Mike Piazza

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Posted by pompos 03/04/2009 @ 17:14

Tags : mike piazza, baseball players, baseball, sports

News headlines
A fastball to the head - Globe and Mail
This is what would have happened had Clemens hit Mike Piazza with that shattered piece of bat in the 2000 World Series. Steroids? By now, most people know all they want to know about the topic. So the most striking element of this book is its devotion...
June Draft is bigger, better on MLB.com - MLB.com
It's Ryne Sandberg waiting until the 20th round (511th overall), Don Mattingly until the 19th (493rd overall) and Mike Piazza until the 62nd (1390th overall). It's the dreams come true for young players and their families and former coaches who put in...
Nick Talbot: No shame in swinging, missing a few pitchesPosted On ... - Killeen Daily Herald
Finch struck out Mike Piazza and Albert Pujols, and only Scott Spiezio, who most people don't even know, made contact. Watching those feeble attempts on ESPN, I knew I had to shorten my swing, and I was not going to get anything out of the park at...
Hall Call: Voters Weigh In on Manny - FanHouse
Mike Piazza, for example. Not connected to BALCO. Not connected to the Mitchell Report. Never tested positive that we know of. But come on. EVERYBODY was sure, while he was playing, that he was on steroids. That "everybody" includes me....
Time To Fire Tom McCarthy - The Queensberry Rules
To call Ashburn Alley, named after one Richie 'Whitey' Ashburn, MIKE PIAZZA TERRITORY is like a dagger straight to the heart. It's hardly worth mentioning Piazza barely played at Citizens' Bank Park, nailling just two homers as a visiting New York Met....
SPORTS Cam: Calling Griff clean stupid; Landshark stupidly brilliant - CBSSports.com
... Magazine a few months ago stripping MVP awards from "known" cheats like Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa and handing them to players who finished behind them in the voting -- ya know, those deserving, "clean" players like Luis Gonzalez and Mike Piazza....
The All-Non Roided Team - Newsradio 620
I originally had Mike Piazza but remembered he was in the Mitchell Report so Biggio gets mentioned twice. He was just a large man. If he had to do steroids, well, that would be a crying shame. The gun never topped 90 in his career....
Tepid for South Beach still a pretty hot market - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Former Mets catcher Mike Piazza trimmed the asking price for his South Beach condo to $4.3 million. On Miami Beach, the down market is more about deals than steals.THE NEW YORK TIMES PHOTOS / ALEX QUESADA On South Beach, bidding wars are springing up...
Let the Mets debate begin - The Star-Ledger - NJ.com
Rusty must have flipped a coin to pick Mike Piazza over Gary Carter. Carter is in the Hall of Fame, Piazza is headed there. Piazza is one of the best-hitting catchers ever in baseball, a .308 batting average to Carter's .262....
District 11 Class AAA and AA Track and Field Championship seedings - The Express Times - LehighValleyLive.com
John Hunyara, M, 2:01.3; 2. Nick Piazza, ND, 2:01.3; 3. Patrick Brown, Palis, 2:04.1. (Meet record: 1:55.74, Mike Cadau, MA, 2006). 3200 (SQS 9:48.01) -- 1. Greg Duckloe, MA, 10:05.2; 2. Jacob Donchez, BC, 10:20.8; 3. Bryan Magee, ND, 10:22.6....

Mike Piazza

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Michael Joseph Piazza (pronounced /pʰiˈɑːʦə/ or /pʰiˈɑːzə/) (born September 4, 1968 in Norristown, Pennsylvania) is an Italian-American former Major League Baseball catcher. He played in his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins, New York Mets, San Diego Padres and the Oakland Athletics. He is a 12-time All-Star. Piazza is often regarded as the best hitting catcher of all time, and holds the career record for home runs hit by a catcher with 396. He had at least one RBI in 15 consecutive games for the New York Mets in 2000, the second longest RBI streak ever (Ray Grimes of the Chicago Cubs had 17 consecutive games in 1922).

Piazza grew up in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania with his parents, Vince and Veronica, and his brothers Vince Jr., Danny, Tony, and Tommy. When Piazza was 12 and 6 months, he received personal instruction from the late Hall of Famer Ted Williams in his backyard batting cage.

Vince Piazza was a childhood friend of former Dodgers manager, Tommy Lasorda. When the Dodgers came to Philadelphia, Mike had the opportunity to spend time in the Dodger clubhouse and dugout.

Piazza was the last player the Dodgers drafted in the 1988 draft. He was their selection in the 62nd round. It is believed that the pick was partly a favor on the part of Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, who is godfather to one of Piazza's brothers and, like Piazza, grew up in Norristown. Piazza swore he'd learn to catch if he was drafted. Piazza's Major League debut came with the Dodgers in 1992, when he appeared in 28 games. He then won the National League MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1993.

Piazza's best season was 1997, a year when he finished second in MVP voting. He hit .362, with 40 home runs and 124 runs batted in, an on base percentage of .431 and a slugging percentage of .638.

He played six full seasons for the Dodgers until he was traded to the Florida Marlins on May 15, 1998. Piazza and Todd Zeile went to the Marlins in return for Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Bobby Bonilla, Manuel Barrios, and Jim Eisenreich. The trade, precipitated by a contract dispute and then-Dodger parent News Corporation's desire to secure a major TV contract with the Marlins, is regarded by many as one of the worst moves in Dodgers history. One week later, on May 22, Piazza was traded from the Marlins to the New York Mets for Preston Wilson, Ed Yarnall, and Geoff Goetz.

Piazza was involved in a bizarre incident in Game 2 of the 2000 World Series. In the first inning, Piazza was facing Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens and broke his bat fouling off a pitch. The barrel of his bat flew towards Clemens's feet at the pitcher's mound. Clemens picked up the broken barrel and heaved it in the direction of Piazza running up the first base line sparking both benches to clear, but with no ejections. The reason this incident sparked this reaction was because earlier in the season, during interleague play when the Mets played the Yankees, Piazza was drilled in the head by a Roger Clemens pitch. Piazza suffered a concussion and was forced to miss the 2000 MLB All-Star Game as a result.

On September 21, 2001, ten days after the terrorist attacks of September 11 the Mets faced their rivals the Atlanta Braves in the first professional sporting event hosted in New York City since the tragedy. After an emotional pre-game ceremony the two teams played a tense unfocused game in the reserved atmosphere of Shea Stadium. With the Mets down 2-1 and one man on in the bottom of the eight inning, Piazza hit what is considered the most significant home run of his career, a two-run blast off Braves reliever Steve Karsay that put the Mets ahead 3-2 securing a victory. The blast to deep left center field provided a frenzy of emotional release and the first collective moment of joy that had been lost in the city over the last ten days. The significance of Piazza's spirit-lifting home run has been cited as one of the greatest moments in Major League Baseball history.

Piazza would later catch for Roger Clemens when both were on the National League team in the 2004 All-Star Game. Clemens gave up six runs in the first inning.

To ease the stress on his deteriorating knees, Piazza began to split his time between catching and playing first base during the 2004 season, an experiment which was abandoned before the end of the season because of Piazza's defensive deficiencies. Although recognized as a great hitter, Piazza has also caught two no-hitters thrown by Ramón Martínez and Hideo Nomo. Nomo's was particularly impressive because it happened at Coors Field, notorious at the time for being a hitter-friendly ballpark.

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

On October 2, 2005, Piazza filed for free agency due to the fact the Mets did not want to resign him. This was the end of his career with the Mets. He signed one year contact with the San Diego Padres on January 29, 2006, and was their starting catcher and clean-up hitter. Piazza experienced somewhat of a rejuvenation in 2006, batting .283 with 22 homers and helping the Padres to a division title. On July 21, 2006, Mike Piazza collected his 2,000th career hit in the major leagues.

On August 8, 2006, Piazza played his first game at Shea Stadium since leaving the Mets. During the three-game series, Piazza drew frequent, repeated standing ovations indicative of the high level of regard in which New York's fans still held him. It was on par with that of Tom Seaver on his returns to pitch at Shea Stadium in 1977 and 1978. Even more telling was an event on August 9 during that series when he drew a rare curtain call in an opposing park following a home run off of Mets pitcher Pedro Martínez in the 4th inning. Not done for the day, Piazza went deep off Martinez again in the 6th. And with the Mets ahead 4-2 in the 8th, and two runners aboard, Piazza hit one to the wall in center, nearly bashing his third homer of the day and putting the Padres ahead. The fans, ecstatic that he'd hit two, were also enthusiastically rooting for the Mets to secure a pennant at the time, and did not get the chance to react to a third.

Piazza signed as a free agent with the Oakland Athletics on December 8, 2006. On June 23, 2007, he received a standing ovation when he brought out the lineup card for the Athletics at Shea Stadium. He was unable to play in the series because he was on the disabled list.

On July 25, 2007, in the top of the ninth inning in a game between the Angels and Athletics at Angel Stadium, a fan threw a water bottle that hit Piazza, who had homered earlier in the game. Piazza then pointed his bat in the stands at the fan he believed threw the water bottle to get the attention of security. The fan, who was identified as Roland Flores from La Puente, California, was arrested by the ballpark security. Piazza pressed charges against Flores. Flores was sentenced to 30 days in prison and three years of probation on March 27, 2008.

Piazza represented Italy in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

Piazza made a return to Shea Stadium during the "Shea Goodbye" closing ceremony on September 28, 2008, where he received the final pitch in the history of the stadium from Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. Piazza and Seaver were also afforded the immense honor of officially "closing" Shea when they walked off together into the center field exit and closed the door on the park after waving goodbye to the capacity crowd. The two are generally regarded as the greatest hitter and pitcher, respectively, in the history of the franchise.

Piazza now owns a chain of automobile dealerships in the Philadelphia area which sells German, Japanese and Korean cars.

During the 2005 season, Piazza was the ninth highest paid MLB player at $16,071,429. On January 29, 2006, Mike Piazza accepted a one-year deal with the San Diego Padres worth up to $2 million. On December 8, 2006, Piazza signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Oakland Athletics. He replaced Frank Thomas as the Athletics' designated hitter.

On January 29, 2005, Piazza married Playboy Playmate Alicia Rickter at St. Jude's Catholic Church in Miami, Florida, before 120 guests, including his "best friend" Eric Karros, Brande Roderick, Lisa Dergan, as well as Anjelica Bridges, Al Leiter and Iván Rodríguez. Billy Ray Cyrus was their wedding singer.

On February 3, 2007, Piazza's wife gave birth to the couple's first child, a daughter. Nicoletta Veronica Piazza was born at 4:07 a.m. in New York City. She weighed 5 lbs., 8 oz. and measured 19 inches long. Mike and Alicia are currently expecting their second child. He is known to be a fan of heavy metal music and is featured on the CD Stronger Than Death by Black Label Society. He is also godfather to Zakk Wylde's son, Hendrix.

Piazza is a devout Catholic and was featured in Champions of Faith, a DVD documentary exploring the intersection of Catholice religious faith and sports. He also appeared in the followup video Champions of Faith: Bases of Life.

During the 1994 baseball strike, Piazza and Joe Morgan appeared on Married... with Children. He also did cameos in episodes of Baywatch, Celebrity Jeopardy! (which he won) and The Apprentice.

In 1998, "Mike Piazza's Strike Zone" was released for the Nintendo 64 system.

In 2006, DHL started a campaign for Hometown Heroes, in which 5 of the greatest players in all 30 teams history were up for the award. Piazza was nominated for the Mets hero along with John Franco, Tug McGraw, Tom Seaver, and Keith Hernandez. The spot was eventually won by Seaver.

In 2003, a song released on Belle and Sebastian's album Dear Catastrophe Waitress titled 'Piazza, New York Catcher' sings a fictional tale of a New York baseball player leaving the game, using the name of Mike Piazza as a subject.

He appears in the 2002 Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant movie, "Two Weeks Notice".

In 2000, he contributed guest vocals for the Black Label Society song Stronger than Death.

In an episode of "The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" Sheen makes a reference to him.

He appears in the 2007 documentary, Mathematically Alive, a film focusing on fans of the New York Mets.

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Mike Piazza's Strike Zone

Mike Piazza's Strike Zone box art.

Mike Piazza's Strike Zone is a baseball game licensed by Major League Baseball and was released for the Nintendo 64. It was developed by Devil's Thumb Entertainment and released on June 16, 1998, by GT Interactive. While being endorsed by Mike Piazza, Strike Zone represents all of the MLB players in the 1997-98 season including those in the National League and American League. The game offers standard baseball game play with all 30 official stadiums, a choice of leagues to play for, but also offers the player the option to design their own team and league, from the logo, and uniforms all the way up to player abilities and appearance. The player can play a single game, season of 15, 81, or 162 games, the World Series game, All-Star Game, or compete in a batting challenge known as the Home Run Derby.

The official players in Mike Piazza's Strike Zone have different batting and pitching styles as well as stamina that causes them to perform with less precision after being used continuously. When batting the ball has a flame-like trail behind it that tells the hitter whether it is in the Strike Zone (red) or in the Ball Zone (blue), allowing the player to better choose which balls to hit. Saving the season, and saving a player created team, require separate Control Paks. While playing with a Rumble Pak it cannot be replaced with the control Pak while the game is being played, and a separate controller is needed to save.

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Iván Rodríguez

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Iván Rodríguez Torres (born November 30, 1971 in Manatí, Puerto Rico), commonly nicknamed "Pudge" and "I-Rod", is a Major League Baseball catcher who is currently a free agent. In his career, he has played for the Texas Rangers, Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers, and New York Yankees. He is ranked as one of the greatest defensive catchers in the history of the major leagues. Rodríguez was awarded the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player Award in 1999.

Rodríguez won the World Series with the Marlins in 2003, and also played in the 2006 World Series while with the Tigers.

Iván Rodríguez was born in Manatí, Puerto Rico, and raised in Vega Baja. His father, Juan, worked for a U.S.-based construction company, and his mother, Eva Torres, was an elementary school teacher. Iván's first job involved delivering flyers in the shopping malls in Puerto Rico. He learned baseball at an early age, his biggest rival being Juan González, who he often played against in his youth. As a Little League player, he moved from pitcher to catcher because his father, who was also his coach, thought he was throwing too hard and scaring opposing players with his pitches. Rodríguez attended Lino Padron Rivera High School, where he was discovered by scout Luis Rosa. Rosa reported that "he showed leadership at 16 that I’d seen in few kids. He knew where he was going." Rodríguez signed a contract with the Texas Rangers in July 1988, at the age of 16, and began his professional baseball career.

Rodríguez made his professional debut in 1989 at the age of 17 as catcher for the Gastonia Rangers of the South Atlantic League. In his first game, Rodríguez had three hits in three at bats (3-for-3) against Spartanburg. Playing in the Florida State League in 1990, Rodríguez was selected the best catcher in the league and named to the all-star team. He placed 15th in the league in batting at .287, and led his team in runs batted in, with 55. He also played in the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League (LBPPR) over the offseason.

When Rodríguez made his major league debut with the Texas Rangers on June 20, 1991, he became the youngest person to catch in a major league game that season. He immediately established himself as an excellent hitter who was also proficient in throwing out would-be base-stealers. In fact, no other catcher in the past 35 years of the League has been as successful at this aspect of the game, with Rodríguez throwing out 48% of attempted basestealers through May 2006. This was far more than the runner-up during this period, the late Thurman Munson. He started many of the Rangers games at the end of the season, including 81 of the last 102. Rodríguez became the youngest player in the history of the Texas Rangers to hit a home run, on August 30, 1991 in a game facing the Kansas City Royals. Rodríguez hit the home run off right-hander Storm Davis. He was named to the Major League Baseball (MLB) Rookie all-star team by both Topps and Baseball America and finished in fourth place in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. He also placed first in throwing out runners, catching 48.6 percent of runners attempting to steal.

In 1992, Rodríguez started 112 games behind the plate and was the youngest player in the major leagues for the second year in a row. Playing in the Puerto Rico Winter League, he had a .262 batting average playing in 17 games for Mayaguez. In the 1993 season, Rodríguez batted .273, had 66 runs batted in and hit 10 home runs, ranking fourth, fifth, and fifth on his team respectively. He had a stretch of eight straight hits over two games facing the Kansas City Royals on July 26 and July 28. He played the final month of the regular season in the Puerto Rican Winter league, where he had a .425 batting average and 14 runs batted in for Mayaguez. Rodríguez was named to the Puerto Rican Winter League all-star team and was also the league Most Valuable Player (MVP).

In 1994, Rodríguez led the American League in batting average among catchers, at .298. He placed high on his team in many statistics, placing second in batting average (.298), tied for third in doubles (19), and fourth in hits, total bases, runs, home runs, walks, games, and at bats. He also caught Kenny Rogers' perfect game on 1994-07-28. Rodríguez played in the Puerto Rican Winter League over the winter, but he suffered a severe knee injury which kept him from playing for the rest of the season.

Playing for the Rangers during the 1995 season, Rodríguez led his team in batting, total bases, and doubles, at .303, 221, and 32 respectively. He was named the Texas Rangers' player of the year. Rodríguez also had his first multi-home run game while playing the Boston Red Sox on July 13, hitting both off all-star pitcher Roger Clemens. He also played for Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League during the offseason.

In 1996, Rodríguez set an MLB record for most doubles by a catcher, amassing 44 doubles over the course of the season. This broke the previous mark of 42, set by Mickey Cochrane in 1930. He also set the major league record for at-bats by a catcher in a single season, with 639, which surpassed Johnny Bench's record of 621 in 1970. He led the Texas Rangers in doubles, at bats, hits, and runs scored. He was selected to the Major League Baseball All-Star team that played a series in Japan against the Japanese all-stars after the season was over. He again played in the Puerto Rican Winter League this season. In the 1997 season, Rodríguez also placed first among catchers in many categories in Major League Baseball. These categories were hits, runs, runs batted in, and doubles. He placed second in home runs among catchers, below only Sandy Alomar, Jr. of the Cleveland Indians, who had 20 home runs. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated on the week of August 4. This marked the fourth time a player from the Texas Rangers had been on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Rodríguez played in the Puerto Rican Winter League yet again, where he had a .285 batting average, 4 home runs, and 18 runs batted in over the course of 32 games playing for Caguas.

In the 1998 season, Rodríguez led the Texas Rangers in batting average at .325, which placed eighth in the American League. He also had 75 multi-hit games and 186 hits, finishing seventh and ninth in MLB respectively. He finished second on the Rangers in hits, total bases, triples, total bases, and slugging percentage. Rodríguez was third on the team in doubles, home runs, and stolen bases, and fourth in runs batted in. He had his 1000th in a game facing the Cleveland Indians on May 10 of that season. Rodríguez also became the first catcher in the history of Major League Baseball to have two or more seasons with 40 or more doubles. He was selected to the American League All-Star Team again, and he was also named to all-star teams by the Associated Press, The Sporting News, and Baseball America.

In 1999, Rodríguez was selected American League MVP by Major League Baseball. That season, he set a new record for home runs in a single season among catchers, with 35. This record was later broken by Javy López of the Atlanta Braves in 2003, who hit 42. Rodríguez was also the first catcher to have more than 30 home runs, 100 runs batted in, and 100 runs scored in the history of Major League Baseball. In addition, he holds the distinction of being the first catcher in the history of the league to amass more than 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. From May 8, 1999 to June 1, 1999, Rodríguez had a career high 20 game hitting streak. He had 25 stolen bases, which was fifth most among catchers in the history of the league. He led the league in times grounded into a double play, with 31. Rodríguez was only the ninth catcher in the history of Major League Baseball to win the Most Valuable Player award, and he was the first to win it since Thurman Munson in 1976. He was named on all of the ballots, getting seven first place votes and six second place votes. Rodríguez was the sixth Puerto Rican to win the award, and the fourth player from the Texas Rangers to win it. He also won the Silver Slugger Award for the sixth time in a row and was selected Most Valuable Player by Baseball Digest. He was again named to all-star teams by the Associated Press, The Sporting News, and Baseball America.

In 2000, Rodríguez appeared in just 91 games, which was the fewest that he appeared in since his first season in the league, 1991. On July 24, Rodríguez suffered a season-ending injury in a game against the Anaheim Angels. While trying to make a throw to second base, his thumb made contact with the swing of Mo Vaughn's bat. He fractured his right thumb and underwent surgery the next day. This injury caused him to miss the rest of the season. Even though he was injured, he was still named to the second-team of the Baseball America Major League Baseball All-Star Team. Rodríguez returned to full action in 2001 and had another all-star season. He was selected to his ninth straight MLB All-Star Game in a row, which tied the all time record set by Johnny Bench. He also tied Bench's record of ten straight Rawlings Gold Glove Awards in a row. He batted .308, making 2001 his seventh straight season with a batting average of over .300. He had 25 home runs, 136 hits, and 65 runs batted in. Rodríguez's final year with the Texas Rangers came in 2002. His .314 batting average was seventh best among American League players. This was his eighth season in a row with batting average of .300 or above. He also had 32 doubles, 2 triples, and 60 runs batted in while playing in 108 games for the Rangers. Rodríguez was placed on the disabled list on April 23 after suffering a herniated disk on April 15. The injury did not require surgery, and he rehabilitated while playing for class A Charlotte. He later returned to the Rangers and played there for the remainder of the season. After the 2002 season his contract with Texas ran out and he became a free agent.

Before the 2003 season Rodríguez signed with the Florida Marlins for one year. By then a major-league veteran of over a decade, he helped lead the young team to victory in the World Series. Rodríguez's played his first and only season with the Florida Marlins in 2003. Over the off-season, he was signed to a one year deal with the Marlins after his contract expired with the Texas Rangers, and he opted out of the contract for free agency. During the 2003 regular season, he set many Marlins single season records for a catcher, such as batting average, at .297, and runs batted in, at 85. On March 31, Rodríguez became the tenth Marlins player ever to hit a home run on the team's first game of the season. On April 8, he set a Marlins single game record by drawing five walks in a game against the New York Mets. He had a career high nine game hitting streak from June 24 to July 2, during which he batted .500 with seven doubles, two triples, and four home runs. From June 24 to July 1, he drove in a run for eight consecutive games, another single season record for the Florida Marlins. In the post-season, he played with Marlins during their second World Series run and was named National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player for the first time in his career. He also closed out the National League Division Series by holding onto the ball during a dramatic game-ending collision at the plate with J.T. Snow in Game Four. He chose not to return to the Marlins the following the 2003 season.

Before the 2004 season Rodríguez signed with the Detroit Tigers. In 2004, he was selected to the MLB All-Star Game for the 11th time in his career and for his 10th time as a starting player, joining Johnny Bench and Mike Piazza as the only Major League Baseball catchers to start an All-Star game 10 times or more in their career. He also won his 11th consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Award, making him the first player on the Detroit Tigers to win the award since Gary Pettis won it in 1989. He won his seventh career Silver Slugger Award, tied with Víctor Martínez of the Cleveland Indians. He was fourth in the American League in batting average and fourth among all Major League Baseball catchers. On October 1, he recorded his 1,000th career RBI in a game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The 2005 season was another all-star year for Rodríguez. He was selected to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game for the twelfth time in his career, and he participated in the Century 21 Home Run Derby on the day before the all-star game. In the home run derby, he finished second to Bobby Abreu of the Philadelphia Phillies. By the end of the season, he batted .276 with 14 home runs and 50 runs batted in. On October 26, 2005, Major League Baseball named him the catcher on their Latino Legends Team.

In 2006, Rodríguez returned to throwing out runners attempting to steal a base at a very high percentage, as he did in his earlier career; he was first in the league in this category, throwing out 45.7 percent of all runners attempting to steal a base. On May 9, 2006, Rodríguez played first base for the Tigers. That game, a 7–6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, was the first time that he played a position other than catcher in his 1,914 Major League games. On August 15, 2006, he also made his first Major League appearance at second base after regular second baseman Plácido Polanco was injured in a game in Boston. On April 16, 2007, he batted in 6 runs on the way to a 12–5 victory over the Kansas City Royals. He caught Justin Verlander's no-hitter, the second no-hitter he's caught in his career, on June 12 of that year. In 2007, Rodríguez walked only 1.8 percent of his plate appearances, the lowest percentage in the major leagues. On October 9, the Tigers announced that they were picking up the fifth-year, 13-million-dollar option on Rodríguez's contract, keeping him on the Tigers team through at least the 2008 season. The team could have bought out the option for three million dollars and allowed him to become a free agent.

In spring training in 2008 he led the major leagues, with 8 home runs. He recently got his 2,500th hit. Manager Jim Leyland had said that he would rotate Rodríguez and Brandon Inge at catcher every other day.

On July 30, 2008, Rodríguez was traded to the New York Yankees for relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth. He started most of Yankees games for the remainder of the 2008 season, because the Yankees' former starting catcher, Jorge Posada, was injured. With his customary number 7–which he wore throughout his career up to that point–retired for Mickey Mantle, Rodríguez changed his jersey number to 12.

In preparation for the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Rodríguez returned to the Puerto Rico Baseball League (formerly LBPPR) during the offseason, following ten years of absence. Playing for the Criollos de Caguas, he gathered a batting average of .370 with three runs batted in and one home run in six games during the regular season. Upon leaving the team on vacation, Rodríguez noted that his intention was to return to action if the Criollos advanced to the playoffs. He returned to action in a "sudden death" game for the final postseason space, but the team lost and was eliminated. On January 8, 2008, the Leones de Ponce reclaimed Rodríguez in the last turn of an special post-season draft, where players from eliminated teams were selected to reinforce those that qualified.

Rodríguez represented Puerto Rico in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. He was part of a team that was mostly consisted of Major League Baseball players, among whom were Carlos Beltrán, Javier Vázquez, Bernie Williams and Carlos Delgado. Rodríguez was one of several Major League Baseball players that announced commitment to represent their birthplaces before the organization of the tournament.

Rodríguez married Maribel Rivera on June 20, 1991. That same night, having been called up from Triple A by the Texas Rangers, he made his major league debut, in which he threw out two White Sox would-be base stealers, and got his first major-league hit, a two-run single that capped off a five-run game-winning rally.

Ivan and Maribel have three children: Ivan Derrek (b. 06-05-1992, Amanda Christine (b. 06-21-1995) and Ivanna Sofia (b. 01-12-2000). The family divides their time between Colleyville, Texas, Miami, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In 1993, Iván and Maribel founded the Ivan "Pudge" Rodríguez Foundation whose purpose is to help families in Puerto Rico, Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. Rodríguez has also stated that the Make-a-Wish Foundation is one of his charities of choice.

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2000 National League Championship Series

The 2000 National League Championship Series, to determine the champion of Major League Baseball's National League, was played between the Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals and the wild card New York Mets. The Mets and Cards used as a rally cry the 2000 hit song Who Let The Dogs Out? by the Baha Men.

This series pitted a pair of teams that were former division rivals. In the mid-1980s, the Mets and Cardinals fought it out for supremacy in the National League East over four seasons, with each team alternating division championships between 1985 and 1988.

The Cardinals, led by manager Tony La Russa, had played through the 2000 season in relatively businesslike fashion. They had won the National League Central division, and swept the Atlanta Braves in three games in the NL Division Series. However, they were struck with several injuries to key players as the playoffs began, including slugger Mark McGwire, catcher Mike Matheny, and the sudden, unexplained wildness of rookie pitcher Rick Ankiel.

The Mets, on the other hand, engaged in battle with their fiercest rival, the Braves for much of the season, eventually falling one game short of a division title. They matched up with the San Francisco Giants in the Division Series. After dropping the first game, they would rebound to win the following three games in heart-stopping fashion, including a 13th inning walk off home run from Benny Agbayani to win Game 3 and an improbable one-hit shutout by Bobby Jones to win the clinching Game 4.

The Mets jumped on Cardinals starter Darryl Kile right from the outset. Rookie Timo Pérez led off the game with a double into the right field corner, and following a walk to Edgardo Alfonzo, scored on a double by Mike Piazza. A Robin Ventura sacrifice fly would plate Alfonzo, and the Mets were off and running.

Piazza's double resulted in one of the more memorable moments of the series. Mets coach John Stearns was wearing a microphone for Fox Sports during the games, and his screams of "THE MONSTER IS OUT OF THE CAGE!!" were broadcast to a national audience. "The Monster is out of the cage" would become a rallying cry for the Mets and Piazza throughout the series.

Mets starter Mike Hampton was sharp. Over seven innings, he limited the Cardinals to 6 hits and no runs. At the plate, Hampton helped his own cause by singling and scoring the Mets third run in the 5th inning.

The Mets would effectively put the game away in the 9th inning on home runs by Todd Zeile and Jay Payton. The Cardinals would plate two runs in their half of the 9th, but it would not be enough, and the Mets came away with the victory in the series opener.

The Mets would once again jump out to an early lead, this time thanks to the wildness of Cardinals starter Rick Ankiel. Ankiel failed to get out of the first inning, walking two batters, throwing two official wild pitches (although several other pitches sailed to the backstop), and allowing two runs before being removed from the game in favor of plucky reliever Britt Reames.

The Cardinals would trim the Mets lead to 2-1 in the second inning against Mets starter Al Leiter. A run-scoring ground out by Eli Marrero would plate Shawon Dunston. The Mets would get that run back in their half of the third when Mike Piazza hit his first home run of the series off Reames. The Cardinals would knot the game at 3-3 in the 5th inning on run-scoring doubles by Edgar Rentería and Fernando Tatis.

With the score still tied and two out in the top of the 8th, the Mets would put together a rally to take a 5-3 lead. A long single by Alfonzo would score Timo Pérez, and following an intentional walk to Piazza, Zeile would single home Alfonzo. However, John Franco and Turk Wendell failed to hold the lead in the bottom of the 8th, and the Cardinals would again tie the game at 5-5.

However, as was typical of many Mets victories in the 2000 season, the Mets proved their ability to bounce back after coughing up a lead and would regain the lead in the 9th inning. After Robin Ventura reached on a Will Clark error, and was pinch run for by Joe McEwing, Rookie Jay Payton came through with his second game-winning hit of the postseason, nailing a single up the middle to score McEwing, as Cardinals Center Fielder Jim Edmonds allowed the ball to hop off the heel of his glove and roll behind him.

Armando Benitez allowed a 2-out walk to Jim Edmonds in the last of the 9th, but that was all the Cardinals were able to muster as the Mets took Game 2, 6-5, to take a 2-0 series lead.

The Cardinals would mark their first, and only, victory of the NLCS with an easy 8-2 victory. Jim Edmonds hit a 2-run double in the top of the 1st inning off Mets starter Rick Reed, and the Cardinals never looked back. The Cardinals would tack on two more runs in the third and another in the 4th before putting the game away with three runs in the 5th.

Cardinals starter Andy Benes pitched 8 solid innings, holding the Mets to 2 runs and 6 hits, while notching 5 strikeouts. More importantly, he was able to give the Cardinals weary bullpen a bit of rest and put them back in the series.

Both teams would come out with their hitting shoes on in this game. The Cardinals would jump out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning, as Jim Edmonds hit a 2-run home run off Mets Starter Bobby Jones. The lead, however, would be short lived as the Mets would flex their offensive muscle against Darryl Kile in a record-setting display.

Timo Pérez, as he had done all postseason, sparked the rally with a leadoff ground rule double in the bottom of the 1st. Edgardo Alfonzo followed with a double of his own, down the right field line, scoring Perez. Mike Piazza followed with a third double for the Mets, a long one-hop drive off the wall in right center. Holding on the fly, Alfonzo only made it to third, but Robin Ventura followed by ripping the Mets fourth consecutive double, which would score both Alfonzo and Piazza, and put the Mets ahead 3-2. One out later, Benny Agbayani launched a long double off the wall in left center to score Ventura. This was the Mets 5th double of the inning, which set a new League Championship Series record.

The Mets would continue to bombard Kile and the Cardinals in the 2nd inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Todd Zeile would hit yet another double for the Mets, scoring two more runs. Agbayani would single home a seventh Mets run before the inning was over.

Although LaRussa had counted on Kile to eat up innings and rest his taxed bullpen, he was sorely mistaken. Kile was gone by the 4th inning, and Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan was ejected from the game while removing him. Kile's replacement, Mike James, would not fare much better, as Mike Piazza would launch a long home run, well over the Cardinals' bullpen out in deep left field to give the Mets an 8-3 lead after 4.

Bobby Jones, who had thrown a magnificent one-hit shutout against the Giants in the Division Series, struggled while pitching with a big lead. In the 5th inning, Jones would be knocked from the game after surrendering an RBI-double to Eric Davis, and two more runs of his responsibility would score after he had exited the game. Fortunately for the Mets, Glendon Rusch came out of the Bullpen to stop the Cardinals rally, and his three innings of shutout ball were key in the Mets ability to eventually win the game.

The Mets would put the game away in the 6th, thanks to two errors by Cardinals third baseman Fernando Tatis. Tatis' first error allowed Perez to reach base, despite the fact that Tatis had time, his hasty throw was low and Will Clark was unable to handle it. Tatis' second error, a bobble on a Ventura grounder, would allow Mike Bordick to score.

The Mets received strong bullpen work not only from Rusch, but also from John Franco and Armando Benitez, who threw scoreless innings in the 8th and 9th respectively, to close out the Cardinals and give the Mets a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.

This game would turn controversial for LaRussa, who had been bringing injured slugger Mark McGwire off the bench to pinch hit in key situations. Afforded several opportunities with the tying runs in place, LaRussa never sent McGwire up to hit in this game, and eventually he would run out of opportunities to do so.

Needing a victory to close out the series at home and avoid a trip back to St. Louis, the Mets, behind Mike Hampton, cruised to a 7-0 victory and their first National League pennant since 1986.

The Mets would once again stake themselves to an early lead, jumping on Cardinals starter Pat Hentgen in the 1st inning. Again it was Timo Pérez sparking the Mets, singling under the glove of Edgar Rentería, stealing second base and moving to third when catcher Carlos Hernández's throw went into center field. Edgardo Alfonzo would single home Perez. Following a walk to Mike Piazza, Robin Ventura would single home Alfonzo for the Mets second run. The Mets would add a third run on a fielder's choice by Todd Zeile.

The Mets would effectively put the game away in the 4th inning, when with two outs and the bases loaded (a situation in which Zeile found himself the previous night), Todd Zeile hit a long double off the wall in right center field, scoring 3 runs, giving the Mets a 6-0 lead, and resulting in raucous Mets fans making Shea Stadium literally shake.

The Mets would add a final run off a Rick Ankiel wild pitch in the 7th inning. In yet another controversial move from Tony LaRussa, Ankiel was inserted into the game in the bottom of the 7th. After walking Mike Bordick to start the inning, retired Hampton and Perez, before uncorking a pair of wild pitches with Edgardo Alfonzo at the plate, allowing Bordick to score the 7th and final run of the game. Ankiel would depart after walking Alfonzo.

An ugly incident was averted in the bottom of the 8th inning, where with two outs and Benny Agbayani on first base, Jay Payton was hit near his left eye by a fastball from Cardinals pitcher Dave Veres. Payton immediately leapt up and charged Veres, and both benches and bullpens cleared, although Payton would be restrained by Agbayani and Bobby Valentine before the incident could escalate. Met Pitcher John Franco mugged for the fans to settle down following the incident; the crowd responded by chanting "NA NA, HEY HEY, GOODBYE!" at the Cardinals, and booed them off the field at the conclusion of the inning.

Saying before the game that "I was looking to pitch the game of my life", Mike Hampton was nothing short of superb. In pitching a complete game shutout, Hampton allowed only 3 hits and one walk, and struck out 8. His efforts in this game, and in Game 1 would result in his being named MVP of the NLCS.

Hampton closed out the game by getting pinch-hitter Rick Wilkins to fly out to center field. Mets center fielder Timo Pérez jumped up and down three times before making the catch, Robin Ventura hoisted Hampton in the air and a wild celebration was touched off, culminating in Mike Piazza leading the entire Mets team in a victory lap around Shea Stadium.

The Mets would advance to the 2000 World Series, their first appearance in the World Series since 1986. They would meet their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees in the first Subway Series to take place since 1956. In five games that were as nip and tuck as baseball can be, the Yankees would come out on top, winning their third consecutive World Championship. The Mets would then muddle through several unsuccessful seasons, and would not return to the Postseason until 2006.

Series MVP Mike Hampton would leave via free agency following the season, signing with the Colorado Rockies. Hampton's departure from New York was not well-received, as he made comments about the city's school system, and was routinely booed upon his reappearances at Shea Stadium.

The Cardinals would return to the National League Championship Series in 2002, losing to the San Francisco Giants. They would return to the World Series for the first time since 1987 when they defeated the Houston Astros in the NLCS in 2004. The Cardinals would face the Mets again in the 2006 National League Championship Series, the Redbirds defeated the Mets this time in an epic and dramatic series that ended in 7 games. The only player remaining on either roster from this series in 2006 was Cardinals Center Fielder Jim Edmonds. There are currently no Mets left on the team that played in 2000.

HE'S OUT OF THE CAGE! THE MONSTER IS OUT OF THE CAGE! THE MONSTER IS OUT OF THE CAGE! LET'S GO! THE MONSTER IS OUT OF THE CAGE!

The pitch, and a fly ball well hit to right field. Going back, looking for it, cant get it! Off the wall! An extra base hit! 3 runs are going to score! 3 runs come in on the double off the right center field wall by Todd Zeile. The Mets now have a 6-0 lead!

And a drive in the air to center field. Timo Pérez jumps in the air waiting for it to come down, makes the catch, and the New York Mets are the 2000 National League Champions!

Hampton with a count of 3 and 1...For the first time since 1986...The Mets...Are Going to the World Series!

Off the bat of Rick Wilkins, Perez was waiting for it, and before this night gets away from us, Congratulations to the Mets, and congratulations to these fans for the way they behaved here tonight.

HEY GUYS! HEY, GIVE THIS A SECOND, LOOK OVER HERE! THIS ONE'S A BIG ONE FOR YOU, RIGHT HERE!

How do you do it? Well, you come in here with 50,000 fans screaming, with a new sound system blasting everyone out of their seats, and you come out with early leads. I can't stress it enough. When you come out with early leads, it takes the pressure off.

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2000 World Series

2000 World Series Logo

The 2000 World Series featured a crosstown matchup between the two-time defending champion New York Yankees and the New York Mets, with the Yankees winning 4 games to 1 for their third straight championship and 26th overall. It marks, to date, the last World Series won by the Yankees, and the last World Series with a repeat champion. It was the first postseason Subway Series since 1956.

Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement between MLB and the new World Umpires Association signed in 2000, the traditional National League and American League umpire was discontinued. All umpires belonged to Major League Baseball, with an interim uniform. During the 2000 playoffs, the new umpire uniforms (black and cream shirts), with the Major League Baseball logo on the caps and shirts, were used for the first time.

The Yankees were the first team to three-peat as champions since the 1972–1974 Oakland Athletics (The Athletics defeated the Mets in 1973 to win the World Series) and the first franchise to appear in three straight World Series since the 1988–1990 Oakland Athletics.

The opener fell on two anniversaries. Twenty-five years prior, Boston Red Sox's catcher Carlton Fisk ended game 6 of the 1975 World Series with his famous home run off the left field foul pole in Fenway Park in Boston to beat the Cincinnati Reds and force a Game 7. Twenty years prior the Philadelphia Phillies won their first World Series title, defeating the Kansas City Royals in 6 Games.

Game 1 was a match-up between postseason veterans Al Leiter and Andy Pettitte. Both starters pitched scoreless until the sixth inning when David Justice's 2-run double put the Yankees on top. In the top half of the 7th, Pettitte would quickly lose the lead on a barrage of hits, the last by Edgardo Alfonzo to put the Mets on top. However, the Yankees would rally to tie the game on Chuck Knoblauch's sacrifice fly against Mets closer Armando Benítez. Jose Vizcaino would drive in Tino Martinez in the 12th inning with his fourth hit of the game to win it for the Yankees.

In Game 2 Roger Clemens started for the Yankees. Earlier in the year during regular season Interleague play, Clemens had hit Mets catcher Mike Piazza in the head with a fastball that resulted in Piazza getting a concussion and going on the disabled list. Game 2 still saw its share of controversy with Clemens and Piazza. Early in the game during Piazza's first at bat, Clemens pitch had shattered Piazza's bat. The ball went foul, but a sharp edge of the bat came towards Clemens. Clemens rushed off the mound and threw the bat towards the baseline, almost hitting the running Piazza. Piazza was perplexed and baffled by Clemens' actions and Mets supporters lambasted Clemens for his actions. Clemens, after the game, defended himself saying he did not see Piazza running and threw the bat angrily because he was pumped up with nervous energy and initially charged toward the incoming broken bat, believing it to be the ball at first. Piazza did get some revenge by belting a home run off reliever Jeff Nelson later in the game, but in the end the Yankees came away with a 6-5 win.

The Yankees' Game 2 win tied the longest AL winning streak in the World Series at 10 games (the AL had previously won 10 straight from 1927-29 and again from 1937-1940).

The Mets broke open a 2-2 tie in the 8th inning to go ahead and eventually win the game. This ended the Yankees 14 game winning streak in World Series play dating back to the 1996 World Series.

Yankee hurler Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez earned the loss, snapping his undefeated postseason record (6-0).

The Yankees scored first on a Bernie Williams solo home run in the second inning. However, the Mets responded with two unearned runs off Andy Pettitte in the bottom of the inning. In the top of the sixth, Derek Jeter homered to tie the game at 2-2. In the top of the ninth, Luis Sojo hit a two out single off Mets' starter Al Leiter, the throw from center field hit Jorge Posada as he was sliding into homeplate and went into the Yankee dugout, allowing Scott Brosius to score and Luis Sojo to take third base, putting the Yankees on top 4-2. In the bottom of the ninth, Mike Piazza faced Mariano Rivera as the tying run with two outs, but Rivera got Piazza to fly out to Bernie Williams to end the game and give the Yankees their third straight world title and 4th in 5 years.

They'll be talkin' about this 40 years from now, and we're here now.

Vizcaino, left field base hit, Yankees win game one!!

Broken bat, foul ball off to the right side. And the barrel of the bat, came out to Clemens and he picked it up and threw it back at Piazza! I don't know what Clemens had in mind!!

And he goes after the first pitch, way back! Derek Jeter! He's lined it out! Goodbye, home run! First pitch homer for Derek Jeter!

Up the middle, base hit! Here comes Posada. Throw to the plate, hit's the runner, into the dugout. Brosius will score and the Yankees lead 4-2!

Piazza gets into one to center, back is Bernie Williams. A threepeat!

Now Rivera is set, and the 0-1. Swung on and hit in the air to deep center. Bernie back, away back! He's there! He makes the catch! Ballgame over! World Series over! Yankees win! The Yankees win! The New York Yankees have once again reached the summit of the sports world! They've won their third straight championship, 4th in the last 5 years, and 26th all time. The most successful franchise in all of sports! Starting the new millennium, the New York Yankees are once again World Champions!

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Source : Wikipedia