When Mike Piazza was hired last month to manage Italy’s national baseball team, one of the first people he called was dugout icon Tommy Lasorda.
“…[Lasorda] was very inspiring and the way he ran the team was he inspired you to achieve more than you thought you were capable of achieving,” Piazza told the AP. “So that’s the one thing I want to bring in.”
It was the former L.A. Dodgers manager, now 92, who had convinced Piazza to switch from first base to catcher—a move that helped spark the slugger’s Hall of Fame career.
Piazza, an Italian-American from small-town Pennsylvania—who also spent eight years playing for the New York Mets, will manage Italy in the 2020 European Baseball Championship and the 2021 World Baseball Classic, according to CBS Sports.
Italy has never advanced to the second round of the WBC, so the former all-star may have his hands full.
Previously, Piazza was the hitting coach for Italy in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
In his 16 years in the MLB, Piazza hit .308, with 427 home runs and 1,335 RBIs.