After falling 28 votes shy last year, Mike Piazza has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, this after receiving 83.0 percent of the vote Wednesday. Piazza was joined by Ken Griffey Jr, who received a record 99.3 percent of the vote.
Jeff Bagwell, meanwhile, fell short of induction by 15 votes. A player needs 75 percent of the vote to be elected. Bagwell received 71.6, as questions linger about his ties to PEDs. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds received 45.2 and 44.3 percent of the vote, respectively.
Yes, it appears PEDs are still very much on the minds of voters.
“You certainly saw that with Piazza, there’s no question,” Newsday columnist David Lennon said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “He’s been kind of universally recognized as the game’s greatest hitting catcher. He’s had 427 home runs, he’s a .308 lifetime hitter, he’s a 12-time All Star, he’s won eight Silver Sluggers – statistically speaking, especially as a catcher, there’s really no doubt that Piazza deserved to be in the Hall of Fame.”
Even though it took him a few years to get there.
“When people had asked me in 2013 did I think he would get in on the first ballot, I said ‘Yeah, I don’t really foresee a reason to keep him out,’” Lennon recalled. “But I was actually surprised. There was certainly strong suspicion linking him to PEDs. There’s no doubt in my mind that’s why people left him off the ballot. There really was no other rationale for doing so, and that’s basically why it took him until the fourth try to get in. The same is probably holding true for Bagwell as well.”
Bagwell, 47, was a four-time All-Star, an NL MVP, NL Rookie of the Year, a three-time Silver Slugger winner, and hit .297 with 449 home runs and 1,529 RBIs during his 15-year career, all with the Astros.
“Bagwell is one of the most feared right-handed hitters to ever play,” Lennon said. “His numbers, statistically speaking, certainly merit going into the Hall of Fame. But you haven’t heard the suspicion quite as loudly around Bagwell. It is there, but I think Piazza is someone (who definitely gets it) – and we even saw it tonight in talking to him on a conference call. A number of people brought it up with him, which is surprising on a day a guy is inducted into the Hall of Fame. Usually it’s a much more positive experience, and yet, Piazza was still kind of dogged by those questions on the day he was voted in.”