Mike Piazza was my favorite baseball player. I have some memorabilia, including a picture of the Marlins' scoreboard when Jim bought time for it to read, "Lesa Loves Mike Piazza". Mike autographed it.
I wanted to include this about his retirement, from Wikipedia.
After not being signed to any MLB team for the 2008 season, Piazza announced his retirement on May 20, 2008, saying, "After discussing my options with my wife, family and agent, I felt it is time to start a new chapter in my life. It has been an amazing journey."
Piazza thanked all of his fans for their support, saying, "Last but certainly not least, I can't say goodbye without thanking the fans. I can't recall a time in my career where I didn't feel embraced by all of you. Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland and Miami -- whether it was at home or on the road, you were all so supportive over the years. But I have to say that my time with the Mets wouldn't have been the same without the greatest fans in the world. One of the hardest moments of my career, was walking off the field at Shea Stadium and saying goodbye. My relationship with you made my time in New York the happiest of my career and for that, I will always be grateful."
Piazza made a return to Shea Stadium during the "Shea Goodbye" closing ceremony on September 28, 2008, where he received the final pitch in the history of the stadium from Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. Piazza and Seaver were also afforded the immense honor of officially "closing" Shea when they walked off together into the center field exit and closed the door on the park after waving goodbye to the capacity crowd. The two are generally regarded as the greatest hitter and pitcher, respectively, in the history of the franchise.