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14 Apr 2002, Queens, New York City, New York State, USA --- New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza at bat during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Shea Stadium. --- Image by © Duomo/CORBIS

baseball hall of fame

Don’t Fret: Piazza’s Getting in Hall, Maybe Soon

The irony, of course, about the BBWAA not voting anyone into the Hall of Fame yesterday is that the ballot was so stacked; future generations will wonder what in the world we were all doing waiting around on Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens, and Jeff Bagwell. But the most baffling of all, to our eyes, is the lack of love for Mike Piazza. Even if you're making a PED protest vote on Bonds and Clemens — dumbly, we think, but it is a voter's right to be wrong — it's completely unfair to do the same to Bagwell and Piazza. This is Mike Piazza here. This might be the best-hitting catcher of all time, and he's never once been mentioned anywhere, in any report or any legitimate accusation. All that ever happened was Murray Chass seeing a couple zits on his back. For that: Piazza got only 57.8 percent of the vote. It's enough to enrage a man.

But, as Mike Vaccaro points out in the Post this morning, Piazza wasn't eliminated from the ballot after just one year. He has fourteen years left to go, and every single historical sign points to him making it in. All sixteen players who received between 50 and 70 percent of the vote the first year eventually made it in. It's a weird thing — well, another of the weird things — that the BBWAA does: They make this distinction between a "first-ballot" guy and someone who just eventually makes it in. Presumably, Mike Piazza will hit a few more home runs in the next couple of years, making him finally eligible.

Piazza's is a slam-dunk case for the Hall, and it's tough to see how his vote total doesn't grow enough in the next few years to get him in. It might even happen as soon as next year. He finished fourth in the voting this year, and of the men above him, only Jack Morris seems unlikely to ultimately make it in, and only because he has just one more year left on the ballot. (Oh, and also because Jack Morris shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame.) Basically, Mike Piazza only has to do one thing to make the Hall of Fame within the next five years: not get busted for PEDs. One would think that wouldn't be too difficult. Just in case, though, Mike: If you see Murray Chass skulking around, keep your shirt on.

Photo: Steven E. Sutton/Corbis