Mike Piazza is arguably the greatest hitting catcher of all time, and there would likely be no argument about his Hall of Fame candidacy if not for the era in which he played.
Piazza was a career .308 hitter. He hit 427 home runs and had a career .922 OPS. Unfortunately for him, he is still projected to be the first guy out in the 2014 voting for the Hall of Fame (source: Baseball Think Factory). BBTF’s ‘gizmo’ (their word) has tallied the public ballots to this point, which accounts for about 29 percent of the vote, and they have Piazza at 68.2 percent.
Some of this has to do with an unfortunate guilt-by-association, but Richard Justice of MLB.com explains that other factors are keeping Piazza out as well.
He’s 16th in Wins Above Replacement. He was a 12-time All-Star and in the top 10 in National League Most Valuable Player voting seven times. His 396 home runs (out of 427 total) are the most by a catcher.
So, yes, Piazza is a Hall of Famer. I hope I never cast another ballot without his name. But for me this year, Raines and Trammell and Morris are coming to the end of their terms on the ballot. I was worried the knucklehead factor might keep Mussina from getting the five percent necessary to stay on the ballot.
I regretted not voting for Piazza last year. I regret it this year, too. I’ll get it right at some point. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.”
When the argument is positioned that way, it supports the case that writers should be able to vote for more than 10 players in a given year. Sure, there will always be the Ken Gurnicks of the voting process, but enough reasonable writers would take advantage of an expanded ballot to quit making a deserving player like Piazza wait.