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Monday, January 6, 2014
Piazza soon learns Hall fate; projection: shy

By Adam Rubin


Kathy Willens/Associated PressMike Piazza will learn Wednesday whether he is part of the 2014 Hall of Fame class.
Tom Seaver was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992. Could the Mets have another Cooperstown inductee this summer?

Well, whether Mike Piazza ultimately is enshrined as a Met or Los Angeles Dodger is another matter. But whether Piazza receives the required 75 percent of votes cast in order to be inducted this summer will be announced Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Baseball Think Factory projects Piazza will fall short. The site has been collecting ballots made public by voters, presumably including mine. They have reviewed 133 ballots so far, which represents 23.4 percent of the amount of votes cast last year.

If those one-quarter of ballots are precisely reflective of the voters overall, Greg Maddux (100 percent), Tom Glavine (97.7 percent), Frank Thomas (91.7 percent) and Craig Biggio (81.2 percent) would make the cut, whereas Piazza (72.2 percent), Jeff Bagwell (64.7 percent) and Jack Morris (60.9 percent) would be the closest to fall short.

However, the public ballots may overstate the percentage the candidates may ultimately garner, since the hard-liners on the steroid era probably skew older and are less likely to make their ballots public via social media or otherwise.

This is Piazza's second year on the ballot. He appeared on 57.8 percent of ballots a year ago -- fourth-best among players falling short. Biggio received 68.2 percent, Morris 67.7 percent and Bagwell 59.6 percent. (See the full 2013 voting results here.)

This year's ballot included for the first time players including Maddux, Thomas, Mike Mussina and ex-Mets Glavine and Jeff Kent.

"I truly feel I got a lot of support," Piazza said in September at Citi Field regarding the 2013 voting tally, when he was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. "It's a process. I'm very proud of my career. Obviously I put my body of work up against anybody, I've said before. But, you know what? I truly feel that the process is a beautiful thing as well. It is what it is. I mean, looking back, Yogi [Berra] had three ballots. And Joe DiMaggio three ballots.

"When you retire, you get retrospective. You think of things in the bigger picture. And so if I'm so blessed and honored to get to that point someday, I will enjoy it and be proud and wear the honor that is so important. Up until that point, I can only do like an artist -- here's my work, my canvas -- and it's out of my hands. The process, it's cool and amazing and very interesting and historic. I know throughout history there is always going to be debate. That's the best thing about baseball. That's the best thing about sports."

What are Piazza's credentials? Here's an exhaustive statistical review from ESPN Stats & Information:

• .308/.377/.545, 427 HR, 1,335 RBIs, 2,127 hits in 16 MLB seasons

• Among players who played at least 50 percent of games at catcher, ranks first in HR, fourth in RBIs, sixth in hits and fifth in WAR

• 12-time All-Star

• 1993 NL Rookie of the Year

• 10-time Silver Slugger winner

Piazza holds the record for most home runs hit as a catcher, as well as the most home runs by a player whose primary position was catcher.

Most Career Home Runs -- Primary Position Catcher -- in MLB History
Mike Piazza 427
Johnny Bench 389
Carlton Fisk 376
Yogi Berra 358
Lance Parrish 324
Gary Carter 324
(Minimum 50 percent of career games at catcher)

Most Wins Above Replacement -- Primary Position Catcher -- in MLB History
Johnny Bench 75.1
Gary Carter 69.7
Carlton Fisk 68.4
Ivan Rodriguez 68.3
Yogi Berra 59.3
Mike Piazza 59.2
(Minimum 50 percent of career games at catcher)

Most Seasons of 30+ HR, 100+ RBIs -- Primary Position Catcher -- in MLB History
Mike Piazza 6
Johnny Bench 4
Roy Campanella 3
(Minimum 50 percent of career games at catcher)

Every player who has finished his career with a .300+ BA and at least 400 homers is in the Hall of Fame –- except Piazza and Thomas. (Thomas is eligible for the first time this ballot.)

.300 BA and 400 HR -- Hall of Fame-Eligible Players -- in MLB History
Frank Thomas .301  521
Mike Piazza .308  427
Hank Aaron .305  755
Willie Mays .302  660
Stan Musial .331  475
Ted Williams .344  521
Mel Ott .304  511
Jimmie Foxx .325  534
Lou Gehrig .340  493
Babe Ruth .342  714