Mike Piazza was clearly a Hall of Famer, as were numerous other players on the ballot that were not elected this year. He’s among the leaders, if not THE leader, in many offensive categories including home runs and slugging percentage. He was a perennial MVP candidate and was on the All-Star Team roughly every year. He hit, and hit, and hit.
Any allegations about illegal substances that may or may not have had some unknown positive effect on his overall performance are pure speculation at best. The Hall of Fame has a five year waiting period for a reason and as we look back at Piazza’s numbers and performance over the years it’s clear he should be a clear-cut favorite to be on practically every ballot. There has been plenty of time for dirt-digging and witch-hunts, if such things matter to your vote. Nothing substantial has turned up as the dust settled on his career, clearly meaning he should be inducted into the Hall of Fame among his fellow all-time greats.
It simply isn’t a Hall of Fame if the most famous players aren’t a part of it. Perhaps we should start referring to it as the Hall of Favorites, subject to the whim and folly of the baseball writers of America. It’s not just Piazza either, and it’s not all voters that have failed baseball fans. There are many well-reasoned ballots out there that were forced to leave people off the ballot not because of whispers and rumors, but because they are only allowed to vote for 10 people and found more than 10 on this ballot were qualified. For none of those qualified players to get in is a travesty.
The Hall of Fame is just a museum, but baseball is a sport that celebrates lore and history and the Hall of Fame is a great representation of that. It has failed in that regard, and it’s a step down a road to being just another virtually meaningless award. If it’s not going to represent the best of the best, then it’s purpose has passed. Take down all the plaques and let it remain as a museum of treasures and accomplishments, and as fans we’ll remember who the truly great players are. It’s not the Hall’s fault, as it’s the writers who vote for the collection of players honored, but if they’re not going to change the criteria for voters, these things will continue to happen and deserving players will be kept out. There is a lot of outrage right now, but this may be the last straw. Next year many fans, such as me, will treat the pending vote as a triviality.