The greatest hitter I ever heard has called it quits today. When I look back at all the things I’ve had the pleasure to see as a Dodger fan, listening to Mike Piazza hit a baseball is near the top of the list. And when I say, listen I’m not talking about Vinny giving me the play by play, I’m talking about the explosive bang that would resonate throughout Dodger Stadium when Piazza squared one up.
Many players can do that once in a while, but with Mike he sent shock waves from pillar to pillar on a more consistent basis during his Dodger career then anyone I’ve ever followed.
Following prospects is a lot of fun when you first notice them doing something in rookie ball. When no one else pays them any attention you wonder why but you keep watching the stat sheet as you grow some weird attachment to them. As Mike progressed up the minor league ladder he laid waste to the pitchers like no other Dodger catcher has ever done, and when they finally couldn’t ignore his bat any longer he then laid waste on major league pitching.
By the time his Dodger career was over he had re-written the offensive book for a catcher. He not only was the greatest hitting catcher in history he was our catcher. Never in my Dodger history had we had such a player. So we did what any smart organization would do, we traded him.
The trade was dark day for me. They got plenty of talent back for him, but he was our guy. Our home grown HOF had been sent away and eventually he would play out the rest of his productive career with the Mets. As he drew close to the end of his career, many clamored for him to spend his last year as the Dodger backup. I was not one of them, as I only wanted to remember him in his glory and I’m glad he left now, instead of hanging on one more year.
Many things bug the crap out of me at Dodger Stadium these days, but none more so then when they boo Mike Piazza. The DSI(Dodger Stadium Idiots) must be clueless to boo the best offensive player to ever grace our stadium.
I’d like to spend a lot more time on this but work beckons. Piazza started his career after I had turned 30. He will be headed to the HOF just about the time I expect to retire thus allowing me to make my first trek to Cooperstown and honor a favorite Dodger. It will be strange to sit among a sea of Met hats as they claim him for their own, but I know better.
Piazza was a Dodger, our Dodger, my Dodger, your Dodger.