Long regarded as one of the best hitting catchers of all time, Mike Piazza, a Norristown native, has failed in his inaugural bid for enshrinement at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
In his first year on the ballot, Piazza received 57.8 percent of the vote, which is 98 votes shy of the 75 percent requirement for election, according to the New York Times. Piazza wasn't alone, though, as voters with the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) failed to elect anyone on the 2013 ballot, which featured other big names including Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Jeff Bagwell.
The vote sent a clear message against the use of performance-enhancing drugs, and showed that even players like Piazza, who were never tied to the use of steroids, are not above the suspicion of use.
“I think based on what happened in baseball in the recent past, we are allowed to assume guilt before innocence,” said Tony Massarotti of The Boston Globe, in an interview with the New York Times. “I think you would be naïve to think that anyone in baseball wasn’t doing something during that time.”
For his career, Piazza put up a .308 batting average with 427 home runs, 1335 runs batted in and an OPS of .922. He also won the Rookie of the Year award in 1993, and was named as an All-Star 12 times throughout his career.
His 427 home runs – 396 of which came while behind the plate – would lead all of the current Hall of Fame catchers, and his career batting average would best other well-known names such as Carlton Fisk and Johnny Bench.
Despite failing to become a first-ballot inductee, Piazza should be able to secure the required voters for enshrinement in the upcoming years. Until then, he'll remain an innocent casualty of the steriod-era of baseball.