The Los Angeles Dodgers have a rich history that includes several Hall of Famers and World Series titles, but their trade of Mike Piazza in May 1998 is one of the few unfortunate stains on the franchise.
When the Dodgers traded for Danny Duffy at the deadline last season they acquired a player who grew up in the area and was a fan until he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals.
Duffy was born in Goleta, Calif., located within Santa Barbara County, and stayed in the area until his MLB career began. As a child, Duffy made a few trips to Dodger Stadium each season.
When L.A. traded Piazza to the Miami Marlins, Duffy, who was 9 years old at the time, was heartbroken. From that point, he would always try to plan their trips to the ballpark when Piazza was back in town.
“I’d always try to go when Mike Piazza came back,” Duffy recalled. “Whether he was with the Mets, or two and a half week stint with the Marlins, we were all over that if he was going to come back. We always made it down there when he was with the Mets.
“Gosh, I cried my eyes out when he got traded. Him and Zeile, for Bobby Bonilla, Gary Sheffield, Manny [Barrios] and Jim Eisenrich. That was a tough couple days in my childhood, so that can paint a picture about how I felt about the Dodgers growing up.”
After switching the Royal Blue he has worn his entire career to his childhood Dodger Blue, Duffy was excited to be back home.
“Now having it be full circle and being able to play for them, I’m walking a little bit higher right now,” he said. “It’s just crazy. I’m very, very thankful for the opportunity.”
Unfortunately for the left-hander, his tenure with the Dodgers never got going as he was unable to return from a left flexor tendon injury that ultimately required surgery.
Turner joined Piazza in Dodgers franchise history
As the Dodgers were closing out the 2021 regular season, Trea Turner hit two grand slams during the final weekend.
Turner became the first Dodgers player with two grand slams in a three-game stretch since Piazza accomplished the feat on April 9 and 10, 1998.
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