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Mike Piazza likely to fall shy of Hall of Fame election

Mike Piazza is in his third year on

Mike Piazza is in his third year on the Hall of Fame ballot. Credit: AP, 2003

The official tally will be revealed Wednesday at 2 p.m., but it appears that, for the second year in a row, Mike Piazza will miss out on election to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Piazza received 57.8 percent of the vote in 2013, falling short of the 75 percent threshold for election.

Two excellent resources, Baseball Think Factory and @weird_meat, have tallied the ballots of the numerous writers who have thus far revealed their votes. With a little more than 20 percent of the expected vote revealed, Piazza is languishing at around 72 percent -- admittedly a bump from 2013, but still short of the necessary mark.

So why is one of the greatest offensive catchers in baseball history struggling to get elected?

It appears some writers believe that Piazza, who hit 427 home runs and posted an on-base plus slugging percentage of .922, may have used performance-enhancing drugs.

Piazza has never publicly failed a test for a banned substance and has denied using PEDs.

But that hasn't stopped writers like the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy from assuming the worst and leaving Piazza off their ballots. Here's how Shaughnessy explained his decision: "I don't vote for the PED guys, so it's easy to say no to (Barry) Bonds, (Roger) Clemens, (Sammy) Sosa, (Mark) McGwire, and (Rafael) Palmeiro. They have positive tests and/or admissions and/or multiple appearances in the Mitchell Report. Piazza and (Jeff) Bagwell have none of that. They just don't look right."

Murray Chass also didn't cast a vote for Piazza, putting him in a group with Craig Biggio, Eric Gagne, Paul Lo Duca, Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Palmeiro and Sosa. Chass says these players won't get his vote because "they were proved to have cheated, admitted they cheated or are strongly suspected of having cheated."

Back in the land of facts, here's how Piazza's numbers compare to the 13 catchers already in the Hall of Fame, all 240 position players enshrined in Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame average for all position players:

  Piazza HOF batter average HOF catcher rank HOF position player rank
Batting average .308 .303 3rd T-67th
On-base percentage .377 .376 5th T-72nd
Slugging percentage .545 .462 1st T-14th
On-base plus slugging percentage .922 .837 1st T-22nd
Hits 2,127 2,397 3rd 101st
Home runs 427 209 1st 23rd
RBIs 1,335 1,212 3rd 52nd

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