Chances are, A.J. Pierzynski will not be inducted into the Hall of Fame. In fact, it is doubtful that the former Chicago White Sox catcher will even receive a second year on the ballot, as he has just one vote thus far. Those few votes will be a footnote to what was a solid career, but one that few considered worthy of immortality.
It is easy to see why. Pierzynski was named to the All Star Game just twice in his 19 years in the majors, earning MVP votes just once. He was the 2012 Silver Slugger for American League catchers and deserved an All Star berth that season even though he was left off the team. That lack of recognition is now following him to the ballot.
Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski may have better Hall of Fame resume than one realizes
Despite the lack of accolades, Pierzynski was a solid catcher during his career. He posted a .280/.319/.420 batting line in his 7815 plate appearances, hitting 188 homers and 407 doubles. Those numbers are certainly respectable for someone who spent the vast majority of his career behind the plate.
However, statistics do not quite do Pierzynski justice. One has to look at his performance through the lens of where he ranks amongst those who have spent at least half their career behind the plate. When doing so, Pierzynski’s Hall of Fame case gets a bit more intriguing.
Pierzynski is one of just ten catchers in MLB history to reach the 2000 hit plateau. Seven of those are in the Hall of Fame and an eighth – Yadier Molina – will join them once his career is over. His 407 doubles are fourth all time amongst catchers and he ranks in the top 20 in runs and RBI.
That production may not be enough for Pierzynski to be inducted. He was never regarded as one of the top catchers of his time and could be viewed upon as a compiler more than anything else. However, one cannot argue with the end results, showing that Pierzynski was underrated during his career.
A.J. Pierzynski may not get more than one year on the MLB Hall of Fame ballot, but the Chicago White Sox catcher had a better career than most realize.