Dodgers History: 22 Years Ago Mike Piazza Reached a Rare Milestone
Dodgers fans, let me take you back a little way to simpler times. Los Angeles is facing off against the Chicago Cubs in a Friday evening game that pits Ismael Valdez against Kerry Wood. The Dodgers would go on to crush the Cubs by a score of 12-4, but that would not be the storyline of the day.
Instead, a 29-year-old Mike Piazza would steal the show with a laser to the opposite field off of Wood. The homerun that Piazza hit that day would tie a mark for the most grand slams in a single month, an accomplishment only five players before him had reached. Since that day, only three more guys have hit three grand slams in one month.
The Dodgers would win that game but eventually finished third in the National League West with an 83-79 record. A 19-year-old Adrian Beltre would make his Major League Debut with the Dodgers just two months after Piazza’s rare feat.
Just bringing up the name Mike Piazza is bound to make any Dodgers fans a little bit sad. He was traded to the Florida Marlins in that same year along with Todd Zeile. The Marlins, in turn, sent Gary Sheffield along with four other players to Los Angeles.
Piazza would go on to have a wonderful career with the Mets, spending eight years of his career there and racking up some of his best numbers in New York. Dodgers fans will always remember him as one that got away, despite the plus performance from Gary Sheffield over the next couple of years.
Sheffield would play for four seasons with the Dodgers, earning two All-Star nominations and hitting the majority of his career homeruns with Los Angeles.
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The Dodgers eventually had 3 key pieces from the Marlins 1997 championship team. Sheffield, Brown and Charles Johnson. The thought behind it actually wasn’t bad. The teams before that never accomplished anything in the playoffs so why not acquire three championship caliber players. It’s just that they never did any more after that to complete the team. Still having Pedro and Nomo would’ve helped though.
What about Cory Snyder? He had a few good seasons with the Tribe, and to totally sucked with the Dodgers.