“Piazzas A’Plenty” …or… “There’s Something Fishy Here”

I suppose “Plenty” isn’t quite the right word, since I’m only showcasing three cards…but dammit, man! There’s alliteration at stake here!

For those who didn’t know, Hall-Of-Famer Mike Piazza was a Florida Marlin for about a week. In a trade designed to help the Marlins in their 1998 Fire Sale – and how sad is it that just saying “Marlins Fire Sale” isn’t specific enough? – the fish traded Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson, Jim Eisenreich and Manuel Barrios (who’s MLB career ended up being 6.2 innings pitched) to the Dodgers for Piazza and Todd Zeile. Piazza was in his walk year, so the Marlins figured on either flipping Piazza for prospects or letting him walk.

Piazza’s days with the Marlins did get immortalized on cardboard, and I recently realized that I didn’t have any of those cards, so I took steps to rectify that situation.

First up is a 1998 Upper Deck card; this one is a variation that’s actually numbered as card #681a.
1998 Upper Deck 681a Mike Piazza
Card #681 without the “a” showed Piazza with the Mets. He also had a card in Series 1 which showed him with the Dodgers.

Here’s the back of the UD card:
1998 Upper Deck 681a Mike Piazza back

Like Upper Deck, Fleer Tradition also featured Piazza with all three teams he played for that season. Unlike UD, all three were base cards.
1998 Fleer Mike Piazza
There are other cards featuring Piazza with the Marlins, but I think I’m good with these two.
1998 Fleer Mike Piazza back

After his week with the Marlins, Piazza did get traded for prospects… The Mets gave up their #1 pick (6th overall) from 1977 (Geoff Goetz), an outfield prospect (and Mookie Wilson’s stepson) in Preston Wilson, and pitcher Ed Yarnall. Preston Wilson easily had the best career of the three, playing 10 years and leading the NL in RBI in 2003 (while with the Rockies).  Goetz, possibly the best prospect of the three, never made it past AA.

I recently got another card of Piazza, and while it doesn’t show him with the Marlins, there is something fishy about it… It might help to know that this came from the April, 1999 issue of Sports Illustrated For Kids.
1999 SI for Kids Series 4 Mike Piazza

The back of the card comes clean about April Fools Day, and explains that in all his flying between L.A., Miami and New York the previous year, Piazza’s luggage got mixed up with that of hockey goalie Dominik Hasek.
1999 SI for Kids Series 4 Mike Piazza back
…But there’s no mention of how Hasek did wearing Piazza’s catcher gear, not did Hasek appear to get his own card.

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5 thoughts on ““Piazzas A’Plenty” …or… “There’s Something Fishy Here”

  1. That April Fools card is a classic! I remember one from that set that had Mark McGwire in a Cubs jersey and it looked about as bizarre as Piazza in a Marlins uniform or goalie equipment. I should look up the whole set – what a fun concept that is.

  2. I’m with Tony… that SI card is awesome. I have a huge collection of them dating back to the early 90’s… but I don’t think I ever saw that card. Guess I need to go digging through my binders to see who else was on that sheet.

  3. Pingback: Four Vintage All-Star Rookies | The Shlabotnik Report

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