On January 8th, the players who will be inducted into to the National Baseball Hall of Fame next July will be revealed.
For Mike Piazza, widely viewed as the best hitting catcher of all time, this will be his second time on the ballot. Piazza was passed over last year, receiving less than 60 percent of the vote.
Even though there is zero evidence linking Piazza to performance enhancing drugs, there were writers who kept him off their ballot last year simply due to the fact that he played in the steroid era, while noting that they would include him the next time around. There were also plenty of writers who recklessly lumped Piazza in with known steroid users such as Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa.
Other writers cited Piazza’s lack of defending himself against steroid allegations as a primary reason for leaving him off the ballot. Now that Piazza has denied the steroid allegations in his book Long Shot, there seems to be no excuse left for the writers to hide behind.
So, how’s Piazza faring so far?
The ballot was announced about three weeks ago, and they have been trickling in from writers since then. Darren Viola (@RRepoz on Twitter) has been tracking the ballots and compiling the results.
As of December 17th, with 4 % of the ballots counted, Piazza’s name appeared on 78.3 % of the time – a shade above the 75 % required for induction.
If the current trend holds, Piazza will be inducted along with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Craig Biggio, and Frank Thomas.
There’s still a long way to go, but perhaps the momentum is (rightly) on Piazza’s side this time around.