Jeff Bagwell Should Have Been Elected Into The MLB Hall of Fame
Congratulations goes out to former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin for being elected into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday, but the Major League Baseball Writers’ Association of America left somebody out that deserved to get it, but didn’t, former Houston Astros first-baseman Jeff Bagwell.
Bagwell will get in, eventually. He received 56% of the vote this year, falling 19% short, after receiving just over 40% last year.
If you look at history, most players who receive about 40% of the vote their first year on the ballot eventually get in.
That being said, Bagwell shouldn’t have to wait.
Among players that played more than half of their career games at first base, Bagwell ranks eighth on the all-time list in runs scored, 12th in doubles, 12th in homers, 12th in RBI’s, 6th in walks, 8th in on-base percentage, 11th in slugging percentage, and 11th in OPS.
In terms of first basemen that accumulated 1,500 runs, 1,500 RBI’s, and 200 stolen bases during their careers, the list is thin. It includes only Cap Anson and Bagwell.
In his rookie with the Astros, back in 1991, Bagwell hit .294 with 15 home runs, 82 RBI and was named the 1991 National League Rookie of the Year.
In 1994, he won the National League MVP, batting .368 with 39 home runs, 116 RBI and 104 runs in only 400 at-bats. In that season, he set a record for fewest plate appearances needed to reach at least 100 runs and 100 RBI in one season.
Bagwell had nine seasons with over 30 home runs and over 100 runs scored, and eight seasons with 100 or more RBI.
Bagwell was a terrific defensive first baseman, winning a Gold Glove Award in 1994, and was also one of the top base-runners ever, with two 30 homer-30 stolen bases seasons to his credit.
There were/are three things working against Bagwell however.
1)—His career was cut short by an arthritic shoulder.
2)—He played his home games during his first nine years in the Astrodome, which undoubtedly cut down on his home run and RBI totals.
3)—Although he’s never been linked to steroids, the writers tend to lump him in with the big bashers of the 90’s, which is a crying shame.
In 15 years, Bagwell hit a .297, with 449 home runs, 1529 RBIs, with 202 stolen bases, and a career on-base percentage of .408.
Those numbers, along with his defense, and impeccable base running, make him a Hall of Famer in my eyes.
Former Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell
Hopefully, nest year, the writers will open theirs!