SiriusXM Sports: Why aren’t Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell in the Hall of Fame?

Four players were voted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame this year: pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz, and long-time Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio.

It’s the players who finished fifth and sixth who have SiriusXM Sports hosts fired up, though.

In his third year on the ballot, Mike Piazza, widely regarded as the best hitting catcher in MLB history, fell five percentage points short of induction, appearing on 384 of the 549 total ballots. Jeff Bagwell, who hit 449 home runs in his career, fell short (55.7 percent of the vote) in his fifth year on the ballot.

The problem for Piazza and Bagwell is that the two have been connected to PED usage, even if they’ve never been named in a report. MLB Network Radio’s Mike Ferrin argued that the voters need to stop acting on rumors, and vote Piazza and Bagwell in – unless they can uncover some hard evidence proving the two sluggers used steroids.

I have a request. Mike Piazza retired from Major League Baseball in 2006. Jeff Bagwell retired from Major League Baseball in 2005. So we’ve had nearly a decade since both of these players retired. … If you’re one of those voters who’s keeping them out based on speculation — you obviously have a rumor or a source who believes this, who you trust — find us the truth. Because you have had 10 years to dig up this information, to put something credible together to prove that these guys do not deserve your vote because they were using steroids. And yet there has been absolutely nothing other than your whispers and conjecture and columns.

“Time is running out for these guys,” Ferrin continued. “Bagwell, you’re another year down the road with him, you’re almost halfway through his time on the ballot.”

Mad Dog Sports Radio’s Adam Schein agreed with Ferrin’s opinion that Piazza is a Hall of Famer.

I think it is an absolute pathetic, embarrassing, disgraceful joke that Mike Piazza’s not in the Hall of Fame. This is a disgrace. They should tear down Cooperstown. They should fold the Baseball Hall of Fame. They should not let anybody into the Baseball Hall of Fame if they’re not gonna left Mike Piazza into the Baseball Hall of Fame. We are talking about the single greatest offensive catcher in baseball history. It’s not even close. It’s not even up for debate.

And I’m not gonna bury my head in the sand. There’s a rumor, there’s suspicion, there’s innuendo that a player who was drafted in about the 60th round of the baseball draft as a favor to Tommy Lasorda in Los Angeles … turned himself from a 60th-round draft pick into the best offensive catcher in baseball history because he used performance-enhancing drugs. … How do you leave somebody out based on rumor, suspicion, innuendo?

SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio’s Jeff Mans went a step further, arguing players who were even more closely linked to performance-enhancing drugs such as Barry Bonds also deserve a place in the Hall of Fame.

We don’t want [future generations of fans] to have to clean up this mess. This is a mess. And whether this is 2015, 2016 or 2017, or 2026, it’s going to have to happen sooner. These guys are going to be in the Hall of Fame, period. They’re going to be. There’s no way to keep them out. When we all die and future generations go back and look at these numbers, they’re gonna be like, are they insane? What was wrong with these people? OK, they were on steroids – where was the proof?

MLB Network Radio also spoke with a pair of players who were actually on the ballot; Smoltz, who got into the Hall by earning 82.9 percent of the vote, and Edgar Martinez, who in his sixth year on the ballot again fell well short of induction (27 percent).

“I got the call at about 1:40, and I wanna say I was calm, but I was probably more speechless than anything else, in the fact that I couldn’t believe it,” Smoltz said. “I never anticipated this day, and never allowed myself to think about this day, until the phone rang at my house.”

“I kind of expected that,” Martinez said of falling short. “And this year, it was even more difficult because so many great players were going to be on the ballot. So, yeah, it’s not surprise. I’m a little encouraged it went up a little bit, but I knew it was going to be very difficult.”

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