Mike Piazza was not voted into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, and Mets fans drooling at the thought of his induction speech might want to grab a beach towel. Piazza’s road to Cooperstown is only getting rougher.
I expected Piazza to garner about 70% of the vote this year, then get over the 75% hump in 2015. But Mike Piazza only got 62%, which is still up from the 57% he got in his first year on the ballot, but still, a 13% jump next year is unlikely.
Then there is Piazza’s competition. Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson join the ballot next year, and they are slam dunks. Craig Biggio missed by just two votes this year, so he will almost certainly make it next time around. It would be very surprising if the writers vote in any more than three players in a given year.
To make matters worse, John Smoltz, Gary Sheffield and Carlos Delgado also make their first appearances on the Hall of Fame ballot next year. Smoltz and Delgado will get strong support, while Sheffield has PED issues that will dog his candidacy. But it just means more worthy players who might take a vote away from Piazza.
In 2016, Ken Griffey, Jr. joins the ballot. Vladimir Guerrero makes his debut in 2017 along with Manny Ramirez, who has tested positive for PEDs twice, and Ivan Rodriguez, who is suspected of PED use. Then in 2018 Chipper Jones and Jim Thome are first-timers.
The point is, each year players who might be considered ahead of Piazza will get on the ballot and do battle with him for votes. As long as some writers continue to give credence to the unfounded PED whispers surrounding Piazza, there is a chance we will never see a Mike Piazza plaque hanging in Cooperstown.