This Day in Padres History: Team Signs Mike Piazza


On February 3rd, 2006, the San Diego Padres signed free agent catcher Mike Piazza to a one-year deal. The (possible) future Hall of Famer had already built a superstar resume before arriving in San Diego. He had already been to 12 All-Star Games, finished in the top 3 in MVP voting three times, and won 10 Silver Slugger Awards. He is most known for his hitting prowess as a catcher and his consistent success with the New York Mets from 1998-2005. He also won the 1993 Rookie of the Year as a Dodger.

There was quite a buzz with the signing of Piazza. The Padres were coming off of a NL West championship in 2005. On April 3rd, 2006, Mike Piazza played his first game with the Padres. He came to bat for the first time in the 2nd inning. He faced the San Francisco Giants’ Jason Schmidt. On a 1-0 count, he sent a ball over the scoreboard in right field for a home run. He started his Padres career 1-for-1, with a home run. Petco Park went bananas. He surprised many with his solid season. At age 37, he hit .283, which was his highest average in three years, and he also hit 22 home runs while playing half of his games at spacious Petco. That total was his highest since 2002. He also led the Padres in slugging percentage that year.

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The Padres got a lot more out of him than they imagined when they signed the aging slugger. He brought a lot of fanfare with him. He ended up playing a big part in the Padres winning the division for the second consecutive year. Piazza finished his illustrious career with 427 home runs, more than any other catcher in history. He also collected 2,127 hits and had a lifetime average of .308. He just missed getting into the Hall of Fame this year, it would be surprising to see him left out again.

This upcoming season is the first time since the Piazza signing, I have seen and heard this level of widespread excitement and buzz about the upcoming year. Hopefully these new acquisitions can mirror the production Piazza had in his brief stint in San Diego.

Next: Padres Add Backstop Wil Nieves On Minor League Deal

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