Mike Piazza May Still Be Waiting After Tomorrow
- Updated: January 5, 2015
.308 Avg. 427 HR. 1,335 RBI. The greatest offensive catcher the game has ever seen. Lifted a city with one swing of the bat in 2001 and he still may be waiting to enter the Hall of Fame after tomorrow.
In my own personal opinion, it’s a travesty that Mike Piazza is not in the Baseball Hall Of Fame. I love this game and its history, but it’s been hard for me to really give it my full respect these past three years simply because he is being robbed of what is rightfully his – a place in immortality.
There are those few that are convinced he used performance enhancing drugs simply because someone saw he had acne on his back. If that’s the case, I’ve been using PED’s for years now, and obviously the wrong ones because I can’t hit a baseball four hundred feet and don’t make millions per year.
I hear a bunch of issues with his defense, and there is a great article by SB Nation that proves this wrong:
The most important part of a catcher’s job is handling his pitchers and in this area Piazza was superb. Here is one of the most telling statistics. In his career behind the plate, pitchers had a 3.80 ERA when Piazza was catching. If you look at all the other catchers who caught the same pitchers in the same year that Piazza did, they allowed a 4.34 ERA. That’s a major difference, much more important than a few extra bases stolen. (In fact, Piazza’s catcher ERA of 3.81 includes the run value of any extra stolen bases he allowed.)
Craig Wright wrote an excellent article in The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2009 called “Piazza, Hall of Fame Catcher”. He did a detailed sabermetric study that showed that hitters had a .723 OPS with Piazza behind the plate and a .748 OPS with other catchers. This 25-point differential is highly significant. In further studies that we did in The Fielding Bible—Volume II, we found that Piazza saved at least 20 to 70 runs more than an average catcher defensively, depending on the technique that we used.
“Mike Piazza was not a defensive liability who made up for it with his bat. The greatest offensive catcher in the history of Major League Baseball was a good defensive catcher as well.”
There’s not much left to say. I’m frustrated, NY Mets Fans are frustrated and real baseball fans have to be sick of hearing about it. Get it right already, vote Piazza in!
I leave you with Howie Rose calling the greatest home run in New York City history. Let’s Go Mets!