In roughly two weeks, we’ll find out who has made the Hall of Fame’s class of 2014. Mike Piazza has been faring well in early voting, but there are still some voters who will keep Piazza (and others, such as Jeff Bagwell) off their ballots absent of proof that they did anything wrong during their careers.
Steve Simmons of The Toronto Sun isn’t one of those voters:
So I begin my Christmas Day voting by eliminating the steroid class. No Bonds, No Clemens. No McGwire. No Palmeiro. No Sosa.
And stop at Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell. Those who won’t vote for the PED people often don’t vote for Piazza and Bagwell. Both have Hall of Fame numbers. Both belong. The problem here, there are those who believe Piazza and Bagwell were PED users. There is no evidence. There is no proof. There is just suspicion.
Without evidence, proof or anything anecdotal, I will vote for Piazza and Bagwell. Rumours shouldn’t dictate who gets a vote and who doesn’t.
The last two sentences in the above blurb should serve as a lesson for other voters. It really should be this simple.
The only whispers about Piazza come from Reggie Jefferson, a player who retired in 1999 and never played on a team with Piazza. He claimed that Piazza used illegal performance enhancing drugs, but never provided a shred of evidence (anecdotal or otherwise) to support his claim.
The other whisper – which is really hot air – has been coming from writer turned blogger Murray Chass, who is widely viewed as a hack. Chass decided to convict Piazza because he had back acne, completely ignoring the fact that back acne has many causes (and recently ignoring the fact that Piazza actually went into detail about his back acne in his book Long Shot).
As is noted above, there has never been one shred of evidence linking Piazza to illegal performance enhancing drugs. There are those who are suspicious of players whose numbers insanely spiked or declined. Piazza’s numbers never did. There are those who are suspicious of players whose bodies expand and then rapidly shrink. Piazza’s never did. Piazza is simply the greatest hitting catcher of all time, someone who was deserving of first ballot induction.
Let’s hope the voters get it right in two weeks, and elect Piazza.