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Mike Piazza

Born Michael Joseph Piazza in Norristown, Pennsylvania on September 4, 1968, Piazza is often recognized as the player with the most hits of any catcher in a generation. Piazza began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers and played in the minors for several years before making his professional debut in 1992 for a total of 21 games that season. A year later, he won the NL Rookie of the Year Award.

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In 1998, Piazza was traded to the Florida Marlins mid-season, then one week later was traded to the New York Mets, where he went on to help the team to two consecutive playoff series, the second resulting in a "Subway Series" match that ultimately led to a New York Yankees win in 2000.

On May 5, 2004, Piazza surpassed Carlton Fisk for most home runs by a catcher with the 352nd of his career.

Off the field, Piazza has made tabloid headlines when the New York Post spread rumors of his purported homosexuallity, which Piazza has since categorically denied.

In 2005, the star catcher married long-time girlfriend, former Baywatch Hawaii babe, Alicia Rickter with a wedding ceremony held in Miami.

Piazza's future in New York was in doubt in 2005, as his contract with the Mets ended with the season. Subsequently, the star catcher filed for free agency and soon after signed with the San Diego Padres in January, 2006.

In March that same year he represented Italy at the first World Baseball Classic.

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