In his Hall of Fame induction speech Sunday, former Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza said he “will always be truly grateful” to the organization that drafted him and employed him from 1988 to 1998.
Piazza thanked Tommy Lasorda, his first owner, Walter O’Malley, former hitting coach Reggie Smith and former Dodgers teammate Eric Karros, among others he singled out by name.
Lasorda sat in attendance with the other Hall of Famers as Piazza rattled off some fond memories of his first manager:
“You always sent me baseball equipment when I needed it,” Piazza said, “you convinced the Dodgers to draft me, you gave me big league at-bats in spring training when I was a big wide-eyed kid out of junior college, you went to bat for me when I walked away from the game, you convinced the Dodgers to let a very popular catcher in Mike Scioscia go so that a veteran pitching staff would know I was their catcher my rookie year.”
Watch Piazza’s comments here:
While Piazza’s Hall of Fame plaque features a New York Mets logo, his Dodgers legacy is complicated.
Piazza has not appeared at Dodger Stadium since he retired in 2008. His 2013 memoir, Long Shot, included critical comments of coaches, executives and others in the organization during Piazza’s time as a Dodger — including broadcaster Vin Scully.