Watch: Mike Piazza thanks Dodgers organization in Hall of Fame induction speech.

In his Hall of Fame induction speech Sunday, former Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza said he “will always be truly grateful” to the organization that drafted him and employed him from 1988 to 1998.

Piazza thanked Tommy Lasorda, his first owner, Walter O’Malley, former hitting coach Reggie Smith and former Dodgers teammate Eric Karros, among others he singled out by name.

Lasorda sat in attendance with the other Hall of Famers as Piazza rattled off some fond memories of his first manager:

“You always sent me baseball equipment when I needed it,” Piazza said, “you convinced the Dodgers to draft me, you gave me big league at-bats in spring training when I was a big wide-eyed kid out of junior college, you went to bat for me when I walked away from the game, you convinced the Dodgers to let a very popular catcher in Mike Scioscia go so that a veteran pitching staff would know I was their catcher my rookie year.”

Watch Piazza’s comments here:
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First look: Dodgers place ad celebrating Mike Piazza’s Hall of Fame induction.

Mike Piazza, who will be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend, is the subject of an advertisement placed by the Dodgers in the official magazine being distributed this weekend in Cooperstown, New York:


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Former Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza, Ken Griffey Jr., elected to Hall of Fame.

Mike Piazza Tommy Lasorda

The Dodgers drafted Mike Piazza in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft at the recommendation of his brother’s godfather, former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. (Getty Images)

Mike Piazza, the catcher who was drafted and developed by the Dodgers, was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday along with Ken Griffey Jr.

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.”

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Ten Hall of Fame questions with IBWAA founder Howard Cole.

Pedro Martinez

Pedro Martinez is on both the BBWAA and IBWAA Hall of Fame ballots for the first time. (Getty Images)

Tomorrow is the big day for the Hall of Fame class of 2015, as the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will announce its election results at 11 a.m. on MLB Network.

A candidate must be named on 75 percent of ballots to gain induction, as usual. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines are the most prominent names in the spotlight this year. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is on the ballot for the final time as a player. Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire, remarkably, might be on the ballot for the final time as well if he isn’t named on 5 percent of the ballots.

The website BaseballThinkFactory.com is tabulating the results of BBWAA votes as they are made public on the internet. Not all votes will be made public on the internet.

I did not receive a BBWAA ballot, since I don’t have the necessary 10 years’ experience required to vote in the Hall of Fame election.

I did, however, cast a ballot in the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America Hall of Fame election. Those results will also be announced tomorrow. The IBWAA, founded in 2009, has several members (like myself) who belong to the BBWAA as well. A few even cast ballots in both Hall of Fame elections.

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Daily Distractions: Zach Lee, not the next Drew Henson, has no regrets about choosing baseball over football.

Zach Lee

The Dodgers and scouting director Logan White (right) lured Zach Lee (left) from LSU with a $5.25 million signing bonus in 2010. (Associated Press photo)

MLB.com had an interesting article today about some lesser known baseball-football connections, from Frank Thomas to Jake Locker to Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson.

Maybe the most interesting line in that piece was about Drew Henson. You might recall that Henson was a star quarterback at Michigan, succeeding Tom Brady in 1998, then tried his hand at baseball and even got in a few games with the Yankees after climbing the minor-league ladder. Then he retired, tried his hand at football again, and was relegated to being a backup most of his career. Writes Jim Callis:

I still think Drew Henson could have been a star in baseball had that been his focus — one evaluator I highly respect compared Henson’s skills to those of Mike Schmidt — but doubling as a quarterback ultimately meant he didn’t realize his potential in any sport.

Maybe the Dodgers should count their lucky stars that Zach Lee has no intention of becoming the next Drew Henson.

Lee, the 2013 organizational pitcher of the year, was once a highly recruited quarterback out of McKinney (Texas) High School. He chose to attend Louisiana State University, and did for a time, and was anointed as a savior of the LSU football program in at least one headline. (Actually, read those whole first two paragraphs again in italics: The heavens part and there, riding on the clouds comes a gift from the gods, or perhaps planet Krypton. Yes, he is the one we’ve been waiting for. Zach Lee. If only this picture came replete with angelic purple wings and a shiny golden halo to signify his immaculate arrival. Well, we hope so anyways.)

As recently as last April, the New Orleans media opined about what might have been with Lee. Does Lee ever wonder “what if?”

“I don’t have any regrets about what I did, the decision I made,” Lee said Wednesday. “It’s really kind of more now going back and reflecting on memories, reflecting on the great times I had with some of my teammates. Not necessarily the on-field stuff, but more the experiences you get out of it.”

Lee said he didn’t feel any “twinges” while watching the bowl games, including Monday’s BCS championship game, when Florida State beat Auburn.

“I’m kind of an analytical person,” he said. “So I analyze football as well as having a background in it. I was a little disappointed the SEC couldn’t pull it off, but it was a great game.”

Some bullet points for a Vodoun Day:
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