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Attention voters: here’s what to do when someone doesn’t “feel like a Hall of Famer”

Dec 20, 2010, 4:49 PM EDT


In the Heyman Hall of Fame post, I talked about how memory doesn’t always serve us well. About how Heyman’s “you just had to be there” and multiple references to “impact,” in support of Jack Morris’ Hall of Fame case weren’t persuasive to me.  An excellent counterexample of all of that comes in the form of Jeff Fletcher’s column explaining his thought process on voting for Jeff Bagwell:

Applying the eyeball test to Bagwell, which is usually all I do with players before it’s actually decision time, my instinct was that he was not a Hall of Famer. I don’t remember at any time through Bagwell’s career thinking that this was a guy who deserved to be enshrined with the likes of Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron … When I began digging into the numbers, my guess was that Bagwell would probably wind up falling short. But I dug nonetheless.

And when he dug he realized that his memory had failed him. Or perhaps he just hadn’t really appreciated Bagwell at the time seeing as though no one outside of Texas watched every Astros game back in the 90s.  It didn’t take an exploration of esoteric metrics and annoyingly-acronymed statistics. It merely took a pair of fresh eyes taking a fresh look at the record which Jeff Bagwell complied at the moment Bagwell first became eligible for consideration.

Not really hard, was it?

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Dec 20, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    Who’s Jeff Bagwell?

    • thinman61 - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:01 PM

      A guy who was traded for Larry Anderson.

      *bangs head*

    • Utley's Hair - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:34 PM

      So I guess it’s too late for Six-degrees-of-Cliff-Lee with Jeff Bagwell? Damn…

  2. bigtrav425 - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    This is a hard one..He was pretty damn good but i never felt he was a hof’er myself i would have to take a look at the numbers again because i dont ever think he was the top 1st basemen in the game…i do know that Biggio does not deserve to be in even with 3000 hits.But with Jim Rice getting in there is a good chance he will make it

    • Adam - Dec 20, 2010 at 7:21 PM

      Are you kidding me? Craig Biggio is a Hall of Famer, period. No question he is. Jeff Bagwell is a Hall of Famer, no doubt. Bagwell was hitting 30-40 bombs a year IN THE ASTRODOME.

      His career took a nosedive the last few years because he had a shoulder injury that never properly healed, ending with him barely being able to throw the ball across the diamond. If Boston hadn’t traded him he would be talked about with reverence, but instead he toiled away in Houston for some horrendous baseball teams.

      As for Biggio, did he hang around a little too long to get to 3,000 hits, probably. That hurt his overall career numbers as he approached 40 and couldn’t play as well, but he was an amazing player throughout the 90s. The guy had nearly 300 home runs and over 400 SB while stealing at a 77% rate. When a player dominates over a decade like Biggio did, you can’t say he’s not a Hall of Famer. Throw in some solid to very good defense (I don’t know the stats but watching him in games I was impressed) and you’ve got a sure-fire HOF player.

      I think both players were hurt by playing in Houston, as the Astros wore some horrendous uniforms while player really bad baseball.

  3. 18thstreet - Dec 20, 2010 at 5:56 PM

    Where does anyone get the idea that the Hall of Fame is only for Mays, Aaron, and Ruth?

    • JBerardi - Dec 20, 2010 at 6:43 PM

      It usually something that comes up when people run out of good arguments but still don’t want to admit that they’re wrong.

  4. alfoglen - Dec 20, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    Heyman is good at sniffing out info on a trade or boosting a Scott Boras client, but he lacks pure baseball knowledge. Read his analysis of Bert Blyleven to the Hall. He never does come up with a reason he opposes Blyleven’s election and even points to a mysterious Internet conspiracy aimed at him personally for his opposition. I never thought Heyman belonged with the tinfoil hat crowd, but maybe he does.

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