Sports Outside the Beltway

Catcher Mike Piazza announces his retirement

He was one of the best hitting catchers of all-time. From AP-

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Mike Piazza is retiring from baseball following a 16-season career in which he became one of the top-hitting catchers in history.

“After discussing my options with my wife, family and agent, I felt it was time to start a new chapter in my life,” he said in a statement released Tuesday by his agent, Dan Lozano. “It has been an amazing journey … So today, I walk away with no regrets.

“I knew this day was coming and over the last two years. I started to make my peace with it. I gave it my all and left everything on the field.”

The 39-year-old Piazza batted .275 with eight homers and 44 RBIs as a designated hitter for Oakland last season, became a free agent and did not re-sign. He was not available to discuss his decision, according to Josh Goldberg, a spokesman for Lozano.

Taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers on the 62nd round of the 1988 amateur draft, Piazza became a 12-time All-Star, making the NL team 10 consecutive times starting in 1993.

“He was one of those hitters who could change the game with one swing. He was certainly the greatest-hitting catcher of our time, and arguably of all time,” said Atlanta pitcher Tom Glavine, Piazza’s former teammate on the New York Mets.

Piazza finished with a .308 career average, 427 home runs and 1,335 RBIs for the Dodgers (1992-98), Florida (1998), Mets (1998-05), San Diego (2006) and Oakland (2007).

Mike Piazza was one of the all-time steals in the amateur draft. In a time when the Dodgers kept wasting first round picks on pitchers who kept not making the ML roster(Anyone remember Bill Bene, Dennis Livingston, or Dan Opperman? Didn’t think so?), the Dodgers made up with it partially with their selection of Piazza.

Piazza is a certain Hall of Famer. If his glove work had been better, he’d be one of the top five catchers all-time. Still he makes the top ten. Good luck in retirement Mike.

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