Friday, January 10, 2014

Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine Make HOF; Mike Piazza Does Not

Perhaps if Mike Piazza wants to make it to the Hall of Fame, he has to pull a page out of Frank Thomas' playbook to get in.

As has been the case, and will be the case for years to come, the issue regarding steroids in baseball will come to forefront for every Hall of Fame election. The players who dominated baseball primarily in the 1990s are all retired, and are all up for consideration into the hallowed halls of Cooperstown.

Yet thanks to the likes of Bonds, Sosa, McGuire, Clemens, and Palmiero -- any and all players from this era are subject to witch hunts, speculation and questions about whether they too took steroids. It seems that the court of public opinion has ruled these men guilty without any proof.

So how is that Frank Thomas, a former designated hitter with the Chicago White Sox, who hit .301 in his career with 521 home runs and 1704 RBI gets into the Hall, while Piazza, who owns a lifetime .308 average, 427 homers and 1335 RBI does not get in?

Both of them played in the same era. Both of them have never tested positively for steroids.

Yet, Thomas is presumed innocent by the baseball writers. Piazza? Guilty as sin.

Why?

Because Thomas played nice with the media and Major League Baseball. He condemned steroids before anyone else did. Dating back as far as 1995, Thomas was outspoken against steroids. In 2002 he was even quoted in a Sports Illustrated story as saying that there should be stronger testing for drugs in baseball.

  • "I think they should test everybody, and that would be it. Draw the blood. I hate this because I know what it takes to get to this level, all the hard work.''
  • "When I played football in college (Auburn), a lot of guys were using them. I saw what they did. They change your whole personality, they make you an animal.'' (SouthsideSox)
In 2005, Thomas willingly testified in front of congress denouncing steroids, and stating that he never took them. He had his supportors who used the fact that Thomas was always a big guy and didn't need drugs to enhance his performance. So By playing nice with the feds and the media, and never testing positive, he is innocent.

Thomas continued his hard stance on roids after accepting invitation into Cooperstown, stating that anyone who used PEDs should "never" be allowed into the Hall of Fame.

Piazza on the other hand? No chance. Remember that Piazza has never tested positive for steroids either, but since he was silent on the issue for much of his career, and whenever pressed about the subject, he quickly denied using it has created suspicion.

Rightly or wrongly, Piazza is not getting into Cooperstown because the writers feel that there is something that he and others like Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio are hiding.

Here is the problem for the baseball writers: eventually all of them, even the guys we know did steroids are going to get in.

Clemens and Bonds were great players before they ever dipped into steroids.

Bagwell and Biggio were two dominant forces on the Astros teams in the late 90s and early 00s.

Piazza was easily the best hitting catcher in history. He was known for epic moments, and clutch hits throughout his career, especially with the Dodgers and Mets. He deserves to get in, inspite of the suspicion.

The bias by the writers is about as shady as the users themselves. It makes the baseball hall of fame look more like a popularity contest than an actual shrine to best to ever play the game. Piazza deserves to get in, hopefully wiser heads will prevail in 2015.

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