The 15 greatest L.A. Dodgers of all time, No. 9: Mike Piazza
Continuing our countdown of the 15 greatest L.A. Dodgers of all time, as chosen by our readers:
No. 9: Mike Piazza (24,117 points)
The best-hitting catcher in baseball history, Piazza was drafted by the Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 first-year player draft as the 1,390th player picked overall. The pick was favor to the Lasorda, who is the godfather to one of Piazza's brothers.
Piazza came up to the team at the end of 1992, and really came into his own in 1993, when he won the rookie of the year award after hitting .318 with 35 home runs (including two on the last day of the season when the Dodgers prevented the Giants from reaching the playoffs) and 112 RBIs.
Piazza hit .319, .346, .336 and .362 in his next four seasons, before one of the most reviled trades in Dodgers history took place on May 14, 1998: Piazza was traded, along with Todd Zeile, to the Florida Marlins for Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Bobby Bonilla, Jim Eisenreich and Manuel Barrios. The reason for the trade? Piazza was asking for a five-year, $90-million contract, and the team didn't want to give it to him. Several people who voted said that the day Piazza was traded was the day they stopped being a Dodger fan.
Piazza went on to have several great seasons with the New York Mets, and recently stated that if he is elected to the Hall of Fame, he wants to go in as a Met.
On the L.A. Dodgers all-time list, Piazza is fourth in homers (177), eighth in RBIs (563), first in batting average (.331) and second in slugging percentage (.572).
-- Houston Mitchell
No. 10: Don Sutton
No. 11: Walter Alston
No. 12: Ron Cey
No. 13: Walter O'Malley
No. 14: Tommy Davis
No. 15: Kirk Gibson
Photo: Mike Piazza with the Dodgers in 1997. Credit: Los Angeles Times.