What kind of baseball world do we live in today? Aaron Sele, Steve Finley, and Julio Franco all received Hall of Fame votes. Franco actually received 6 votes. Six “sports” writers gave Franco a Hall of Fame vote. But the true disservice of this year’s HOF vote was seeing Mike Piazza not receiving the 75% of votes needed to gain entry into the Hall of Fame (Craig Biggio also has a case).
Numbers don’t lie. If we compare Piazza’s stats against Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, and Gary Carter‘s, Piazza should have been a slam dunk for the HOF. Piazza has the least amount of at-bats, yet led the other three players in homeruns. He trailed only Johnny Bench in RBI, but he had 700 fewer at-bats than Bench.
Piazza has a career batting average of .308 while the other three were in the .260s. Slugging percentage was not even close, with Piazza sporting a .545 percentage. Fisk played 24 years and was an 11 time All Star.
Piazza played 16 years and was a 12 time All Star. And despite having played fewer years than the other three, Piazza was in the top ten of MVP voting ten times. The next closest was Bench with five (not to take away from his two MVP awards). Mike Piazza was the greatest hitting catcher to have played the game. How did the writers who voted Piazza in the top ten for MVP forget about that at HOF voting time?
When Piazza retired, the talk was whether he would wear a Dodger hat or a Met cap on his HOF plaque. How did his stock drop while he sat at home? Shame on anyone who refused to vote him in based on suspected PED use. Piazza was never accused in any reports nor did he fail tests. He was never named in the Mitchell Report.
As he entered his late 30′s, his numbers dropped, as is usually the case when Father Time starts calling… unlike others whose stats spiked after age 35 because PEDs helped them defy their age. Barry Bonds hit 45 HR at age 40. At age 39, Rafael Palmeiro hit 38HR. At age 37, Mark McGwire hit 32HR in just 236 at-bats. Piazza never hit over 30HR after age 34.
Because of a strong 2014 HOF class, Piazza may be shut out again next year. What a shame that would be. Mike Piazza deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis, Hall of Fame Tagged: | Aaron Sele, Barry Bonds, Carlton Fisk, Craig Biggio, Gary Carter, Hall of Fame, Johnny Bench, Julio Franco, Los Angeles Dodgers, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza, New York Mets, Rafael Palmeiro, Steve Finley