Mike Piazza cut through some thicket Wednesday, and that’s no small matter, not when you look at how many other holdover candidates lost ground as first-timers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas earned their Hall of Fame inductions. Nevertheless, the Mets legend’s path to immortality remains tricky after two years of eligibility, and I found myself more pessimistic for him after listening to Thomas discuss the forever nuclear issue of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. “They’ve got a strong stance against anyone doing steroids,” Thomas said of his fellow Hall of Famers, during a telephone news conference. “They do not want them in. For those guys, this Hall of Fame means a lot to them. … To be honest, I’ve got to take the right stance, too. There shouldn’t be cheaters allowed to get into the Hall of Fame.” Piazza joined Long Island and Seton Hall product Craig Biggio as the only two returning candidates (of 17) to gain ground in the quest for 75 percent of the vote, as Piazza climbed from 57.8 percent to 62.2 percent and Biggio jumped from 68.2 percent to an agonizingly close 74.8 percent. “On behalf of the organization and our fans, Mike is a true Hall of Famer,” Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said in a statement. “We proudly display his plaque in the Mets Hall of Fame, and we’re hopeful that he’ll soon have one hanging in Cooperstown.” You’d think he would, eventually; next year will be challenging again with the welcoming of great first-time candidates Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz. The Baseball Writers Association of America is in discussions to expand the ballot beyond the current maximum of 10, which could help. Yet ballot space probably isn’t Piazza’s primary obstacle at this point. That would indeed be the suspicions concerning whether he used illegal PEDs, which surely has influenced his inability to get in so far. This year’s results, as well as Thomas’ words, could further embolden those who are prone to exhibit a “better safe than sorry” approach on the illegal PEDs topic.
Piazza may never get into Hall due to unfair PED backlash
New York Post | Jan 9