Dun, Dun, Dahhhhhh
...THE SAME COMPANY!
Yes, it's true. Another piece of the puzzle falls into place. The keepers of WMHG once were more than just co-bloggers, they were co-workers! But, ever since that last train robbery went sour ( I STILL say you didn't have to kill ALL of them) we've gone our separate ways to tell our tales in this great medium/forum/crap depository/whatever you want to call it.
So, one day at one of the many anger-filled cafeteria lunches Doc and I shared with several other co-workers, the topic turned to Sam Champion, and the rumored relationship he had with my baseball hero, Mike Piazza (Yes, I did love Todd Hundley and curse Mike Piazza when he was on the Dodgers, but that's neither here nor there. The Mets of '92-'96 were a black hole, and while I was growing up, the only things I had to hold onto were Bernard Gilkey, Lance Johnson and Todd Hundley's 1996 seasons. Did I sell out? Probably, but I was 15 at the time, and didn't know any better. Anywaaaayy...
(it'll be a 3-1 to Bernie...).
A heated discussion arose, as they frequently did when we all discussed sports, about whether Piazza was gay and having torrid on-again-off-again love affairs with Mr. Champion. Needless to say, this argument was never resolved.
However, after this old story was jolted from the depths of my subconscious this afternoon, I thought I'd revisit some of the career info, historically significant stats and events (some courtesy of wikipedia) produced by NY Mets Future Hall of Famer, Mike Piazza (yes I know he could just as easily go in as a Dodger, but c'mon, let's get serious here. Oh, and I fully plan on attending the Mike Piazza induction ceremony in Cooperstown, NY in 2012):
Drafted: Selected by Los Angeles Dodgers in 62nd Round (1390th overall) of 1988 amateur entry draft.
Transactions: [Jul 11,1988] - signed [May 14,1998] - Traded by Dodgers with Todd Zeile to Marlins for Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Jim Eisenreich, Bobby Bonilla and Manuel Barrios. [May 22,1998] - Traded by Marlins to Mets for Ed Yarnall, Preston Wilson and Geoff Goetz. [Jan 31,2006] - Signed by Padres [Dec 8,2006] - Signed by Athletics (1-year)
- 12-time All-Star
- Is regarded as the best hitting catcher of all time, and holds the career record for home runs hit by a catcher with 396.
- He had at least one RBI in 15 consecutive games for the New York Mets in 2000, the second longest RBI streak ever (Ray Grimes of the Chicago Cubs had 17 consecutive games in 1922).
- In 1993, Piazza hit 35 home runs, setting the record for most home runs by a rookie catcher and surpassing Detroit's Matt Nokes who hit 32 homers in 1987.
- He was named the All-Star Game's MVP, in 1996, after he went 2-3 with a double, home run and two RBI.
- His 40 homers in 1997 and 1999 are the third most by a catcher. Todd Hundley is second, with 41 homers in 1996, and Javy López (steroids) 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 set by Bill Dickey, who also batted .362 for the New York Yankees in 1936. Piazza finished 2nd in the NL MVP balloting (which he never won) for the 2nd consecutive year to Larry Walker, of Colorado.
- On September 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 José Lima in the first inning of a game on September 14, 1998.
- Piazza, Derek Jeter, and Bernie Williams 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 N.L .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...And then dropped dead.)
- 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 Piazza on "Mike Piazza Night" on June 18, 2004. Piazza was celebrated for breaking the record for career home runs by a catcher.
What the fans don't know...
- During the 1994 baseball strike, Piazza and Joe Morgan appeared on Married...with Children. He also did cameos in episodes of Baywatch, Celebrity Jeopardy! and The Apprentice.
- In 1998, "Mike Piazza's Strike Zone" was released for the Nintendo 64 system.
- He appears in the 2002 Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant movie, Two Weeks Notice.
- In 2000, he contributed guest vocals for the Black Label Society song "Stronger than Death".
C'mon, does that guy look gay to you?!?!