Mike Piazza is a 12-time National League All-Star and the all-time home run leader for catchers in Major League history. Piazza began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers and has also played for the Florida Marlins, New York Mets and San Diego Padres. This off-season, he joined the Oakland Athletics. Thus far during his 14-year career, Piazza has hit .309 with 419 home runs, 1,291 RBIs and 308 doubles in 1,702 games.
Piazza was the last player drafted by the Dodgers in 1988. He is a future Hall of Famer who overcame tremendous odds after being selected in the 62nd round of the Major League draft—the 1,390th overall pick. Piazza broke in with Los Angeles in 1992 and went on to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1993.
After playing six full seasons for the Dodgers, Piazza was traded to Florida in 1998 and a week later, was sent to the Mets. He was with the Padres during the 2006 campaign and batted .283 with 22 homers, leading them to a divisional championship. On July 21, 2006, Piazza collected his 2,000th career hit. In December 2006, he was acquired by the A’s, his first American League club.
Piazza’s best season was in 1997 when he finished second in the voting for the National League Most Valuable Player Award, hitting .362 with 40 home runs and 124 RBIs. In 1999 and 2000, Piazza led New York to two consecutive playoff appearances. He and the Mets lost to the New York Yankees in the 2000 World Series.
According to Piazza, one of the most emotional moments of his career happened on Sept. 21, 2001 when he blasted a dramatic, two-run homer in the eighth inning to lead the Mets to a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves in the first regular season professional sporting event in New York City since the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. Another memorable day in Piazza’s career came on May 5, 2004, when he stroked his 352nd career home run, surpassing Carlton Fisk for the most ever by a catcher.
A devout Catholic, Piazza met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in November 2002. In 2005, he married Alicia Ricker at St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Miami, Fla.