A Rock Star on Two Coasts
It is hard for a player to establish himself in the league. Doing so in a huge media market, especially one that has passionate fans is another thing all together. Piazza doing it in two such markets helped secure his status as a superstar.
Piazza came up at a time when the Dodgers were going through a youth movement. This was a team that developed National League Rookie of the Year winners five years in a row (Eric Karros, Piazza, Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo, and Todd Hollandsworth). Piazza became a key piece to the teams success, which unfortunately for Dodger fans, yielded no World Series titles.
Between a brief five game lay over with the Florida Marlins, Piazza elevated his status in the game when he became the face of a rebounding New York Mets franchise. He would secure his legacy not only with his play but his appearance in popular culture.
Aside from the above Pert Plus ad, he had his mug on not one but two different cereals. In the late 1990s, he was on the box and in commercials for General Mills “Grand Slams” cereal. In 2000, he was on the box of “Amazin’ Mets Frosted Flakes Cereal”. Nintendo also developed a non-Griffey baseball game, Mike Piazza’s Strike Zone for the Nintendo 64.
Piazza married Playboy Playmate Alicia Rickter, despite the tabloid rumors at one point claiming he was gay.
He even did some acting, notably on the TV show Baywatch and a scene in the film, Two Weeks Notice. At one point Ben Stiller had the early workings of a script written for a comedy film called Go to Hell, Mike Piazza. While that film never came to be, it’s premise was based on a guy getting revenge on the catcher after Ben Stiller’s character’s life is constantly ruined.