CBS Sports writer Jon Heyman has continued to make head-scratching decisions with his MLB Hall of Fame ballot as it relates to New York Mets’ Mike Piazza.
By Justin Weiss
Each baseball writer permitted to submit a ballot has the opportunity to select up to 10 players. Somehow, the greatest hitting catcher in the history of Major League Baseball not only didn’t make the cut, but finished seventeenth in his HOF rankings.
And @JonHeymanCBS preemptively called those on Twitter who disagree with his ballot "loud and shallow." Great work, Jon. Admirable stuff.
— Rising Apple (@RisingAppleBlog) December 29, 2015
17. Mike Piazza. He should be considered an all-time great — he’s the greatest-hitting catcher ever and the value of having a catcher who’s one of the league’s best hitters is immense — but he’s had to wait a few years surely due to a strongly-held belief he participated in the steroid era. I understand there’s no public evidence he did anything more than play in the steroid era and looked the part. However, since this isn’t a court of law, the burden of proof is much lower and since it’s only about who is honored, and not who is punished, I held out for now.
There are just a few problems with this. First, there is zero evidence supporting Heyman’s claim that Piazza shouldn’t be in the Hall. Since when is “the burden of proof” good enough of a reason to disqualify someone from an award? Piazza never failed a drug test. He was scarcely accused of ‘roids during his playing days. Saying that he should be considered guilty until proven innocent is absurd.
Additionally, he then proceeds to vote for Barry Bonds, justifying his decision because the story he’s buying is that Bonds got jealous of other steroid abusers’ success and therefore felt the urge to juice himself.
Also, how does one “look the part?” Piazza looked the same when he was in the minors as when he finished his MLB career.
Tweet this every year – look at Piazza's career (by ISO). Notice the lack of random peaks/valleys pic.twitter.com/02f99vQzWq
— Chuck Mander (@danhaefeli) December 29, 2015
Though we can’t be 100 percent sure of much that went on in the steroid era, the story I’m buying is the one where Bonds is the best player in the game, then saw very good players like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa pass by him after loading up and beefing up. Bonds, being the competitive sort, just couldn’t stand to see lesser players so easily pass him by.
So he did it bigger, and better, and he soon turned himself superhuman. And his storied career became even more storied. (Coincidental aside: the word storied can be rearranged to become steroid.)
At least that’s the narrative I believe today.
Sadly, this isn’t even the most hypocritical thing Heyman has done in relation to the Hall of Fame process. In January 2015, Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports called Heyman out for absurdly claiming that he would vote for David Ortiz because it boiled “down to one un-sourced report.”
The case against Ortiz otherwise remains thinner than Clay Buchholz, especially compared to some other big stars . . . Some Hall of Fame voters will exclude players with any link to steroids, no matter how strong that link is, but in this case it fairly boils down to one un-sourced report involving a test for survey purposes.
Is that enough to exclude? Not here it isn’t.
Cooperstown it is.
Um… seriously, Jon?