"He’s the greatest hitting catcher [of] all-time," Leiter explained.
"His statistics support that he’s a Hall of Famer. I played with him for seven years, lockered next to him. He was a guy that carried our team without a doubt. He had support, but not great support. He was the guy.”
Leiter is right. Piazza dominated at his position throughout the nineties and most of the first half of the last decade. In general, there are too many "very good" players getting in these days, which is diluting the significance of the honor. But Piazza wasn't just very good; he was great and an iconic player in the sport during his era. He put his stamp on a franchise and a city and stands alone in so many defining moments for the franchise during that time period. That is the very definition of what a Hall of Famer is.
It’s disappointing to listen to people talk about whether Piazza used performance enhancing drugs. The debate should be whether or not Piazza’s talent combined with production warrant election to the Hall of Fame, and if there’s evidence of PED use, that can (and should) be taken into account. Suspicion and belief shouldn’t be enough to impact a decision to vote for a player or not, and in Piazza’s case, that’s all it is: suspicion - – Piazza belongs in Cooperstown in July.
The 2013 inductees to the National Baseball Hall of Fame will be announced today at 2:00 pm ET on MLB Network.