In a must read report for the New York Times, David Waldstein says Mike Piazza admits to using androstenedione, but not steroids in his upcoming memoir.
According to Waldstein, Piazza also admits to using amphetamines before they were banned in 2006, and looked into the possibility of using Human Growth Hormone with the Mets, unaware it was a banned substance.
Waldstein says Fred Hina, a former Mets trainer, advised Piazza not to use HGH.
“It shouldn’t be assumed that every big hitter of the generation used steroids,” Piazza says in the book, according to Waldstein. “I didn’t.”
Piazza expressed disappointment to Waldstein he wasn’t elected to the Hall of Fame this year.
“I won’t deny there is some disappointment, but I understand it’s a process,” Piazza told Waldstein. “All things considered, I got over 50 percent, and a lot of people were very supportive. I mean, there’s what, almost 600 voters? That’s a lot.”
Piazza appeared on 57.8 percent of the Hall of Fame ballots – he needed to appear on 75 percent of the ballot to get elected.
Michael Baron, Contributor
I’m really looking forward to Piazza’s book. He was always a very guarded, quiet, and private personality, and I am curious to learn more about a player I idolized for nearly a decade in Flushing.
As far as PED’s are concerned, I’m sick of hearing people speculate and condemn players like Piazza over the possibility they used steroids, banned substances, and so on. The debate should be whether or not Piazza’s talent combined with production warrant election to the Hall of Fame, and if there’s evidence of PED use, that can (and should) be taken into account. Suspicion and belief shouldn’t be enough to impact a decision to vote for a player or not, and in Piazza’s case, that’s all it is: suspicion. No matter what he says in the book, the speculation will always be there, and that really isn’t fair. Hopefully he at least has momentum working in his favor so to get elected to the Hall of Fame soon. He is the very definition of a Hall of Famer, and he deserves to be enshrined in Cooperstown.
Piazza’s book, titled, “Long Shot,” will be available starting February 12.
I’m still outraged by egregious error that nearly half of the Baseball Writers Association of America made when they left Mike Piazza off their 2013 Hall of Fame ballot.
Sure, it had people’s attention for a little while, but then MLB announced they would start testing for HGH, Brian Wilson rumors sprung up, and most recently, Banner Day taking place before a night game, has been occupying the majority of Mets fans’ bandwidth. But the snub of Piazza, who should have been on the receiving end of a telephone call last Wednesday ushering him into Cooperstown, is still drawing my ire.
Piazza is the best offensive player to ever play his position. That’s not up for debate. If we forego traditional stats and try to evaluate Piazza’s offensive production in a more neutral context (one not influenced by his lineup protection, the rate the hitters got on base and scored in front of him, etc.) Piazza created 1,378 runs: tied the most by a catcher (with Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk). Ted Simmons (1,283), Yogi Berra, and Joe Torre (1,259) round out the top five.
Some voters prefer to go straight off their gut. I’ve heard about the “wow” factor cited by Ken Rosenthal (and called into question here by Rob Neyer) in making a case for Jack Morris. Wait, Jack Morris had more of a “wow” career than Piazza? Not in my baseball conscious, nor many I’ve talked to over the past… oh, I don’t know… decades.
His critics will cite supposed “whispers” of steroid use and they’ll say he was a terrible defensive catcher, which indicate he isn’t a “first ballot” kind of player. However, people in media have been referring to Piazza as a “future Hall of Famer” for nearly 15 years. It was a slam dunk since the late ’90s. We all knew it.
In regards to his defensive play, pitchers had a 3.80 ERA when Piazza was catching. According to ACTA Sports, if you look at all the other catchers who caught the same pitchers in the same year that Piazza did, they allowed a 4.34 ERA. Was Piazza gifted at throwing runners out? No, and that mostly stemmed from footwork issues that hindered his relatively-adequate to moderately-decent throwing arm. But I would argue the few three-hoppers Mets fans grew accustomed to seeing Piazza bounce towards second base act more as a legend of past times than an actual negative impact on his pitchers and the amount of runs they gave up.
In 2009, Craig Wright wrote a detailed sabermetric study for The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2009 that showed that hitters had a .723 OPS with Piazza behind the plate and a .748 OPS with other catchers. Also, the The Fielding Bible: Volume II by Acta Sports found that Piazza saved at least 20 to 70 runs more than an average catcher defensively, depending on the technique that they used. That seems like a catcher who, at the very least, worked with his pitchers to develop the most effective game plan against opposing hitters.
Mike Piazza is an all-time great hitter and a moderate defender. To me, that is worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
I feel bad for Mike Piazza, because I assume he wanted to get in to the Hall of Fame, and he was denied access by the BBWAA. I don’t
feel bad for the Hall of Fame, because I hold that place in fairly low regard anyway, and yesterday’s vote did nothing to change that…
The Mets will only seriously consider retiring Piazza’s number after he’s wearing a Mets hat in the Hall of Fame, at least that’s what I was told years ago. I assume nothing has changed, but maybe it has. Who knows? Actually, a nice statement would be to retire his number and get it hanging up on the wall in time for the All-Star Game. There is also the issue of Piazza’s book, which was slated to come out this summer, and in which he’s expected to address the steroid rumors. So, I wonder how yesterday’s vote impacts the book’s release…. as well as the team’s plans for his legacy. Personally, I don’t care either way, I still admire the guy and will always consider him among my favorite players to ever wear a Mets uniform. Plus, the pencil-thin beard? I mean, that alone is worthy of a retired number, right?
Anyway, the reaction on- and offline yesterday to the BBWAA was entertaining. Personally, I think they look foolish, because they’ve obviously all unknowingly (or even knowingly) voted for cheaters before, yet yesterday they decided to take a stand. They did very little to expose steroid use with their pens in the late 90s, yet decided to take a stand yesterday with their votes. Also, you know they’re going to eventually vote in Piazza, and maybe even Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, which will make them look even more foolish. I mean, what’s the point of that? I’d think a guy is either a Hall of Fame baseball player or he’s not. It’s like the writers think they’re MLB’s parents, grounding their kids for the year, saying, ‘Go to your rooms, and think about what you’ve done.’ But, in the future, all will be OK? When did it become the responsibility of sports writers to temporarily punish people on the ballot, or at the very least make them feel bad or embarrassed… and all based on hearsay, and no actual evidence, by the way?
Yes, I’m more worked up about this from a media point of view, less about baseball. Because, I believe people did steroids in baseball and I’m OK with that. It’s hardly a source of pride, and the game should regret it, but I know the deal and accept responsibility for my actions, as a fan, who paid to see games, watched them on TV, and loved every minute of it. And, I’ll tell my kids about it, and be honest, because that’s baseball, which is littered with all sorts of eras and rules and shady activity that mess with stats and legacy (be it spitballs, greenies, segregation, wars, dead-balls, steroids, adjusted mound heights, the DH, and so on). Frankly, that’s our society in general, so why would sports be any different. But, to get all high and mighty now, 15 years later, and act like I’m some moral authority, charged with punishing players with votes and lectures on what’s right and wrong, when I did nothing to change that behavior when I could, seems like it would be a hypocritical to me. But, to each his own, I guess…
The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced today that, for the first time since 1996, the Baseball Writers Association of America elected nobody to the Hall of Fame.
Mike Piazza received 57.9% support, which was short of the necessary 75% needed to be elected.
Jan. 9, 2:30 pm: Mets COO Jeff Wilpon issued the following statement: “We hope in the not too distant future that Mike Piazza will take his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. … We are optimistic one day soon Mike‘s plaque, with a Mets cap, will be hanging in Cooperstown where it truly belongs.”
Jan. 9, 2:01 pm: To see the final vote totals, check out this link at MLB.com.
The much-anticipated 2013 Hall of Fame inductees will be announced today at 2 pm at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.
This year’s ballot features 37 candidates, with 24 newcomers, including Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa, along with 13 men from previous elections, such as Jeff Bagwell, Jack Morris, Tim Raines and Lee Smith.
The results for 2013 will be announced live on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com as part of a three-hour special presentation that begins at noon.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
To be honest, I’ve been dreading this day. Frankly, the only reason I care that Piazza gets in to the Hall of Fame is because I know he wants to be in the Hall of Fame… and I’m a Piazza fan and he was on the Mets. If he didn’t care, I probably wouldn’t care. So, I hope things work out for him today. I know he’ll be happy if he makes it.
In regards to the MLB Hall of Fame, I grew up imagining it was a place to honor the games greatest, most feared and influential players. Unfortunately, it is anything but that. In my view, it’s a collection players ranging from slightly above average to elite. In my strict, not-statistical, super conservative view, of the players I grew up watching, only Rickey Henderson, Greg Maddux and maybe Tony Gwynn would get my vote. You could probably convince me of one or two more, but that’s assuming you can keep me paying attention to the conversation. As I said, I usually ignore this discussion every year, but I’m paying attention here because Piazza was one my favorite players.
Of course, I’m a tad hypocritical, because I do care about the retired numbers and the museum in Citi Field, probably because I go to Citi Field, I hope to take my kids there, and I expect it to be part of our baseball experience. However, in regards to the overall game, I’ve never been overly concerned with its history and legacy, mostly because it’s all so relative from era to era and I never got to watch those players first hand. I am far more passionate about the people I liked watching, rooting for, got to meet, etc., and so talk of retiring Piazza’s number is far more important to me than today’s vote. It’s a subtle difference that I don’t expect others to understand, but it makes sense to me…
Lastly, I am looking forward to the fight between some baseball fans and the BBWAA members who will be responsible for today’s vote. I look forward to seeing these voters be labeled as hypocrites and inconsistent with history (since the Hall of Fame is littered with accused cheaters, from Gaylord Perry to Whitey Ford to Willie Stargell). Yet, this generation of voters will continue to see themselves as judge and jury of a player’s character and integrity (which are two of the criteria required to be factored in to a decision). I also look forward to seeing if these people vote one way this time around, only to vote some of these guys in next time… as though the BBWAA’s responsibility is to temporarily punish people (or simply make them feel bad) without hard evidence. It’s all so mangled and in need of reform.
Anyway, good luck to Piazza and his family. I hope he gets what he wants…
In a recent interview on MLB Network’s Intentional Talk, former Met Al Leiter said he believes Mike Piazza should go into the Hall of Fame.
“He’s the greatest hitting catcher [of] all-time,” Leiter explained.
“His statistics support that he’s a Hall of Famer. I played with him for seven years, lockered next to him. He was a guy that carried our team without a doubt. He had support, but not great support. He was the guy.”
Michael Baron, Contributor
Leiter is right. Piazza dominated at his position throughout the nineties and most of the first half of the last decade. In general, there are too many “very good” players getting in these days, which is diluting the significance of the honor. But Piazza wasn’t just very good; he was great and an iconic player in the sport during his era. He put his stamp on a franchise and a city and stands alone in so many defining moments for the franchise during that time period. That is the very definition of what a Hall of Famer is.
It’s disappointing to listen to people talk about whether Piazza used performance enhancing drugs. The debate should be whether or not Piazza’s talent combined with production warrant election to the Hall of Fame, and if there’s evidence of PED use, that can (and should) be taken into account. Suspicion and belief shouldn’t be enough to impact a decision to vote for a player or not, and in Piazza’s case, that’s all it is: suspicion - – Piazza belongs in Cooperstown in July.
The 2013 inductees to the National Baseball Hall of Fame will be announced today at 2:00 pm ET on MLB Network.