Mike Vaccaro had an interesting column in Sunday’s New York Post in which he writes about Mike Piazza’s chances to make the Hall of Fame when the voting is announced on Wednesday. Vaccaro said that many writers are refusing to vote for Piazza because of the steroid whispers. But then there are other writers, he said, who are questioning Piazza’s credentials regardless of whether he used PEDs. Vaccaro contends, and I agree, that that is just ridiculous.
I can understand not voting for Piazza over the steroid issue. I do think it is unfair because there has been no evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, that he was juicing, but it is a somewhat reasonable excuse not to vote for him.
But to say his numbers are not Hall worthy? Just asinine. Piazza was simply the greatest hitting catcher ever. There is no argument about that. He hit 427 home runs and batted .308 for his career. Johnny Bench, his closest competitor, hit 389 homers and batted .267. Bench also played more than 400 games at other positions to give him some rest. Piazza was a catcher every day of the week.
Yes, he was not a good defensive catcher, but he wasn’t as bad as everybody makes him out to be. By all accounts he called a good game and pitchers liked throwing to him, which in the long run is more important for a catcher than throwing out baserunners.
It is absolutely absurd that Mike Piazza’s Hall of Fame candidacy must be defended. He should be voted in on Wednesday. But he likely will not, thanks to writers who feel the need to make a statement against steroids, even if they are victimizing players who might be innocent.