Piazza was drafted by the Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft and played for the Dodgers from 1992-98.
There were 440 ballots cast this year by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Piazza was named on 365 of them, or 83 percent. A candidate needs to be named on 75 percent of ballots to gain induction.
The Dodgers drafted Piazza at the recommendation of manager Tommy Lasorda, who is the godfather to Piazza’s younger brother, Tommy.
“Congratulations to Mike, an outstanding ballplayer and a great man,” Lasorda said in a statement released by the Dodgers on Wednesday. “I couldn’t be prouder of him after seeing his hard work to go from a 62nd round pick and converted catcher to one of the best ever at his position and now, a fellow Hall of Famer. I’d also like to congratulate Mike’s family and everyone back in Norristown (PA) on this honor.”
The Dodgers traded Piazza to the Florida Marlins in 1998, part of a top-to-bottom personnel purge catalyzed by the sale of the team to the Fox Corporation. Piazza was so stung by the trade, he has repeatedly declined invitations to appear at Dodger Stadium since then. He played for the New York Mets from 1998-2005, openly roots for the Mets on social media, and would prefer to have a Mets logo on his cap in Cooperstown (though he said he was forbidden by the Hall of Fame to say so in interviews Wednesday).
Dodgers president Stan Kasten offered warm words for Piazza in the team release.
“Congratulations to Mike Piazza and his family—this is truly a special day for both Mike and the Dodger organization,” Kasten said. “We are very proud of the fact that the best-hitting catcher in baseball history began his Major League career in Los Angeles.”
Piazza’s 396 home runs as a catcher are the most of all-time. A 12-time All-Star (1993-2002, 2004-05), Piazza compiled a .308 lifetime batting average with 427 home runs and 1,335 RBI in 16 seasons with the Dodgers (1992-98), Marlins (1998), Mets (1998-2005), Padres (2006) and A’s (2007).
Piazza won 10 Silver Slugger Awards during the course of his career, compiling 2,127 hits, 344 doubles, a .377 on-base percentage and a .545 slugging percentage in 1,912 games.
This was Piazza’s fourth year on the Hall ballot. Some voters hesitated to vote for Piazza over suspicions that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his career, even though he never failed a drug test and was not named in the Mitchell Report.
A total of 54 players, managers and executives in the Hall of Fame spent some of their professional careers with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, including Piazza and Pedro Martinez, who was inducted last year.
Three former Dodgers didn’t receive enough votes for induction, but enough to remain on the ballot next year: Jeff Kent (named on 16.6 percent of ballots), Fred McGriff (20.9) and Gary Sheffield (11.6), who was coincidentally one of the players the Dodgers received in the Piazza trade.
Former Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire was named on 12.3 percent of ballots in his 10th and final year on the ballot. He’s eligible for selection by a Hall of Fame Veterans committee in 2020.
A handful of former Dodgers — Nomar Garciaparra, Mark Grudzielanek, Garret Anderson and Brad Ausmus — didn’t receive enough votes to remain on the ballot next year. Complete voting results are listed on the BBWAA website.