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Mike Piazza is probably gonna get boned in the Hall of Fame voting this year

Nov 6, 2012, 8:52 AM EDT

Mike Piazza AP

Bill Shaikin has a column up today in which one of Roger Clemens’ lawyers argues for Clemens’ induction to the Hall of Fame. Shocker, I know. But apart from him, this passage piques my interest:

Clemens is one of the headline attractions in what could be the most divisive election in Hall of Fame history. The first-time candidates include Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza and Sammy Sosa, each of whom has been linked to performance-enhancing substances.

Clemens, Bonds and Sosa’s PED resumes are pretty well-known, but Piazza has not been publicly cast into their league. The relevant data points:

  • He admitted in 2002 to using androstenedione early in his career, but andro was not banned in baseball until 2004;
  • Murray Chass has gone on an unhinged one-man crusade (see here, here, here and here), saying that since he saw that Piazza had acne on his back, he had to be a ‘roider.

That’s it. That’s the alpha and omega of Piazza being “linked” to PEDs.

I don’t know if Piazza did anything besides andro. Maybe he did. Lots of star players of his generation did. Maybe that autobiography of his that comes out next February will say so. Maybe someone with actual first-hand knowledge of it will lay the evidence out for us.

But as Hall of Fame voters sit here today, all they have is legal andro use and Murray Chass’ back acne, which has been discredited by dermatologists as any sort of dispositive evidence. I have this feeling that alone is going to be enough for a huge number of Hall of Fame voters to withhold their vote for Piazza, despite him being ridiculously, over-the-top qualified for first ballot induction.

  1. bennyandthemets - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Piazza get’s boned a lot apparently…

    He will be a first ballot HOF though…100%

  2. melsh13 - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    It’s starting to feel more and more like Ken Griffey, Jr. is about the only player from that generation that won’t face this speculation.

    • kkolchak - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:08 AM

      And Frank Thomas.

    • jarathen - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:12 AM

      Don’t forget Fred McGriff, who was never linked and had a very strong career but is held up to the standards of those who apparently DID cheat.

      Piazza should be a slam dunk, and revisionist history isn’t for the Hall of Fame to implement. Just vote the best players in.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:52 AM

        I’m thumbing this down just for the revisionist history jab.

      • tigertigerwoodsyall - Nov 6, 2012 at 12:28 PM

        I’m thumbing it down for the ignorance of who should be in the hall. Integrity comes into play. Find me one person who thought that taking andro was ok and ethical. It was cheating before the MLB said so…..just because they failed to make it illegal doesn’t make it ok to inject yourself with drugs. Still laugh every time I see piazza….thinking back to his brother roid rager throwing a piece of a sawed off bat at him. Lol

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 6, 2012 at 2:05 PM

        just because they failed to make it illegal doesn’t make it ok to inject yourself with drugs.

        I know in our current climate this is a major faux pas, but if you are going to rail against something, shouldn’t you at least know wtf you are talking about? Andro isn’t taken via an injection. It’s taken as a pill, and was available at any GNC during McGwire’s heyday. Do you understand that? It was freely available for anyone to purchase.

      • raysfan1 - Nov 6, 2012 at 8:24 PM

        You could buy andro, legally, in any drug store in the 1990’s. in fact, Mark McGwire gave an interview about using it in 1998 when a reporter noted it in his locker–and nobody cared.

        Androstenedione is a biologically steroid, but back then it was legally classified as a nutritional supplement.

    • shynessismyelguapo - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:47 AM

      Why though? Why does Griffey get a pass? He got bigger, hit 50 home runs, saw a spike in his numbers at the start of the steroid era and had the second half of his career destroyed by injuries…isn’t this the same argument I hear as “proof” of countless other players’ steroid use?

      I’m not saying he did them in any way shape or form, just pointing out the absurd hypocrisy of people who say Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza did steroids cause….well….just look at their numbers while Griffey is beyond suspicion.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 6, 2012 at 10:30 AM

        And don’t forget Frank Thomas, who was as big as anyone in baseball. And using his “first to be tested” statement while forgetting about Palmeiro’s speech to Congress…

      • mrfloydpink - Nov 6, 2012 at 10:37 AM

        Well put! It is remarkable how people will bend themselves into pretzels to confirm what they already believe to be true, particularly when it comes to Ken Griffey, Jr. I too have no idea if he roided or not, but the case is just as strong (or just as weak?) for him as it is for some of the others who have been convicted by circumstantial evidence.

        I had a Bagwell-Thomas argument of this sort, in which the other party was absolutely convinced that Frank Thomas was clean and Jeff Bagwell wasn’t. I pointed out that their career numbers are eerily similar, and he insisted that was only because Bagwell put up huge numbers in a “small handful” of steroid-fueled seasons. So I showed that the two men’s HR/SLG/OPS numbers season-by-season were actually very similar, with each having a 10-year-run of very good (but not freakish) seasons.) He said that may be, but Bagwell grew “mysteriously” in his early 20s while Thomas was “always” strong. So I presented a picture of Thomas at age 19, looking like a stick figure. Having been refuted three times in a row, he refused to provide any more arguments for his position, and said that it didn’t matter what the evidence showed, that he “just knew.” Awesome–hard to argue with that!

      • barrancefong - Nov 6, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        If I could thumb this up more than once, I would. I agree with this 100% and I’ve been saying this since the beginning of the whole steroids mess. Everyone is quick to jump on guys they “suspect” because of massive muscle gain or because they hit “too many” HR, but there are tons of little guys that used too. Look through the Mitchell report. Not everyone was a hulking HR hitter.

        Everyone gives a pass to guys like Griffey and Jeter because they are the “good guys” in baseball. I’m not accusing those guys in particular of using, but I don’t think they should also automatically assumed to be innocent. It’s just arbitrary.

      • samu0034 - Nov 6, 2012 at 12:19 PM

        Yeah, actually, they should automatically be assumed innocent. Everybody should be afforded that concession. That’s sort of a bedrock principle on which America was constructed.

      • hisgirlgotburrelled - Nov 6, 2012 at 2:05 PM

        Who are you, the Hulk? A quick google search and you’ll find your “stick figure” of Frank Thomas in an Auburn football uniform, appearing to weigh a minimum 210 lbs.

      • mrfloydpink - Nov 6, 2012 at 3:05 PM

        @hisgirlgotburrelled: So, when he was in college, right? In his early 20s? Because NOBODY ever grew substantially between, say, senior year of high school and junior year of college.

        Seriously, though, what is your point? Do you believe that Frank Thomas came out of the womb looking like Hercules? Because unless that’s what you believe, then he had to have bulked up at some point. When exactly do you think that was? Because my guess is that it’s at the same time as Bagwell did; to wit, in his early 20s.

      • hisgirlgotburrelled - Nov 8, 2012 at 11:31 AM

        mrfloydpink –
        You said “when he was 19.” Right? Where was he when he was 19? A TE at Auburn, on full scholarship. That should be enough to know he was not a stick figure when he was 19.

        But let’s digress into actual facts. I present you your stick figure:
        This is Frank Thomas, in 1987, at the age of 19:

      • hisgirlgotburrelled - Nov 8, 2012 at 11:33 AM

        6’5″ 245 lbs.

  3. frenchysplatediscipline - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    Ya know, I had always heard rumors he was gay – but this headline seems pretty forward…

  4. Chipmaker - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    Andro is all there was against McGwire for years, and he got slammed on the Hall ballot. Sure, we know more now, but nothing has changed — except, possibly, elector points of view.

  5. beearl - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    Have no idea whether Piazza used steroids or not. But any voter who is swayed solely by the words of blogger extraordinaire Murray Chass should have his head examined. And then his voting privileges revoked.

    • jimeejohnson - Nov 6, 2012 at 12:58 PM

      Chass is one of the biggest NY assholes EVER!

      • Old Gator - Nov 6, 2012 at 2:36 PM

        And that is indeed a BEEEEEG asshole.

      • badintent - Nov 7, 2012 at 12:08 AM

        Murray chase is a short , ugly Jew with hemorrhoids from choking his chicken.The dude couldn’t get laid at a party of nymphomaniacs. Makes me embarrassed to be a New Yorker. Please drop him in the Staten Island Landfill with the beach house debris.

        Andro is STILL legal in Canada, it’s in every GNC and supplement store. Come on up and get some acme and muscles. LOL. Hey Jose is that you or your brother ??

  6. willclarkgameface - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    This is exactly why the BBWAA is bull shit. Right here.

    If Piazza did in fact use PEDs, he was at least able to keep his lid shut on the issue and didn’t let any one know about it or find out about it. So he bad zits on his back. Welcome to the club. I bet he also scratches his nuts when he plays baseball and likes to fart. He’s a guy. Big deal.

    I say Piazza is a HOF’er hands down, but if these idiots in the BBWAA are on a mission to prove that players used PEDs with their scientific ways of writing words and casting votes, then they suck as hard as we ever thought. Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa are in a different class. Sosa doesn’t even have the same permanent skin tone anymore. We know about these guys. Piazza is okay by me.

    • chumthumper - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:39 AM

      The are all Max Mercy wanna-bes.

    • kiwicricket - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      Why are we holding Sosa’s rampant use of male grooming salons against him in HOF voting?

    • cur68 - Nov 6, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      pssst! ‘gameface! C’mere. See this here what you wrote: “Sosa doesn’t even have the same permanent skin tone anymore”? Here’s a pfun pfact pfor you: us darkies tan. Yep. Leave me out in the sun for 4 hours every day in the summer and I get jet black. Except where I have clothes on, of course. Then, subject me to a long Canadian 8 month winter, and I’m back to being lighter toned than your (current) president. S’true.

      Easy on the angry pills today, buddy, kay? You gotta go vote and you don’t wanna be detained for erratic behaviour again.

      • willclarkgameface - Nov 6, 2012 at 12:02 PM

        I’m not racist my friend. I wouldn’t have even brought it up if it wasn’t so dramatic. He went from having a relatively similar skin tone on ALL of his baseball cards year to year to being my tone of New England white. How on Earth do you get that pasty without experimenting a little bit?

        He even admitted it. Read here:

      • cur68 - Nov 6, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        Who said you were racist? I’m more inclined to use the word “angry-as-a-mo-fo” (yes, as far as you go, that’s all one word). Anyhow, reading the Huff-post article its clear that Sammy’s been on that skin whitener that people from the Indian Subcontinent use. Its perfectly legal. What that has to do with ‘roids, backne, and HOF chances is beyond me: I have no idea why you’d even bring it up. Anyhow, easy on the angry, at least till after you vote, mmkay?

      • jimeejohnson - Nov 6, 2012 at 1:08 PM

        Gonna watch that South Park movie that makes fun of Canada, mmkay.

      • Old Gator - Nov 6, 2012 at 2:46 PM

        Oh, there’s much better,more sophisticated makes-fun-of-Canada that that. See if you can find a facsimile edition of the August ’71 issue of National Lampoon and check out the travel guide, “Canada: Retarded Giant at your Doorstep.”

        Then, check out the cabbage borscht, smoked meat sandwiches, maple smoked meat and bacon donut holes and Boylan’s diet cream soda at Caplansy’s Deli on College Street in Toronto, two blocks east of Bathurst. All your misconceptions about our neighbor to the frozen north will be vanquished.

      • badintent - Nov 7, 2012 at 12:02 AM

        Funny, my wife from the Phillipines does exactly the same damn thing ever summer up here in BC ! But she got tan lines , won’t go to the bare all beach. Hell, she told me about somebleaching cream in her country that the rich and yuppies use to make their skin much lighter so as to appear like Spanish.And she said that Micheal Jackson was given some cream by Imelda Marcos ! For real.And you know what happen with that.

  7. skeleteeth - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    It may be best Piazza sit this round out anyway as Clemens will probably throw his plaque @ him claiming he was just trying to shake his hand.

  8. sdelmonte - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    It probably doesn’t help that Piazza played in LA and NYC, and that anything he is accused of will be magnified by the biases against those cities.

    I want him elected. And with a Mets cap. The former seems unlikely for now. The latter even more so.

    • mookie311 - Nov 6, 2012 at 4:37 PM

      if he goes in with a dodger cap, i’m going to LOSE. IT.

  9. butchhuskey - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Jeff Bagwell, another player I feel should be in the Hall, has been suffering from the same type of speculation as Piazza. I really hate how the baseball writers make assumptions about PED use based on intuition and irrelevant information – they act like they’re the game’s moral authority.

  10. drewsylvania - Nov 6, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Since at least the 1960s, most everybody who was good, used some form of performance-enhancement. For most of them, PEDs were not against MLB rules. If the BBWAA wants to be consistent, they should consider Piazza on the same level as Hank Aaron. Both used PEDs; neither usage was banned by MLB.

    Logically, that means either Piazza gets in, or Aaron gets booted out. But I realize logic is a challenge to some of the voters…

  11. deathmonkey41 - Nov 6, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    It would be great if his HoF Bust had backne around the neck area…

  12. Chris Fiorentino - Nov 6, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    It’s a shame that the greatest hitting catcher of all-time, by a margin the size of the Grand Canyon, won’t be in the Hall of Fame.

  13. frank35sox - Nov 6, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    I actually would love to see the picture of Frank Thomas at 19. In my recollection, I never remember him being under 220. Neither does the football program from his time as TE at Auburn. Maybe you are so jacked that your definition of a stick is dramatically different than mine.

  14. frank35sox - Nov 6, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Oh, and please direct yourself to exhibit A:

    God, if only he were a bit bigger and not a stick, just maybe then, he’d be a hall of famer.

    • badintent - Nov 7, 2012 at 12:15 AM

      Wow , love the retro card next to frank’s. I think Frank was always big , but not 270 big.I did see Albert Belle in college pic at 190, regular dude. not the 245 he played at until he got a bad hip( Like A-Rod….. connection?) at only 32 and left the game.Hummmmmmmmmmmm.

  15. neilbb4 - Nov 6, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    The key word in all of this is alleged. Using the principle “innocent until proven guilty” Sosa, Clemens, Palmeiro, McGwire, and Bonds should all be in the hall. It’s all about what they did on the field. They entertained millions of fans. They put a lot of money in to owners pockets, and in to our national economy. They energized a country during times of trouble (remember post 9/11?). And yes, they kept the very people who want to demonize them (BBWAA) employed.

    Everyone talks about performance enhancing from a hitters standpoint, but those same hitters had to face guys who may or may not have been taking exactly the same meds. Trying to hit a ball coming at 90+mph from 60’6″ away with a 34oz piece of lumber may be one of the hardest feats in sports, and while PED’s may help the ball travel farther, they won’t help at all if a hitter doesn’t have the timing and hand/eye coordination to make good contact. I don’t advocate cheating by any stretch of the imagination. But if the on the field numbers measure up, unless someone is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt…you have to put them in.

  16. sabatimus - Nov 6, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Craig, Piazza’s use of andro confirms Shaikin’s statement. Just because it wasn’t banned doesn’t mean anything. However, that said, I think most of the banned substance list is a joke.

  17. bigleagues - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Murray Chass should know that I had some b’acne well into my 20’s and I NEVER indulged in ‘PED’s’.

    It just happens to some people. It’s probably more likely on a a large person who is also a Catcher, wearing a chest protector and baseball jersey for half of the year – most of which fall on the hottest days and nights of the year.

    But that would just be common sense and that’s too much to expect from the self-loathing opportunistic media cynics.

  18. dirtydrew - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    What kind of ” Hall of Fame” doesn’t have the all time hit king and the all time home run king. ROIDERS are already in Cooperstown. See Nolan Ryan ; 95 mph fastball at 48, right. Then Cal Ripkin. Don’t tell me when everyone else is roiding, the guy who never got hurt and played 2500 straight games was the only clean one…right.

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