The first few days of this week I want to discuss a few trades that should never have happened. I've been a fan since the 80's and while there have been many questionable trades by management there are a few that really stick out and to this day irritate most Dodger fans. One of the most recent ones is Carlos Santana being traded for Casey Blake which is still too early to be determined if it is as bad compared to the others. Since Carlos is also a catcher and since Mike Piazza was recently in town for a book signing we look at the Dodgers favorite 62nd round pick.
As most people know Piazza was family favorite of Tommy Lasorda and after a lot of twists and turns in Piazza's baseball career ( read the book for more details ) he was drafted by the Dodgers which was considered a courtesy pick and was never expected to do anything meaningful in baseball. A few years later and Mike is up in the big leagues and lights it up and becomes Rookie of the Year for the Dodgers which is the first award of many that he will go on and win during his career. During his years with the Dodgers he had set up himself up to go down as one of the greatest Dodgers ever and should have been allowed the oppurtunity to do that but in 1998 during the Fox owned years Mike and the ownership didn't see eye to eye on a new contract and with Fox wanting to prove a point traded him in his prime to Florida which promptly traded him to the Mets in New York. The Dodgers received a few players headlined by Gary Sheffield which had a decent tenure with the Dodgers but the trading of Piazza tore the heart out of the team and the city of Los Angeles. Piazza was the most popular player at the time but ownership stated he wanted too much money and wanted to move on from him even though months later they give Kevin Brown the first 100M contract. A fine pitcher in his own right but not worth the contract. Needless to say this trade should have never happened and to this day Piazza holds a grudge against the team and most of it is deserved. On a side note, he should not knock Vin Scully on any level though as I have heard that he has done in his new book which I just started reading and haven't got to that part yet. It might have been blown out of proportion but I will see what the book reveals.
So obviously with one of my favorite players growing up I wanted to acquire his autograph on a ball and since he is never in town doing any type of autograph appearances I knew it would be difficult to acquire his autograph in person so off to eBay as usual to hunt for another elusive autograph. Since he played recently most of his signatures are of good quality but I am also a bargain hunter as I did not want to spend north of $100 as almost all auctions were set up as. So I had to bide my time and found one that started at a penny so the bidding war began. Back and forth for a week and in the end I won it at a little over $80. I thought it was a great looking autograph and a steal at that price. As with the Pee Wee Reese autographed ball I decided to have this one graded as well and just like that one I was highly disappointed but for different reasons. It graded out a perfect 10 on condition but a lousy 7 on the signature. The signature might not be perfect but a 7? Come on. Like they say it is an "opinion" but I for sure think it was low ball grade. What do you think? But in the end like all graded balls, even if you don't like the grade you still have a realize you have a great autograph that has been added to your collection like what I have with this ball. Good hunting everyone.