Should Jeff Bagwell Be Voted Into The Hall Of Fame?
Should former Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell be voted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame when voting results are released on Wednesday?
In a word, 'yes'. As a matter of fact, it's long overdue.
Now, while nothing is a guarantee, things look pretty good for Bagwell, in terms of getting in this year.
Last year, Bagwell fell 15 votes short of joining the elite in Cooperstown, New York. He finished at 71.6%, which fell just short of the needed 75% to be voted into the Hall of Fame.
So, it would be a real surprise if Bagwell doesn't pick up the extra 15 votes and get in this year.
That being said, it's hard to figure out why he isn't already in, having been passed over on six occasions.
Bagwell is the only player, EVER, to collect 40 home runs, 30 doubles, 30 stolen bases, and 100 walks in a single season, and he did it not once, but twice.
He is one of only 17 players to accumulate 400 homers, 1,500 RBI's, 1,500 runs, and 1,400 walks, while reaching base 3,800 times.
Among the 19 first basemen already in the Hall of Fame, Bagwell ranks third in WAR, yet he didn't get in on his first six tries.
How impressive are Bagwell's stats? Well, let's compare him to Ken Griffey, Jr.
I'm not picking on Griffey, as he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I'm using Griffey as a comparison because just last year, he set a new record, by being voted in with 99.3% of the vote.
Well, in terms of career statistics, Bagwell has a better batting average (.297/.284) and on-base percentage (.408/.370) than Griffey.
Maybe surprisingly, to some, Bagwell also has a higher career slugging percentage than Griffey (.540/.538), a better OPS (.948/.907), and even finished his career with more stolen bases (202/184).
If you look at the 162-game averages by the two, Griffey bettered Bagwell in only one category, home runs (38/34).
In a season, Bagwell averaged more hits (174/169), more runs (114/101), more doubles (37/32), more RBI's (115/111), more stolen bases (15/11), and the same amount of triples (2), while producing a better batting average (.297/.284), on-base percentage (.408/.370), and slugging percentage (.540/.538) than Griffey.
Again, this is not to knock Griffey; he's a definite Hall of Famer. But he's a guy that over 99% of the voters said 'yes' to on his first year on the ballot, setting a new record, and yet Bagwell, who had better stats, in multiple categories, is still fighting to get in?
And I realize that Griffey suffered through his share of injuries. But you also must not forget that Bagwell's career was cut short by an arthritic shoulder, or that Bagwell played the first 9 years of his career at the Astrodome, a pitcher's paradise.
The reason Bagwell hasn't been voted in, yet, is because there have been whispers of steroid use.
That's all there has been however, whispers. Bagwell never tested positive, and didn't turn up in the Mitchell Report, or any other investigation.
His name also hasn't surfaced among the names leaked in connection with the 104 positives on the 2003 survey tests, like Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez.
Does that prove he was 100% clean? No, but it certainly should give him the benefit of the doubt.
He hasn't played in a game since 2005, and nobody has anything concrete against him? Time to move on.
Not voting Jeff Bagwell into the Hall of Fame for 6-consecutive years has been silly.
Thankfully, the silliness will end. I think.