Mike Piazza’s book titled “Long Shot” has been published by the New York Times and the former catcher openly talks about his major league career which spanned 16 seasons.
A 62nd round player rising to stardom, that was the career of Mike Piazza. Piazza rose though the Dodgers organization and seemed well on his way to Cooperstown by the time he ended up in New York. It did not work out quite that way though.
Piazza fell 98 votes short of making baseball’s Hall of Fame on his first ballot. Rumors circulated late in Piazza’s career that he was a rabid steroid user.
The former catcher denies using steroids but admits he tried androstenedione- the same drug Mark McGwire was linked to at one point in his career. Piazza also admits to experimenting with amphetamines before baseball banned them.
“I used Vioxx because it was an intense anti-inflammatory and it made me feel good,” he writes in the book, which is set to go on sale Tuesday.
“When I caught for 22 straight days and could hardly drag myself out of bed to get to the ballpark, Vioxx picked me up. I’d sing, ‘It’s gonna be a Vioxx morning.’ ”
Piazza also had a long standing feud with Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens. On July 8, 2000 Piazza was the recipient of a fast ball to the head by Clemens. Clemens later tried to say he was just pushing Piazza off the plate but the 12 time All-Star sees things differently.
“I truly believe that if I hadn’t gotten my head down at the last instant, Clemens’ two-seamer would have struck me in the eye and possibly killed me,”Piazza says in the book.
Piazza would go on to take karate lessons in preparation of his next meeting with Clemens. He would get another shot in the October during the 2000 World Series.
During Clemens’ fourth pitch to Piazza in the first inning of Game 2 a fast ball diced the catchers bat into three pieces. Clemens would pick up the piece that flew his direction and throw it in Piazza’s direction. Pizza recalls approaching Clemens with the handle.
“What the f–k is your problem?” Piazza asked but the confrontation went no further.
Piazza is not quite sure where rumors came from that he was gay. He had a theory but does not throw anyone under the bus. The now 44-year-old is married to playmate Alicia Rickter. The couple have two children.
The chances for Piazza to make the hall next year seem remote. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent all will be new to the ballot.