It’s quite another thing to see it. But here we are.
Piazza’s origin story, even over 30 years later, remains wild. From Norristown, PA, a young Piazza slugged at first base about 30 miles outside of Philly, and showed off such a sweet swing that Ted Williams himself once dropped by his father Vince’s cage to watch the boy in action.
Such things happen when you’re a family friend of Tommy Lasorda’s, as Vince Piazza was.
That’s what got Piazza drafted by the Dodgers years later after an unsuccessful one-season stint with the Miami Hurricanes and some JUCO ball in Florida, after all. But just because the family knew Tommy did not mean they were dyed-in-the-wool Dodger fans.
One look at a young Piazza and his brother meeting 1980 Phillies World Series hero Tug McGraw, and two things are obvious: one, these boys were all in on their local champions, and two? Piazza has grown up since then, but never changed. This is so blatantly the same dude who later made it big.
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Dodgers Hall of Famer Mike Piazza as a Phillies-loving kid is jarring.
If you think this is a tough blow for Dodgers fans, give some attention to the poor Mets supporters on a day like this. Your eyes might be burning, but their eyes are rolling around the linoleum.
“Property of the Phillies,” eh? We’ll see about that…
Of course, when Piazza grew up, changed positions, and unlocked his swing, he tortured the Phillies and made them his property, hitting .321 with a .997 OPS against them in 602 at-bats. That’s the second-highest OPS he posted against any opponent he faced more than 100 times, edged out by a single percentage point by the Houston Astros (in exactly 100 games, 65 fewer than his Phillies head-to-head matchup).
Considering he spent seven-and-a-half seasons with the Mets, that can’t have been pleasant for Piazza’s old neighbors, even though they should’ve seen the vengeance coming the second he left their backyard.