black Label Society. He is also godfather to Zakk Wylde's son, Hendrix.



Career highlights and milestones
 * In 1993, his 35 home runs set the record for most home runs by a rookie catcher, surpassing Detroit's Matt Nokes with 32 in 1987. Plus, it is the most home runs by any Dodger rookie.
* He was named the All-Star Game's MVP, in 1996, after he went 2-3 with a double, home run and two RBI at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, near his home town of Norristown.

* His 40 homers in 1997 and 1999 is the third most by a catcher. Todd Hundley is second, with 41 homers in 1996, and Javy López set the record with 43 in 2003.

* His .362 average in 1997 was the highest ever by a catcher (110 games) in the National League, tying the Major League record Bill Dickey who also batted .362 for the New York Yankees in 1936.
* He won the Ted Williams Award, presented by CNN/SI and Total Baseball in 1997.

* His 201 hits in 1997 were the most in major league history by a player used as a catcher in 130 or more games

* On Sept. 21, 1997 Mike Piazza became just the third player and the only Dodger ever to hit a ball out of Dodger Stadium with a blast over the left-field pavilion.


* He hit the longest home run in Astrodome history, an estimated 480-foot, two-run blast off Jose Lima in the first inning of a game on September 14, 1998.

* Led the majors with four grand slams in 1998. His fourth slam and first as a Met came against the Diamondbacks' Andy Benes in the second inning of the August 22 game at Shea Stadium.

* Hit his 200th home run on September 16, 1998, at Houston. The home run, a three-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning against Billy Wagner, gave the Mets a 3-2 lead in a game they would win, 4-3, in 11 innings.

* Tied a Mets club record on July 18 when he hit his third grand slam home run of the season ... The only other Mets with three grand slams in a year are John Milner in 1976, Robin Ventura in 1999 and Carlos Beltran in 2006.

* His 72 RBI prior to the All-Star Break in 2000 were, at the time, the most in club history. Dave Kingman had 69 in 1976.

* He and Derek Jeter are the only players in major league history to hit a World Series home run in both Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium.

* He won a record 10 consecutive Louisville Silver Slugger Awards.The award is given annually to the best offensive player at each position in each league.
  


* He joined Cincinnati's Johnny Bench (1968), New York Yankees' Thurman Munson (1970), Atlanta's Earl Williams (1971), Boston's Carlton Fisk (1972), San Diego's Benito Santiago (1987) and Cleveland's Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1990) as the only catchers to be named Rookie of the Year.

* He finished second in the NL Most Valuable Player voting behind San Diego's Ken Caminiti after batting .336 with 36 home runs, 105 RBI, 87 runs and 16 doubles in 148 games in 1996. (Caminiti later admitted to taking steroids during his MVP Award-winning season.)

    * He led the All-Star voting in 1996, 1997, and 2000.

    * He hit more than 30 home runs in eight consecutive seasons (1995-2002). He has nine career 30-homer seasons.

    * He hit .300 in nine consecutive seasons, dating from 1993 to 2001.

* Yogi Berra, Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter, and Johnny Bench were on hand at Shea Stadium to honor Mike on "Mike Piazza Night" on June 18, 2004. Piazza was celebrated for breaking the record for career home runs by a catcher.

    * He hit his 400th career home run on April 26, 2006, off the Arizona Diamondbacks' Jose Valverde.

    * He hit a double off of the San Francisco Giants' Matt Cain for his 2,000th career hit on July 21, 2006.

    * Hit three home runs against the Colorado Rockies on June 29, 1996 [2].

Legacy

Piazza was mentioned in pop culture several times. During the 1994 baseball strike he and Joe Morgan appeared on Married... with Children. He also did cameos in episodes of Baywatch, Celebrity Jeopardy! and the The Apprentice. The song "Piazza, New York Catcher" by Belle and Sebastian which was a part of the popular Juno soundtrack makes reference to Piazza.In 1998, "Mike Piazza's Strike Zone" was released for the Nintendo 64, system.

In 2006, DHL started a campaign for Hometown Heroes, in which 5 of the greatest players in all 30 teams history were up for the award. Piazza was nominated for the Mets hero along with John Franco, Tug McGraw, Tom Seaver, and Keith Hernandez. The spot was eventually won by Seaver.

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