Piazza not elected to HOF

piazzamike_g_110911_420_1The 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.

Hall of Fame announcement today at 2 pm… Good Luck, Piazza!

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.

Mike PiazzaIn 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…

Leiter says Mike Piazza belongs in the Hall of Fame

Mike Piazza polaroidIn 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.