This day in Los Angeles Dodgers history saw Mike Piazza earn 1996 MLB All-Star Game MVP honors in front of his hometown of Philadelphia. Starting at catcher and batting fifth in the National League lineup, he went 2-for-3 with a double and home run in a 6-0 win over the American League.
The 1996 All-Star Game at Veterans Stadium marked Piazza’s fourth of what would become 10 consecutive appearances in the exhibition. He was named to the NL roster as a reserve during his rookie season in 1993, then voted to start from ’94-2002.
Piazza’s history with All-Star week festivities also included participating in the Home Run Derby in 1993 and 1994, but he failed to hit a homer in either year. The former Dodgers catcher also scuffled a bit at the plate in his All-Star Game appearances before breaking out in 1996.
With the NL leading 1-0, Piazza opened the second inning with a mammoth home run off Charles Nagy of the Cleveland Indians. Then with two outs in the bottom of the third, Piazza roped an RBI double off the Angels’ Chuck Finley to extend the NL’s lead to 4-0.
While winning All-Star Game MVP is an honor in its own right, it was all the more memorable for Piazza as his father was in the stands. Veterans Stadium also was where Piazza used to attend games as a child.
Although Piazza had a modest history in All-Star Games, that he fared well in 1996 was largely an extension of what he had done to that point in the regular season. He entered the break batting .363/.432/.623 with six doubles, 24 home runs and 63 RBI.
MLB All-Star Game MVPs in Dodgers franchise history
Piazza became the fourth player — and still the most recent — in Dodgers franchise history to win All-Star Game MVP. He joined Maury Wills (1962, the first-ever Midsummer Classic MVP), Steve Garvey (1974, 1978) and Don Sutton (1977).
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