HOF inductees will be announced on January 9, Piazza makes debut on ballot

Mike Piazza polaroidThe 2013 inductees to the National Baseball Hall of Fame will be announced on January 9.

Ballots from eligible voters are due by December 31, and the induction is July 28 – a candidate must appear on 75 percent of the ballot in order to get elected.

Mike Piazza is making his first appearance on the ballot.

Piazza hit 396 home runs as a catcher, the most in Major League history. He hit 427 home runs in his 16-year Major League career.

Piazza also has the highest slugging percentage, tenth best batting average, 13th best on-base percentage, and fourth most RBI among catchers in Major League history. He was a 12-time All-Star, won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1993, won ten Silver Sluggers and finished in the top 10 of MVP voting in seven seasons.

When asked last January what hat he wants to wear if elected to the Hall of Fame, he responded:

“It’s gotta be the Mets. No question.”

The Hall of Fame chooses the hat an elected player wears on his plaque.

Piazza is the all-time home run leader among catchers, and in eight seasons with the Mets, Piazza hit .296 with 220 home runs and 655 RBI with a .542 slugging percentage.

Michael Baron, Contributor

Piazza is the greatest hitting catcher of all time and the most prolific offensive player in Mets history. He dominated at his position throughout the nineties and most of the first half of the last decade. 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 defines what a Hall of Famer is – Piazza belongs in Cooperstown in July.

It’s disappointing to listen to and read the accounts from reporters (who vote for the Hall of Fame, by the way) talk about whether Piazza used performance enhancing drugs. I also don’t like that they’re discussing their ballots before they’re due. Suspicion drives perception and could lead to Piazza to not get into the Hall of Fame, despite their being no evidence that he ever used PEDs. 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. He was never named in an investigation, and never was seen with any materials to conclude he was using. It seems to have become a “guilty until proven innocent” situation, and that’s not fair for any player.