Quick Hits: Jon Heyman’s HOF Ballot

By Danny Abriano

We’re now less than two days away from the results being announced, and the ballots are continuing to trickle out.  This evening, Jon Heyman released his ballot. For the purposes of staying on topic, we won’t dig into the fact that Heyman voted for Don Mattingly.  What I’m zeroing in on, is the fact that Heyman lumped Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell in with the so called “tainted players,” including Sammy Sosa.

September 11, 2011; Flushing, NY, USA; New York Mets former catcher Mike Piazza before the game against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The seven “tainted players” Heyman listed were Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, and Jeff Bagwell.  Two of those players simply don’t belong on that list.  Bonds cheated and got caught, as did Clemens.  Both of them faced individual trials, and both perjured themselves.  McGwire refused to talk to an oversight committee, but later admitted that he used.  Palmeiro failed a drug test.  According to the New York Times, Sosa failed a drug test in 2003 and also appeared on a separate list of players that was linked to known user Jason Grismsley in 2006.

It’s incredibly unfair that Piazza and Bagwell are being lumped in with known cheaters, some who have perjured themselves in front of the United States Government.  For Heyman, it’s reckless journalism.  I engaged Heyman in a debate on Twitter, and he responded (as he usually does).  He reiterated to me what he stated in his article: that he’s delaying his yes on Piazza to “await more evidence.”  He even suggested Piazza may shed some light on potential steroid use in his book that’s due out this February.  It’s enough to make my head spin.

What evidence is there on Piazza that Heyman is awaiting “more” of?  Piazza never failed a drug test, his name never appeared in any reports, he was never called before congress, and no player ever stated that Piazza used steroids.  There is no evidence linking him to performance enhancing drugs.  Still, a national writer is comfortable erroneously stating that there is evidence, while withholding his Hall of Fame vote as he awaits more of that non-existent evidence.  Mind boggling.