Friday, January 8, 2016

Mixed Emotions About Mike - But Definite Love For His Cardboard

Aloha, everybody,

So Mike Piazza was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and while the Dodgers part of my heart is happy to see that, there are other areas of myself that keep that happiness in check because of the bitterness that Piazza has shown at times toward Los Angeles and the Dodgers. 

I'm happy to say Mike Piazza was a Dodger during the years that I attended games fairly regularly, so I got to see him play A LOT in  the home whites. I was a huge Piazza fan, as was just about every Dodger fan in those days, and as a collector I sure wanted his cards. 

During Piazza's Dodger days, I got most of my cards by ripping packs, and his cards were very hard for me to pull. Which is one reason why a big-time Dodger fan like Sir Night Owl has 460 Piazza cards in his collection, while I have less than 50.  

Here are a few of my favorites, along with a couple of Iron Mike Piazza memories...

I love this play at the plate shot of Piazza blocking out a player I believe to be a Cardinal or a Brave. From the looks of his eyes, Piazza seems to be expecting a bouncer. 

Since Piazza's induction into the Hall, I've seen a few folks acknowledging his prowess at the plate, but sniping at his defensive capabilities. Like I said, I saw him play a lot of games, and in my opinion, he was the best plate-blocker for the Dodgers since the Rock, Mike Scioscia. 

Here's another great shot (and it's 90's shiny) with him trying to stop another Brave at the plate, Terry Pendleton. Love the look on Mike's face as he's assessing the situation...

Most of us dig Masterpiece, and I'm very happy to have this one.

 I loved Piazza's swing and powerful follow through. I often thought of him as the mighty Casey when he came up to bat...

The card above gives us a rare pre-number 31 look at Mike. 

Only four players have ever hit the ball completely out of Dodger Stadium (I'm sure Matt already knows that Pops did it twice), and Mike Piazza is the ONLY Dodger to have accomplished that feat.  It was my blessing - and curse - to be there that day. 

Regular readers of ATBATT know that I tend to sit along the 3rd base side of Dodger Stadium, so my family's seats were in perfect position to follow the flight of the ball on its way to the parking lot beyond the left field pavilion.

However, it was 1997 and my second son was just an infant. While it's my policy to never go for a beer, food or bathroom run when the Dodgers are up, my son Michael was a little too young for that level of stadium training. So it came to pass, that I took him to the bathroom for a much needed diaper change during those Dodgers ups. 

It was my blessing to attend the game the only time a Dodger ever hit a ball out of the stadium, but my curse to have to listen to Vin Scully call it over the bathroom speakers system, with a dirty diaper in hand.

That same year the Dodgers honored their five ROY's  with schedule covers. I collected all five. Here's Piazza's...

 I still remember the day the news broke about the Dodgers trading Piazza to the Marlins. We were on vacation in Arlington, Texas at the time, and for some reason or another, I was in the hotel's lobby. I overheard the breaking news of the trade over a lobby TV, and I just couldn't believe it. I think that lobby floor still has an indentation where my jaw hit it. 

Over the past few days I've seen collectors show off their Piazza relics, autos and RC's. While I don't have any of those, I do have a couple of limited editions that have come to me courtesy of my fellow bloggers...

This 2005 Playoff Prime Cuts is numbered 051/399.

Finally, my rarest Piazza...

A sweet 2004 Leaf Certified Cuts, low-numbered #03/50. 

Sure, Piazza has turned his back on the Dodgers, but just like that last card, he'll always have a Dodger Blue background to me. 



  1. I knew so many Piazza collectors when he first broke out with the Dodgers. Some people forget how popular he was. Glad to see him get it. Too bad he had to wait as long as he did.

    The Pirate announcers mention Pops every trip to LA. Most of the other stadiums Pops had records have since been torn down.

    1. Props to those Pirates announcers for keeping the memory of Pops' feat alive. I'm glad they always mention that because new generations of Pirates fans can know what the big boys from the past accomplished.

      PS - I'll check into that Beer Advocate knowledge base about shipping beers. If it's as easy as I hope it is, I think we can get some shipments going around. We'll talk in email once I have something more solid.

  2. Ooooooo ... Dodger Piazzas I don't have.

    1. That's the beauty of our hobby, right, buddy?
      No matter how many cards we have, there's always a few new surprise cards out there for us to chase down.