With the Hall of Fame vote coming up (the results will be released on January 6th), I thought it might be nice to link to the pieces I wrote last year regarding a handful of players that were up for consideration but who failed to be enshrined. Here are those links.
In addition, here is my recap on how the voting actually turned out last year in HOF: What Should Have Been.
As for the vote this year, there seems to be growing support for the candidacy of Jeff Bagwell. Should be be enshrined in the Hall of Fame?
(1) Bagwell spent his entire 15 year career with the Astros. I know this really doesn’t matter, but in the world of money grubbing by players you have to tip your hat to Bagwell for this accomplishment of staying with one club.
(2) He was the 1991 NL Rookie of the Year, and in 1994 he was named NL MVP. He also finished in the top-10 in MVP voting five times on his way to 2.89 Career MVP Shares, the 35th highest mark in league history.
(3) He was named to four All-Star teams.
(4) He had 1,529 RBI – 45th all-time – and he also scored 1,517 runs, good for 62nd all-time. No player eligible for the Hall of Fame with 1,500 runs and 1,500 RBI isn’t in the Hall.
(5) He finished his career with a .408 OBP, the 40th best mark ever.
(6) He finished his career with a .540 SLG, the 35th best mark ever.
(7) He finished his career with a .948 OPS, the 21st best mark ever. This is a simply stupendous accomplishment for a guy who spent so much of his career hitting in the Astrodome.
(8) Bagwell led the league in runs three times – with a high of 152. In fact, he scored 143 and 152 runs in 1999-2000, and amongst first basemen only he and Lou Gehrig ever had back-to-back seasons of 140+ runs in the history of baseball.
(9) Bagwell hit .297 with 449 homers, 1,529 RBI, 1,517 runs and an OPS of .948. In the history of baseball, only 10 men have reached each of those totals in their career, and oh what a list it is: Stan Musial, Barry Bonds, Mel Ott, Alex Rodriguez, Babe Ruth, Manny Ramirez, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams and Mr. Bagwell.
(1) He spent his entire career with the Astros. Did anyone notice how great he was since they never saw him play in person or on television?
(2) The strike in 1994 ruined what was shaping up to be a historic season. Bagwell hit .368 with 39 homers, 116 RBI and 104 runs scored… in 110 games. Along the way he led the league in RBI and runs, not to mention SLG (.750) and OPS (1.201). If he had kept that pace up over 160 games he would have produced a line of .368-57-169 with 151 runs scored. If he had produced a season for the ages like that, would more people have taken notice of him?
(3) Despite his tremendous work, other than 1994, was he ever even considered the best first baseman in baseball with players like Fred McGriff, Mo Vaughn, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton around?
Bagwell should be a lock. In addition to being a tremendous person and teammate, he was also a dynamic player. His career totals stack up well against pretty much any man who ever played first base, and it’s not his fault there were so many tremendous hitting first basemen in the game when he played. Bagwell was also widely regarded as one of the best base runners in baseball in his career, even with less than scintillating speed, and that reputation should augment the glowing numbers. The Hall of Fame candidacy of many players has been exaggerated of late, but if Mr. Bagwell is enshrined the voting body will be making a decision that will undoubtedly stand the test of time.
By Ray Flowers