Mike Piazza along with the “Kid” Ken Griffey Jr. are set to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown tomorrow. The former 62nd round pick Piazza is going in as a New York Met and Griffey will become the first to don a Seattle Mariners cap in the Hall.
One of these new Hall of Famers played for the Padres. Mike Piazza, after 8 great seasons with the Mets, including 6 All-Star selections, signed a free-agent deal as a 37 year-old with the San Diego Padres.
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His first at-bat as a Padre came on April 3rd, 2006 against the Giants. He lined an 0-1 fastball over the right field wall for his first Padres home run. He would hit 21 more on his way to a .283 average, 22 home run, 68 RBI and .843 OPS season. It was a successful lone year with the Friars for the greatest hitting catcher of all-time.
Despite being 37 years old, he also caught 99 games that year for the Padres. He stayed relatively healthy throughout the year, appearing in 126 games total. He also had a pinch hit home run and passed the 400 home run mark…
I got to personally witness his best game as a Padre on July 14th against the Braves. He went 2 for 4 with a home run, a double and 4 RBI.
It’s safe to say that his lone year with the Padres was a success. It was fun to see what we all knew to be a future Hall of Famer in a Padres uniform.
He had one multi-home run game donning the sand, navy and white and it was at his old stomping grounds, Shea Stadium. What a cool moment for Piazza. He always had a flare for the dramatic. That game against the Mets was no different.
It is sad to say but Piazza was the starting catcher for the Padres the last time they made the postseason. He had a double in the Padres’ National League Division Series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
He finished his career with 6 postseason home runs. He seemed to come through a lot over the years. Baseball fans will never forget perhaps his most famous home run on September 21st, 2001, the first sporting event in New York after the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks. He launched a go-ahead home run in what would decide a win for the Mets over the Braves.
After 2006, he ended up playing one more season before retiring with the Oakland Athletics. Through injuries, he hit 8 home runs in 83 games. He finished with 427 career dingers. Although Piazza will not enter the Hall as a Padre, fans of the Friars have fond memories of that 2006 season.