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Mike Piazza

Mike Piazza (born September 4, 1968) is an American professional baseball player. He is generally recognized as the top-hitting catcher of his era.

Piazza was drafted in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft. It is believed that the pick was partly a favor on the part of Dodgers' manager Tommy Lasorda, who is godfather to one of Piazza's brothers. Piazza's major league debut came with the Dodgers in 1992, when he appeared in 21 games. He then won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1993.

Piazza's best season probably came in 1997. He finished second in MVP voting. He hit .362, with 40 home runs and 124 rbi, an OBP of .431 and a slugging average of .638. This was one of the top hitting seasons for a catcher, of all-time.

He played for the Dodgers until a trade to the Florida Marlins in the middle of the 1998 season. Piazza and Todd Zeile went to the Marlins, in return for Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Bobby Bonilla and Jim Eisenreich. The Marlins were cutting costs after their 1997 World Series Championship and after five games with the Marlins, they sent Piazza to the New York Mets.

With the Mets, Piazza continued his excellent play, leading the Mets to two consecutive playoff appearances, a six-game NLCS loss to the Atlanta Braves in 1999 and a five-game World Series loss to the crosstown New York Yankees in 2000.

Piazza has played in the all-star game for 10 straight seasons, from 1993 to 2002. He has finished in the top 10 of the MVP vote seven times, although he has never won the award.

Most baseball observers believe he will be elected to the Hall of Fame upon retirement.