NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Legendary Mets catcher Mike Piazza was denied entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, as he didn’t get the 75 percent of the vote that was required for election.
It was Piazza’s first time on the ballot, and he was bunched together with alleged steroid users such as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro.
Piazza has never been linked to steroids or performance-enhancing drugs, though there have been whispers and suspicions that the 12-time All-Star used illegal substances.
The 1993 National League Rookie of the Year will address the rumors of steroid use in his new book, ”Long Shot,” co-author Lonnie Wheeler told Newsday.
Wheeler didn’t want to give up to0 many details about the book, which will be released on February 12, but he did hint that Piazza will continue to deny that he ever abused steroids and performance-enhancing drugs.
“Anybody who’s looking for Mike’s answer to PED questions will find it there,” Wheeler told Newsday. ”I believe he’s clean.”
The all-time leader in home runs by a catcher finished fourth among players up for election, gaining 57.8 percent of the vote.
Without the aura of steroids hanging over the writers’ heads, Piazza would have certainly been elected to the Hall of Fame in his first try. Widely regarded as the greatest hitting catcher of all-time, many believe that he was guilty by association.
But despite the snub, Wheeler said that Piazza’s attitude remained “upbeat” when he heard the unfortunate news.
“I was surprised,” Wheeler told the newspaper. “He was fine. He was laughing about it. I think he understood that the whole situation was so murky and complicated, and with nobody getting elected it was just an unpredictable scenario that he got caught up in. Frankly, he knew it was coming.”
But he hopes to put all doubters to rest come February.
“He does tackle the question and discusses the PED scenario in length in three or four different sections of the book,” Wheeler said. “The subjects that people want to hear him on, he has spoken on candidly and at length.”
Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, a longtime friend of Piazza’s father, firmly believes in the Met icon’s innocence.
“I don’t think he would do anything wrong because he’s such an outstanding young man,” Lasorda told Newsday. “That’s how I feel. That’s it.”
In his 16-year tenure in the big leagues, the slugger played for the Padres, A’s and Marlins, in addition to the Dodgers and the Mets. He finished his career with 427 dingers, 1,335 RBIs, a .308 batting average and a .377 on-base percentage.
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