Mike Piazza: 5 Reasons Why He Will Be a First Ballot Hall-of-Famer
Every year, the Baseball Hall of Fame chooses its newest members through the Baseball Writers Association of America. The writers place up to 10 votes on the ballots, and whoever garners 75 percent of the vote is elected.
The 2013 ballot includes some big names. Among them include Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Mike Piazza.
Out of all the candidates for election, Piazza looks to be the one with the best shot at election.
Having spent 15 years behind the plate—14 if you count the awful first base stint—hitting the most home runs by a catcher and earning numerous honors, both as a Met and a Dodger, there is almost no doubt that Piazza deserves to be a first ballot Hall-of-Fame elect.
Here are five reasons why.
An Offensive Star
Look at Piazza's Triple Crown Stats, and you'll find a guy who consistently hit .300. He also had 427 home runs and 1335 RBIs.
Look even closer and you'll see that, barring his rookie year and his injury-plagued 2003, he was a consistent offensive machine.
Piazza was one of the best pure hitters in the game. He had the benefit of learning under one of the greatest hitters of all time in Ted Williams, and it helped.
He won 10 straight Silver Sluggers from 1993-2002 and finished in the top 10 in voting seven times.
If that doesn't convince anyone, I don't know what will.
Let's not forget the fact that he has more home runs than any catcher in the history of baseball.
A Decorated Athlete
Ten-time Silver Slugger, 12-time All-Star.
1993 NL Rookie of the Year.
1996 All-Star Game MVP.
Need I say more? Piazza was highly decorated throughout his career, both as a Dodger and as a Met.
Although he was never an MVP, he did finish second, both in 1996 and 1997, and third in 2000.
Considering this was the dawn of the sluggers like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, it's an impressive achievement in and of itself.
A New York Icon
What do Tom Seaver, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax all have in common?
They were all Hall-of-Famers who became synonymous with the city they played in, which effectively made them all New York icons.
Despite the fact that Piazza started out in Los Angeles and won his two major awards there, more people remember Piazza from his days as a Met.
Whether it was his playoff performances in 1999 and 2000, his home run on the day baseball returned to New York after 9/11 or any other great moment in Mets history with him, Piazza deserves to be another example of a New York icon.
Piazza has made it abundantly clear that, if elected, he wants to be a Met. If one looks at his service time, he spent six years in Los Angeles, a week in Miami and 7.5 years in Queens. This was followed by a year in San Diego and a year in Oakland.
His request could likely be fulfilled.
A Media Darling
Sometimes, what makes or breaks a Hall-of-Fame eligible player is the way he treated the media.
Sure, newspaper writers can be difficult at times—Murray Chass, for example—but ultimately it's the BBWAA that is responsible for electing players.
As we saw in Mr. 3000, if you're not kind to the media, the media reserves its right to bar you entry.
Piazza was candid with the media during his career, with the exception of steroid use—a hot button topic that the media continuously grilled him on.
Nonetheless, unlike some of the other eligible players, Piazza was pretty open. His relationship with the New York media could potentially help him in his election bid.
A Natural Athlete and a Good Person
Mike Piazza has what Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens don't have—natural talent.
If one were to look at his year-by-year stats, he or she would find that he was a consistent producer who didn't have a late career number spike.
Piazza also enjoyed playing in two of the most hitter-friendly parks for the majority of his career, Dodger Stadium and Shea Stadium, which greatly boosted his power numbers.
Although there have been whispers that Piazza juiced, it just seems unfounded that Piazza would do anything to cheat.
Piazza was a choir boy, a well-raised Catholic who played the game with integrity.
Sure, he had his moments of infamy, like the Broken Bat game, the first base experiment and his minor league arm, but, at the end of the day, Piazza is one of the good guys of the game in the steroid era.
In my humble opinion, I believe he and someone else—probably Craig Biggio—will make the Hall of Fame in 2013.
When he does, he will be revered as one of the greatest to play the game.