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Mike Piazza

Real name: Michael Joseph Piazza
Birthdate: September 4, 1968
Status: Single
Partner: N/A

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Michael Joseph Piazza (born September 4, 1968 in Norristown, Pennsylvania) is an American Major League Baseball player who currently plays for the Oakland Athletics. He began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers and played for the Florida Marlins, New York Mets, San Diego Padres prior to joining the A's. He is a 12-time All-Star. Piazza is often regarded as the best hitting catcher of all time, and holds the career record for home runs hit by a catcher. He had at least one RBI (run batted in) in 15 consecutive games for the New York Mets in 2000, the second longest RBI streak ever (Ray Grimes of the 1922 Chicago Cubs had 17 in 1922).

He played six full seasons for the Dodgers until he was traded to the Florida Marlins on May 15, 1998. Piazza and Todd Zeile went to the Marlins in return for Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Bobby Bonilla, Manuel Barrios, and Jim Eisenreich. The trade, precipitated by a contract dispute, is regarded by many as one of the worst moves in Dodgers history. One week later, on May 22, Piazza was traded from the Marlins to the New York Mets for Preston Wilson, Ed Yarnall, and Geoff Goetz.

Piazza was involved in a bizarre incident in Game 2 of the 2000 World Series. In the first inning, Piazza was facing Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens and broke his bat fouling off a pitch. The barrel of his bat flew towards Clemens's feet at the pitcher's mound. Clemens picked up the broken barrel and heaved it in the direction of Piazza running up the first base line sparking both benches to clear, but with no ejections. The reason this incident sparked this reaction was because earlier in the season, during Interleague play when the Mets played the Yankees, Mike Piazza was drilled in the head by a Roger Clemens pitch. Mike Piazza suffered a concussion and was forced to miss the 2000 MLB All-Star Game as a result. Piazza would later catch for Roger Clemens in the 2004 All-Star Game.

To ease the stress on his deteriorating knees, Piazza began to split his time between catching and playing first base during the 2004 season, an experiment which was abandoned before the end of the season because of Piazza's defensive deficiencies. Although recognized as a great hitter, Piazza has also caught two no hitters, thrown by Ramón Martínez and Hideo Nomo.

In his 14-year career (through 2006), Piazza's career batting average is .309 with 419 home runs, 1,288 RBI, and 308 doubles in 1,702 games.

On October 2, 2005, Piazza filed for free agency, effectively ending his career with the Mets. He signed with the San Diego Padres on January 29, 2006 and was their starting catcher and clean-up hitter. Piazza experienced somewhat of a rejuvenation in 2006, batting .283 with 22 homers and helping the Padres to a division title. On July 21, 2006, Mike Piazza collected his 2,000th career hit in the major leagues.

Career Salaries:
- 1993 - $126,000
- 1994 - $900,000
- 1995 - $900,000
- 1996 - $2,700,000
- 1997 - $7,000,000
- 1998 - $8,000,000
- 1999 - $7,171,428
- 2000 - $12,071,429
- 2001 - $13,571,429
- 2002 - $10,571,429
- 2003 - $15,571,429
- 2004 - $16,071,429
- 2005 - $16,071,429
- 2006 - $1,250,000
- 2007 - $8,500,000


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