Arturo Pardavila III / Flickr.com
  • Faith: Christian - Catholic
  • Career: Athlete
  • Birthday:  September 04, 1968

Mike Piazza is a former professional baseball catcher who played 16 seasons in MLB from 1992 to 2007. He currently serves as the manager of the Italian national baseball team. He played most notably for the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers while also having brief stints with the Florida Marlins, Oakland Athletics, and the San Diego Padres. A 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner at catcher and a 12-time All-Star, Piazza produced strong offensive numbers at his position. In his career, he recorded 427 home runs, a record 396 of which were hit as the catcher, along with a .308 batting average and 1,335 runs batted in.

The Dodgers drafted Piazza in the 1988 MLB Draft as a favor from Tommy Lasorda to Piazza’s father. He was the last player selected and signed in his draft class to play in the Major Leagues. Initially a first baseman, Piazza changed his position to catcher in the minor leagues at Lasorda’s suggestion to improve his chances of being promoted. He made his major league debut in 1992, and the following year, he was named National League Rookie of the Year and an All-Star for the first of 10 consecutive seasons. Piazza was immediately impressed with his ability to hit for power and average. As a Dodger, his best year came in 1997 when he batted .362, hit 40 home runs, and had 124 RBI, leading to a runner-up finish in voting for the NL Most Valuable Player Award.

In 1998, he was traded to the Marlins and then a week later to the Mets, with whom he spent most of the remainder of his career. He helped the Mets reach the 2000 World Series, the only World Series appearance of his career. After the 2005 season, Piazza left the Mets to play one season each for the Padres and Oakland before retiring after the 2007 season. He’s regarded as one of the best offensive catchers in baseball history. He had at least one RBI in 15 straight games for the Mets in 2000, the second-longest RBI streak ever. In 2013, the Mets inducted Piazza into the New York Mets Hall of Fame and in 2016, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 82.95 percent of the vote and wearing a Mets hat on his plaque. He owned the Italian soccer team, A.C. Reggiana 1919, which played for two seasons in Serie C under his leadership before its non-registration due to financial issues.

What religion is Mike Piazza?

Piazza is a devout Roman Catholic whose faith was instilled in him by his Catholic mother. He was featured in Champions of Faith, a DVD documentary exploring the intersection of Catholic religious faith and sports. Piazza also appeared in the follow-up video, Champions of Faith: Bases of Life. In 2005, Piazza married Alicia Rickter at St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Miami, Florida, before 120 guests. 

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