A look at Baseball Hall of Fame inductees Griffey Jr. and Piazza


The Associated Press



The Associated Press

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — A look at the players to be inducted July 24 into the Baseball Hall of Fame:

GEORGE KENNETH GRIFFEY JR.: Born Nov. 21, 1969, in Stan Musial’s hometown of Donora, Pa., on Musial’s 49th birthday. … 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, throws left, bats left. … In 22 seasons hit 630 home runs, sixth all-time, had 2,781 hits and batted .284, scored 1,662 runs and had 1,836 RBIs, 15th all-time, and 5,271 total bases, 13th all-time. … 13-time All-Star. … Won 10 Gold Glove Awards and seven Silver Slugger Awards. … Grew up in Cincinnati watching his father, Ken Griffey Sr., play outfield for the Reds. … Selected first overall in 1987 amateur draft. … Made major league debut on opening day 1989 against the defending American League champion Athletics and doubled off ace Dave Stewart in his first at-bat. … In 1993, homered in eight straight games to tie the MLB record held by Dale Long and Don Mattingly. … From 1993-2000 had seven 40-plus home run reasons, interrupted only by a broken wrist that cost him half of 1995 season. … Led AL in home runs three times from 1996-99, hitting 56 in both 1997 and 1998. … In October 1995, became just the second player (Reggie Jackson in the 1977 World Series is the other) to hit five home runs in a single postseason series. … Named AL MVP in 1997, totaling 393 bases and leading the league in runs (125) and RBIs (147). … Traded by Seattle to the Reds following the 1999 season for four prospects. … Named to baseball’s All-Century Team in 1999. … Signed nine-year deal with Reds worth $116 million. … Hit 40 home runs and drove in 118 runs in 2000. … From 2001-04, played fewer than 80 games per year on average due to hamstring tears, knee problems, a dislocated shoulder, and ankle tendon ruptures. … Hit 35 homers in 2005 and captured NL Comeback Player of the Year Award. … Reached 30-home run mark again in 2007, earning final All-Star Game selection. … Finished career as a bench player for the White Sox and Mariners. … With his father in 1990, became the first father-son duo to play together in MLB history and they also hit back-to-back homers in one game. … Retired early in the 2010 season.

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MICHAEL JOSEPH PIAZZA: Born Sept. 4, 1968, in Norristown, Pa. … 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, throws right, bats right. … In 16 major league seasons hit 427 home runs, including a major league-record 396 as a catcher, drove in 1,335 runs, fourth all-time among catchers, had 2,127 hits, and posted a .308 career batting average. … Named to 12 All-Star Games and was named 1996 All-Star Game MVP. … Captured 10 Silver Slugger Awards at catcher and finished in the top five of NL MVP voting four times, including back-to-back second-place finishes in 1996 and 1997. … Had baseball connections from the start. His father, Vince, grew up in the same neighborhood as Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda. … Attended the University of Miami and Miami-Dade Community College and was taken in the 62nd round of 1988 amateur draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers on the recommendation of Lasorda. … A first baseman in college, Piazza switched to catcher. … After briefly quitting the game, established himself as a top prospect in the minor leagues by hitting 52 home runs combined during the 1991 and 1992 seasons. … Called up to the Dodgers at the end of the 1992 season and went 3 for 3 in debut. … In 1993, had 35 home runs, 112 RBIs and .318 batting average, and was unanimous selection as NL Rookie of the Year. … From 1993-97, averaged better than 33 homers and 105 RBIs and a .337 batting average per season despite shortened seasons due to the 1994-95 strike. … Had 201 hits in 1997 to become the first player whose primary position was catcher to reach 200 hits in a single season. … Led league in putouts four times and assists twice. … Traded to Florida Marlins with Todd Zeile on May 14, 1998, for five players, including Bobby Bonilla, Jim Eisenreich, Charles Johnson and Gary Sheffield, and eight days later was dealt to the New York Mets for Geoff Goetz, Preston Wilson and Ed Yarnall. … Had 32 homers, 111 RBIs and a .328 batting average in 1998 and led Mets to playoff berths in both 1999 and 2000, advancing to the World Series in 2000 where he had two homers and four RBIs in a losing cause. … Topped the 30-homer and 90-RBI marks in both 2001 and 2002. … Hit memorable two-run homer in first game at Shea Stadium after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. … Granted free agency in October 2005, played one season apiece with the San Diego Padres and Oakland A’s, and retired following 2007 season.

The Associated Press

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