It was an emotional series at Shea Stadium, as this was the first time Mike Piazza returned to Shea, but in a different uniform, after all his fine years in New York.
Piazza would eventually go into the Hall of Fame as a member of the Mets. Next to Tom Seaver, he is the most popular & successful Mets player of all time.
With Piazza aging & the team
turning in a new direction, he was let go to free agency in the off season. He signed on with the San Diego Padres. There he joined former Mets team mate Mike Cameron as well.
There was much fanfare & emotion the night before as Piazza played his first game at Shea Stadium as a visitor. In his first at bat, he struck out against Steve Trachsel to lead off the 2nd inning.
He would ground out in the 3rd. In the 6th inning, with two outs, he collected a single to the delight of the fans. The Mets won the game 3-2 with Piazza going 1-4.
Wednesday August 9th 2006: At this point the Mets were riding high, with a 13 1/2 game lead over the Phillies in the NL East. Willie Randolph's Mets (68-44) would host Bruce Bochy's Padres (58-55) in front of 49,979 fans at Shea.
The Padres would also win their division in 2006, but lose in the NLDS to the same St, Louis Cardinals that would beat the Mets in the NLCS. Tonight's starters were Pedro Martinez for the Mets & San Diego's Clay Hensley.
In the home 1st, Jose Reyes led off with a double, Paul Loduca then hit a liner that fell for a single to right field. After Carlos Beltran struck out, Carlos Delgado singled home Reyes for the first run.
In the 2nd, Reyes singled, scoring Lastings Millidge with the second Met run.
The Mets continued the scoring in the 3rd. With two outs, David Wright doubled. Jose Valentine brought him in with a base hit. The veteran Valentin, surprised everyone & stone second. Endy Chavez singled to center bring home Valentine with the 4th run. It was 4-0 Mets.
Martinez, rolled along with a shut out until the top of the 4th inning.
It was here that Mike Piazza came up with two outs & blasted a HR over the right field wall.
The Shea fans, respectfully & happily cheered Piazza with a standing ovation as he rounded the bases & crossed the pate.
The fans did not settle down until Piazza came out for a curtain call.
In his next at bat in the 6th inning, Piazza launched a HR deep into the left field bleachers. Once again, he got the standing ovation but there were a few boos mixed in.
The HRs were his 17th & 18th on the year. They were also the 5th & 6th HRs in his career off Pedro Martinez. The Mets went on to a 4-3 win.
Piazza would play one season in San Diego batting .283 with 22 HRs 19 doubles & 68 RBIs playing in 126 games. He would play his last season in Oakland in 2007.