No. 2 – Mike PiazzaIn 1988, with pick 1,390 in the MLB amateur draft, the Los Angeles Dodgers selected Mike Piazza. And so started the most unlikely Hall of Fame career of them all.
Piazza won the NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1993, playing another five full seasons with the Dodgers, and was an All-Star in all of them.
He was traded to the Mets in May of 1998 for three prospects in perhaps the greatest trade in NY history since Babe Ruth. Once in NY, Piazza played eight seasons from ’98-’05 and was an All-Star in six of them.
Piazza is widely considered to be the greatest offensive catcher in MLB history as his career numbers are completely mind-boggling.
Over 16 seasons, Piazza posted a career .308 batting average. More impressive than that though was that Piazza had nine seasons in which he hit 30 homers and batted .300. In the history of baseball, only seven other catchers have combined to accomplish the feat nine times.
Besides statistics, Piazza had one of the most heartwarming moments in the history of baseball when he hit a walk-off homer in the first game at Shea Stadium after the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
Piazza’s teams made it to the playoffs several times, albeit with not much success. His best shot at a World Series title was in 2000 against the crosstown rival Yankees. Though the Mets came up a bit short, Piazza hit two homers in the five games and got into a famous bat throwing incident with Roger Clemens.