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Additional info for Mike Piazza: Mike and the Mets

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During the summer, before Mike had begun to sizzle, there had been private conversations among Mets management. The Mets men had to decide whether it would be wiser to pay a fortune Page 26 to sign Mike or spend a comparable amount of money to sign two or three other players? 328 average, 32 home runs, 111 runs batted in, 88 runs, 38 doublesand his appeal to the fans convinced Doubleday, Wilpon and Phillips that re-signing Mike was essential. Doubleday didn't need to be convinced. He had spoken with Mike in late June during the Mets' three-game series against the Yankees and told him a contract would be worked out if Mike wanted to stay.

But what a hitter! He wasn't always a great hitter. The statistics he produced in his first two seasons after signing with the Dodgers were not extraordinary, but were good enough to persuade the Dodgers to promote him to the next level of the minor leagues. He led the Dodgers' minor leaguers in home runs, with 29, in 1991. Only three players in all of minor league baseball hit more that season. Page 52 Mike spent part of 1992 with the Triple A Albuquerque Dukes. 377 with seven home runs in only 114 at-bats.

How much was his contract situation affecting him? Page 17 Mike was under contract through the end of the 1998 season. He could become a free agent then and sign a new contract with any club. Players who are about to become free agents often feel extra pressure. They hope to have an especially productive season to increase their value. The contract Mike had for 1997 and 1998 earned him $15 million. He thought he could make almost as much per year in 1999 and thereafter if he performed well in 1998.

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