At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Mike Piazza will find out if the fourth time is the charm.
The former Mets catcher will learn then if he has been elected to the Hall of Fame in his fourth year of eligibility when results are announced live on MLB Network.
Former Mariners and Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. is seen as the only lock on this year’s ballot and may even eclipse Tom Seaver’s all-time voting percentage record of 98.84.
Griffey was a 13-time All-Star. Some are wondering if he will be the Hall’s first unanimous selection.
Others who are seen as having a shot at taking their place with baseball’s immortals on July 24 in Cooperstown include former all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman, slugging first baseman Jeff Bagwell and former Yankees outfielder Tim Raines.
Piazza, who finished 28 votes short last year, has been polling well among ballots that have been released publicly. As of Tuesday afternoon, he had been named on 86.7 percent of the 166 ballots that were tabulated by Hall of Fame ballot tracker Ryan Thibodaux.
Griffey, who hit 630 home runs, had been named on 100 percent of those ballots. The Hall of Fame sent out about 470 this year, about 100 fewer than in 2015 because of a rule change that removed some non-active members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America from the voting rolls.
The poll is not scientific, however. Hall of Fame voters do not have to reveal their selections — only if they voted.
If Piazza is elected, the rules change may turn out to have been a factor. The theory is that older voters who were tough on Steroid Era ballplayers may have lost their ballots in the Hall of Fame’s pruning.
Rumors of performance-enhancing drug use have dogged Piazza and undoubtedly contributed to his not getting the required 75 percent needed for election in his three previous years of eligibility. Still, his vote percentage has gone up from 57.8 to 62.2 to 69.9.
Although he never has been named as a steroid user in an official forum and consistently has denied using PEDs during his career, the taint of the era has clung to his name. Many voters have cited suspicions about Piazza and Bagwell as a reason for leaving the two prodigious sluggers off their ballots.
Piazza’s offensive credentials are among the most impressive among catchers in history. He is the all-time leader in home runs as a catcher, with 396 of his 427 coming while in the lineup at that position. Piazza was a 12-time All-Star who hit .308 with a .922 OPS. He spent eight seasons with the Mets and hit .296 with 220 home runs and 655 RBIs. He was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 2013.
Among the returning candidates — all of whom polled less than 40 percent in 2015 — are Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Lee Smith, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, Mike Mussina, Jeff Kent, Gary Sheffield, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Trammell and McGwire are in their final years of eligibility on the writers’ ballot.
Only Griffey and Hoffman are seen as having a chance of induction among those on the ballot for the first time. That list includes former Mets Billy Wagner and Luis Castillo, plus Garret Anderson, David Eckstein, Jim Edmonds, Troy Glaus, Mike Lowell and Mike Sweeney.
Hoffman was the all-time saves leader with 601 before he was passed by Mariano Rivera and still holds the National League record.
Bagwell hit .297 with 449 HRs in a 15-year career with Houston. Raines, a favorite of those who use advanced stats, hit .294 with 170 HRs and 808 stolen bases. He played in 23 seasons.