Mike Piazza and Faith in Hall of Fame Voting

Another year, another batch of worthy players kept from the Hall of Fame.

As of January 3, according to Baseball Think Factory, only four players, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, and Craig Biggio, have appeared on 75 percent of publicly-released Hall of Fame ballots in one of the strongest classes in history. Approximately one-fifth of all ballots have been released.

Could Piazza be snubbed from the Hall again?

Of all the projected Hall of Fame snubs, the one that hits closest to home among Mets fans is certainly Mike Piazza. For fans of both the Dodgers and Mets, he seems like a clearly-deserving candidate. However, some voters, almost 30 percent so far, have left Piazza off their ballots. A few voters have kept Piazza off their ballots based on merit, arguing that in a year where the ballot is full of all-time greats, Piazza wasn’t great enough. However, although there are some voters for whom being far and away the best hitter at a position just isn’t enough, most voters who have left Piazza out have done so because of steroid suspicion.

Of all the players on this year’s ballot, only one, Rafael Palmeiro, has ever officially failed a drug test (Sammy Sosa reportedly failed an anonymous drug test in 2003, but it was never officially confirmed by Major League Baseball) . Only one other player, Mark McGwire, has admitted to it. There are suspicions about others, but no one else has been proven guilty. Players like Piazza and Craig Biggio, each deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame, have been punished simply because they played in the same era as suspected cheatersThis is voting at its ugliest.

I have always thought that players who have cheated do not belong in the Hall of Fame. A few years ago, had I been given a vote, suspected players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds would not have been on my ballot. However, Piazza’s situation over the past two years has changed my thinking. The attempts to keep  cheaters out of the Hall, at the expense of clean players, has gotten way out of hand.

To punish steroid users, and mostly suspected ones at that, is hypocritical of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. It will be the first time players will be kept out of Cooperstown en masse based on the “integrity clause.” To keep steroid users out of the Hall would be to not acknowledge the racists, bigots, criminals, drunks, and drug abusers already enshrined. The writers will vote for players who have a well-documented history of those offenses, but if there is any suspicion of a player using steroids, they won’t get votes? That’s not right. Maybe those voters would have some ground to stand on if we knew for sure who cheated, but with players like Piazza and Biggio getting snubbed, they have lost me.

Ty Cobb once  climbed into the stands to beat up a handicapped fan. It’s even rumored that he once beat a man to death with the handle of a pistol. Some Hall of Famers cheated on their wives. Others were viciously racist. Numerous players even admitted to using “greenies,” since banned by Major League Baseball, in their playing days. Gaylord Perry, Don Drysdale, Don Sutton and Whitey Ford, all Hall of Famers were notorious for throwing illegal spitballs.

As much as I’d like integrity and character to be a part of the voting process, it hasn’t been done for the 75 years the Hall of Fame has existed. If the Hall was started all over again, then I would understand the fight to keep cheaters out. But now, after decades of voting in cheaters and generally bad people, suddenly deciding to embark on a massive witch hunt that keeps players out because of back acne and hat sizes is completely unfair. The Hall of Fame doesn’t have to be perfect, just as its members aren’t.

Follow me on Twitter @UpAlongFirst.

Presented By Diehards

About Connor O'Brien 312 Articles
Connor O'Brien is a second-year economics student in the Rutgers University Honors College, a lifelong Mets fan, and an editor here at MetsMerized Online. He embraces a sabermetric point of view in his articles, but doesn't believe this conflicts with scouting or player development. Follow him on Twitter @connor_obrien97
  • mitchpetanick

    There has been cheating through all the years, it just has taken on different forms – doctored baseballs, corked bats, greenies, caffeine, tobacco and probably many other things players have done to gain an edge through the years.

  • ..

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    Completely agree – The HOF is a museum, and a place to go to see the history of the best players OF THEIR TIME. We can debate cheating AND we shouldn’t compare bonds to Arron (2 different times and circumstances) we shouldn’t compare different eras, just dosnt make sence. (but sometimes for a good argument we do anyway, lol)
    The best of the best of their era, weather they did greenies, coke, peds, corked bats, or scuffed balls. Cheating has always been around and will always be, it dosnt mean the games weren’t played and the stats didn’t happen.

  • FRANK SALADO

    I agree, and that goes for some of the writers that vote on the HOF players, we should hold them to the same standards as they think of themselfs as holier than thaw, instead they should look into their own rank, but this not about them is about the accomplishment of the players and how they did it, and whether they are worth it of the HOF and they should held to the same standards as their predecessors, IE Mantle, Ruth, Cobb etc.

  • Captain America

    Piazza has two challenges this year. The number of highly qualified candidates and the suspicions…. Even with that mike is right on the cusp, 3 votes short at the 17% mark.

    Fingers crossed

  • BehindTheBag

    If they only let nice guys into the Hall of Fame, Stan Musial would be a lonely guy.

    It’s time to declare amnesty on players who did not fail an official drug test.

  • JustSomeInternetGuyYouDontKnow

    Sadly, I think Piazza will be waiting another year for all these others to go in and it’s not right. When it comes to catchers, he is at the top in offensive categories. He should have went in last year but with the roadblock about to clear up, there should be no reason for him to linger any longer.

  • Harvey33

    He needs to get in.

  • BronxMets

    Dude justifying players doing steroids by using Ty Cobb and throwing spitballs is laughable. One has NOTHING to do with the other. Its not even close. So please that thinking is what is dangerous and ugly not piazza not getting into the HOF. He wasn’t part of the solution so therefore he is part of the problem. Nobody stood up to say stop. They were all protected by the CBA took advantage of it and made millions for themselves while others who didn’t do steroids got cut. You ok with that? That’s you that’s not me . Using steroids was illegal, dangerous, fraudulent and completely unfair to people who didn’t use. Those are the facts.

  • BronxMets

    one more time THEY DIDNT TAKE TESTS. Give me the results of Piazzas testing from 1992 on. You have clean tests from ALL his years then fine……..but guess what the players refused to test wonder why.

  • BronxMets

    writers are held up to much more stringent standards they don’t have a CBA protecting them.

  • BronxMets

    cheating and steroid use are two totally separate and distinct activities.

  • BronxMets

    and he’s gay………..

  • BronxMets

    none of those compare to steroid use not even close.

  • BronxMets

    for the record throwing a spitball and using steroids isn’t even on the same planet let alone similar in its damage to the game. not even close.

  • BronxMets

    It was a joke dooosh

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    Are they? Is it the cheeting or drug use you dont approve of? There are plenty of hofers that that dont one or the other and some both

  • BronxMets

    Is this a joke?

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    FYI Using steroids was NOT illegal – steroids have only been banned in MLB since 1991, and testing for major league players did not begin until the 2003 season

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    Players have attempted to gain chemical advantages in baseball since the earliest days of the sport. In 1889, for example, pitcher Pud Galvin became the first baseball player to be widely known for his use of performance-enhancing substances.[6] Galvin was a user and vocal proponent of the Brown-Séquard Elixir, a testosterone supplement derived from the testicles of live animals such as dogs and guinea pigs

  • BronxMets

    The ignorance of America is in full  display. Do you know what illegal means? Do you know the difference between a rule of baseball and the law of the United STates of America? Be ignorant all you want steroid use with a prescription from a DR is ILLEGAL it is now and it always has been. Clear?

  • BronxMets

    trying to link steroid use to LSD? Nice try. Not even close. You are trying to link bad behavior that is a sign of a personality trait of yours.

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    Outfielder John Milner testified that while he was playing for the New York Mets, he had seen in the locker of teammate Willie Mays a powerful liquid amphetamine he called the “red juice”
    Is this ok??? umm yea every player did what they could to get an advantage.
    Mickey did greenies, cobb sharpned his cleats and there will be another drug or whatever every year till the end of time

  • BehindTheBag

    You don’t think that voting guys in or out based on innuendo and conjecture is a little silly? I’m pretty sure Piazza used. It wouldn’t surprise me if Bagwell used. Could I prove it in a court of law? No.

    That’s why I’m saying amnesty. If you didn’t fail an official MLB test after 2003, then you should be considered hall worthy. So that means Bonds, Clemens, Piazza, Bagwell, Thomas, McGwire, Sosa, Big Papi are eligible. Palmeiro and Manny would not be.

    Only fair way to do it, IMO.

  • BehindTheBag

    So you are saying – everyone who played in that era, because they didn’t stand up to their union, is not hall worthy? Poor Greg Maddux.

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    ok, so lets talk illegal… Is cocaine illegal??? hmmm yea a lot of HOF did that, was Drinking booz in prohibition illegal??? yep, no need to go into other crimes that are illegal, cause there are plenty of HOF that committed illegal acts.

  • BehindTheBag

    Well if that isn’t proof that players will do ANYTHING to get an edge…dude consumed dog balls.

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    lol he sure did over 100 years ago

  • BehindTheBag

    Why do people use PED’s? To get a competitive advantage.

    Why do people throw the spitball? To get a competitive advantage.

    Why did players take greenies? To get a competitive advantage.

    All three things are against the rules in place now, and considered cheating. It is the same.

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    yes very true

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    EXACTLY

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    u don’t think scuffing a ball or Cutting a ball has a MAJOR effect on how a ball moves in the air??? I can tell you it sure does. 60-70 pitchers hates when an ump threw an old scuffed ball away and replaced it with a new one. Jesh just read any thing from goose, or rolly or any good pitcher back then. Damn, a cut or scuffed ball moves a lot when u know how to pitch.

  • Harvey33

    Being straight isn’t a joke is it? There’s nothing funny about being straight or gay.

  • Ha! It kills me that I lost this psd. Someone suggested (I forget who) that I should of replaced the painting behind him with a picture of Shea stadium. I might redo it again one day and add that.

  • Connor O’Brien

    They aren’t? Have you done a study on this?

    Either way, they are both major offenses. I don’t see how we can just pick and choose which type of cheating crosses the line and which doesn’t.

  • Connor O’Brien

    Babe Ruth, in order to hit for more power, once injected himself with extract from sheep testicles.

  • Connor O’Brien

    Is assault legal? Is beating your spouse legal? Are cocaine and LSD legal? DUI?

  • Connor O’Brien

    Yes, steroids were cheating, dangerous, a bad example for kids, etc. But when has the Hall of Fame EVER cared about that? Why start now?

    The Hall of Fame has always been about recognizing the sport’s greatest players. As much as I dislike the cheating that went on, it happened, just as the racism (Tris Speajer was a Klan member), bigotry,dirty play, and OTHER MAJOR INSTANCES OF CHEATING happened. At some point we have to realize that this isn’t the first generation of cheaters, liars, and jerks to come through the game.

  • BronxMets

    none of that equals the damage that steroids have done to the game. not even close

  • BronxMets

    Legal? You are confusing the issue. Taking steroids is illegal against the law.

  • BronxMets

    get serious if you want to converse with me.

  • BronxMets

    lighten up have fun….I don’t need the lecture

  • BronxMets

    weren’t regulated what the H are you talking about? They are illegal to take today 10 years ago 20 years ago 30 years ago. What part of that don’t you understand.

  • BronxMets

    Major NO. That explain it for you.

  • BronxMets

    all have completely different results none of them anywhere near Steroids.

  • BronxMets

    Is Keith Hernandez in the HOF? no. Why?

  • BronxMets

    well the problem with that is it went on to long that is the issue. but yes I blame every player. guys like Glavine should be shamed he lead a clubhouse and was a rep. Should have stood up and said we need to get this stuff out of the game.

  • BronxMets

    don’t assume you couldn’t prove it in a court of law. I think you probably could. Especially if you find out where Piazza got them from. I think it would be easy to get a lot of these guys if anyone wanted to.

  • Connor O’Brien

    Just as the players from 1900 to 1947 should have stood up to the league over the exclusion of African-American players. Are we going to keep all those guys out too?

  • Connor O’Brien

    Because he wasn’t a good enough player

  • BronxMets

    yeh ok run with that…that’s pretty funny he actually lead the league is some things at some point unlike Mr Piazza he also has a WS ring and no need to discuss defense when you have  piazza in the conversation.

  • BronxMets

    that is a dumb comparison Ill leave it at that.

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    He wasnt the best of the best

  • Connor O’Brien

    Rob Neyer put it perfectly:

    “What I cannot understand at all is the integrity argument without taking specifics into account. I still cannot see any distinction, integrity-wise, between using amphetamines in 1980 and using steroids in 2000. In both cases, players were using drugs illegally. In both cases, players were hoping to become better baseball players. In both cases, players were, wittingly or not, hoping to gain edges over players who were not using those same drugs.

    Integrity has little or nothing to do with results. If two students cheat on a test and one gets and 92 and one gets a 73, does the C student have less integrity than the A student?

    Another problem with the integrity argument is that there’s almost no precedent for it. Do”

    http://www.baseballnation.com/2013/12/30/5255996/mlb-baseball-drugs-peds-steroids-amphetamines-greenies-hall-fame

  • Connor O’Brien

    Don’t leave it at that. Explain to me how not standing up against drug use is WAY worse than not standing up against racism.

  • BronxMets

    you telling me what to do, good luck with that. let us all know how you make out with that.

  • Connor O’Brien

    LOL

  • BronxMets

    and the point of that post was????????????????????????

  • Connor O’Brien

    Did you read it? That would answer your question.

  • BronxMets

    really he won an mvp did mike? 11 gold gloves are ya high?

  • BronxMets

    yup what was the point of your post….does that convince you that steroids and amphetamines are the same? well no wonder you have your head up your asp.

  • Connor O’Brien

    He was a GREAT player, but a fringe Hall of Famer at best.

  • Connor O’Brien

    “Integrity has little or nothing to do with results. If two students cheat on a test and one gets and 92 and one gets a 73, does the C student have less integrity than the A student?”

    Replace amphetamines vs. steroids with spitballs vs steroids. Whatever you’d like, the point remains the same.

  • BronxMets

    well Mike wasn’t the best hitter in the league nor did he hit the most HRs. If you guys are arguing that Bonds Sosa and McGuire are to be taken seriously then Mike is nowhere near the best. and defensively he was awful.

  • BronxMets

    UM no it doesn’t. ANd if you cant see it that’s not my issue to fix that would be yours.

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    Do u know whos in the hof?? Does he have 500 hr? Or 3000 hits or a 320 average with 500 sb? Tell me. Yes hes the best fielding 1b in history snd for me hes borderline but just not quite there

  • Connor O’Brien

    I didn’t know it was the “Hall of League Leaders.” Bill Mueller was a batting chanmp and a World Series champ.

    Piazza was one of the five or ten best hitters of the era, and did so as a catcher. Not to mention the fact that he is far and away the best hitter at his position ever.

  • Connor O’Brien

    You and I don’t know how much those drugs affected these players. Each may have a stigma surrounding them that says one thing, but you can’t use that as evidence. One makes you feel alert every day and gives you more energy for the dog days of August and September. The other makes you stronger. Both chemically alter you to make you a better player. Both were banned by Major League Baseball. Both are cheating and wrong.

    Hall of Fame voters, having no more education on the science of these drugs as you and me, should not be in the business of saying “oh well this instance of cheating is worse than that.” The Hall of Fame is about celebrating the game’s history, both good and bad while recognizing the best players. After letting in dozens of other players who broke the rules to gain a significant advantage, why are we all of a sudden starting now?

  • BronxMets

    does piazza?

  • Captain America

    Connor – who is the best hitter you have seen play?

  • Piazza belongs in the Hall, and not just because I am a Mets fans, but because I watched his career and how he became an impact player and he deserves to join the other greats. Maybe the vote should be given to the fans to decide. He is the greatest catcher I have been privileged to watch play the game. He gets my vote.

  • $89210078

    sr** the HOF . Piazza will never be forgotten !!!!

  • Connor O’Brien

    You mean in person?

  • Captain America

    Yes

  • Connor O’Brien

    Technically I’ve seen Piazza and other greats play, but I don’t count those because I was so young…

    I’d say either David Ortiz or Joey Votto

  • Captain America

    Gotcha…. Same with me and Willie Mays…

    Piazza in my eyes was about the best right handed hitter I saw play a lot. Was not very nice to the fans the times I met him in spring training.

    Piazza deserves to make the HOF and it will happen.

  • BronxMets

    why you ask?

  • BronxMets

    pal I don’t play set up games ok put your jammies on and go back to bed

  • Connor O’Brien

    I sure hope so. With 70 to 75% of the vote this year, whether he gets in or not, he should get in over the next 13 years as players tend to get more votes as time goes on. People who argue against him based on merit are crazy…

  • Tlagee

    That’s for the article Connor.

    The obvious integrity issue has to do with all those records being smashed particularly how ridiculous the home run record was getting. That was flat out cheating. In a game where stealing is a stat, there is some truth to doing what yo can get away with. But Bonds, McGwire, Sosa and Clemens were making a mockery of the game and disrespecting all the players before them.

    I don’t think Piazza used steroids and if he did he should not be voted in. The jerk Murray Chass has been trying to convince anyone who will listen that it was a well known fact that Mike was a juicer though it seems his best proof is pimples on his back.

    Being that Chass is the only one I know of who is accusing mike in the press than I think Piazza deserves to be voted in. Let’s put it this way, as a hitter who caught he had no equal in the history of the game.

  • Tlagee

    That should read Thanks for the article.

  • Connor O’Brien
  • BronxMets

    and that has what to do with steroids?

  • john q

    Not that’s he’s a candidate but Paul Lo Duca failed a drug test.

    Although they didn’t fail a drug test Bonds, Clemens, Sosa and Piazza have been implicated and alleged to have done steroids.

    Piazza by his own admission took Andro. Reggie Jefferson said that Piazza took steroids.

    There’s a difference with Biggio in that he’s never been implicated or alleged to have done steroids.

  • They were all forms of cheating, some to a high degree some to a lesser degree. What don’t you get?

  • john q

    Hey, the HOF has probably already inducted 4-5 steroid users. Jose Canseco said they definitely already admitted one.

    I’m always surprised Nolan Ryan’s name doesn’t come up more often. Go back and look at his numbers from the ages of 40-44 and how he dominated various pitching categories.

    I’m surprised Carlton Fisk’s name doesn’t come up more often. Fisk never hit more than 26 HR and then all of sudden at the age of 36 he hit 37 HR. And then he went on to post some solid HR number into his 40’s.

    How about Dave Winfield’s late career power surge after he seemed done at age 38. Or how about his age 40 season with the Blue Jays in 1992?

    How about Paul Molitor’s rebound from injuries to become a virtual iron man from ages 34-41?

    How about Kirby Puckett?

  • BronxMets

    its not me that doesn’t get it. ANy of those other cheating methods make Brady ANderson hit 50 hrs?

  • Connor O’Brien

    Seriously? Your argument is steroids are against the law, yet you would let Cabrera in

  • Connor O’Brien

    It doesn’t matter. It’s against the rules either way.
    Who cares if someone cheated BETTER than the other, they all cheated…

  • BronxMets

    ok pal you go through life that way. that wasn’t what I was talking about so if that is your debate you are free to go have it with someone else. next you are going to tell me shooting someone in the foot and shooting them in the head is the same.

  • BronxMets

    seriously dude are you as dumb as you sound. its one of the factors. what was being explained is for stupid people like yourself that come up with this stupid idea that it wasn’t illegal in baseball until 2004 doing steroids was always illegal. ok pay attention.

  • Connor O’Brien

    What are you talking about? You are making absolutely no sense.

  • Connor O’Brien

    No. We’re talking about the so-called “integrity clause” of Hall of Fame voting, nothing more. Someone who cheats and hits 700 home runs doesn’t have less integrity than someone who hit 300 and cheated. Both players broke the written and moral codes of baseball in similar ways. You can’t draw a line between players who did greenies and players who did steroids and say that one side should get in and one side shouldn’t.

  • Captain America

    How did Orlando Cepeda get into the HOF?

  • Captain Clutch

    LOL pot is legit now in Colorado and hopefully will spread! then we can send some to Sandy lol

  • Captain Clutch

    Yes! how did you know?lol

  • Captain Clutch

    oh right the nsa told you, the Core is back! LOL

  • mitchpetanick

    And the player who was to supposedly responsible for the color barrier sits in the hall of fame – Cap Anson

  • Captain Clutch

    where is the rest of the core?

  • Connor O’Brien

    As do many other racists (and at least one Klan member).

  • Captain Clutch

    I hope you get the interview Teddy!

  • Captain Clutch

    the home town is gone! !with my new name the masses will see my pov right away

  • Captain Clutch

    bronx I agree with you completely!

  • BehindTheBag

    I KNOW that I did not just read that a person considers, on the basis of their on field accomplishments alone, Keith Hernandez more worthy of the HOF than Mike Piazza. That’s ludicrous.

    Not even Keith Hernandez himself would think Keith Hernandez had a better career than Mike Piazza.

    You’re better than that Bronxie.

  • Captain America

    I think he was convicted and served jail time for trying to pick up 150+ POUNDS of illegal drugs at the airport.

  • Captain America

    Are there any other convicted criminals who served jail time who are enshrined in Cooperstown?

  • BronxMets

    where do you people come up with this stuff? you take a comment and twist it around.

  • BronxMets

    thx man

  • BronxMets

    you must have been talking to yourself the entire time.

  • BehindTheBag

    Your point above is that Keith Hernandez is being held out of the hall because of the drug thing, so why not Piazza. Since you are comparing the two, obviously one must assume that you think Keith’s candidacy is as strong or stronger than Piazza’s.

    If not, then the people who replied to you are right – your premise is flawed, and Keith is not getting in based on performance, not drugs.

    Sometimes it’s like you write these things without thinking your arguments through. Then when you get called on it, you get all defensive, like above. Very strange.

  • BronxMets

    I think you overthought this never implied keith was better then mike. you read into that on your own.

  • BehindTheBag

    Guess you had no point then, thanks for wasting everyone’s time.

  • Vazzano suggested that I think I. I’ve been spamming the crap out of this pic it’s just so awesome.

  • BronxMets

    hey sorry if you missed the point.

  • Connor O’Brien

    What an insightful comment! Thank you!

  • wilponzi

    Ban this troll

  • wilponzi

    BronxMets, that is