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Jeff Bagwell isn’t getting into the Hall of Fame anytime soon

Jan 1, 2011, 7:30 PM EDT


The fine baseball writing gentlemen of the Chicago Tribune published their Hall of Fame ballots Saturday, and what a job they did. All seven of the voters agreed that Roberto Alomar was a Hall of Famer, yet not a one picked Jeff Bagwell.

And what’s especially brilliant is not a one would admit docking him for believing he was a steroid user. Phil Rogers didn’t think “his resume was quite strong enough.” Several declined to mention him at all.

Bagwell, of course, needs to be named on 75 percent of ballots to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. The current guess is that he’ll be lucky to clear 40 percent. That’s not so bad; most players who debut at 30 percent or higher eventually are elected. However, if Bagwell doesn’t make it this year or next, he’s going to be knocked down in 2013 and 2014 by the glut of strong candidates set to debut.

So, yeah, barring some eventual evidence of steroid usage, Bagwell will be a Hall of Famer. But while his production justifies a first-ballot induction, all signs point to a long wait.

  1. JM Lattanzi - Jan 1, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    This is a travesty. Bags should be in with this class. What kills me is that these guys are Chicago writers and thus should have seen Bagwell more frequently due to intra-divisional play.

    Not a single one put Bagwell on, huh?

    • Dave Dickson - Jan 2, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      the travesty is roberto alomar getting in the HOF.

      • JM Lattanzi - Jan 2, 2011 at 12:17 PM

        How so? He was easily the best second baseman of his era, better than Craig Biggio. who will probably get in by virtue of his 3,000 hits.

      • BC - Jan 3, 2011 at 9:52 AM

        Alomar (even though he tanked with my Mets) was the best fielding second baseman I’ve ever seen, and was an elite offensive player for over a decade. He HAS to get in.

  2. Roger Moore - Jan 1, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    I’m not sure that Bagwell is such a shoo-in. He played in an era of big slugging 1B/DH types. He had a relatively fast decline compared to a bunch of those guys, and his raw numbers are depressed compared to them from playing so long in the Astrodome. If you appreciate how badly his numbers were hurt by his home park, he looks very good, but a lot of HOF voters aren’t going to look that deep. When you look at his raw numbers, he’s going to get lost in the crush.

  3. RickyB - Jan 1, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    So Phil Rogers lauds the complete player that Larry Walker was, yet finds Bagwell lacking? Must have been that Bagwell hit fewer homers … uh, wait, fewer doubles … uh, no. How about fewer RBIs? Nope. True, Bagwell had just 202 stolen bases to Walker’s 230, but also walked nearly 500 more times and had nearly 200 more hits. Of course, Bagwell played at least 155 games in 10 seasons, Walker never did, and Bagwell had 1,401 more plate appearances. Bagwell had three top 3 MVP finishes, Walker just one. Both were considered very good fielders. Must be because Bagwell hit “just” .297 to Walker’s .313. Better OBP, however. Oh, and yes, Bagwell played how many years in the Astrodome? Calling Walker a complete player and Bagwell lacking is ridiculous. Just say it Phil — you didn’t vote for Bagwell because you think he took steroids. We’re not stupid. Bagwell will be lucky to get 30 percent this year, and Palmeiro won’t even get the 5 percent to stay on. I disagree with both.

    • Roger Moore - Jan 1, 2011 at 10:02 PM

      Maybe it’s because Walker played outstanding defense in the outfield, while Bagwell played outstanding defense at first base. It’s a legitimate point in Walker’s favor, even if it is less important than all of the legitimate points in Bagwell’s favor.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 1, 2011 at 11:26 PM

        Actually, isn’t Phil Rogers just generally an idiot? I’m genuinely asking, since I might be confusing him with someone else. But that was my impression.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 2, 2011 at 9:24 AM

        Completely. The man isn’t worth the page click.

  4. JBerardi - Jan 1, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    So let’s recap here.

    1. Writers, owners, fans, and all of their grandmothers turn a blind eye to rampant steroid use for like a decade plus.
    2. Writers, owners, grandmothers, etc are shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that players from that decade plus might have used steroids.
    3. Jeff Bagwell must be punished! But not because he did anything… just, you know… because. We can’t talk about it.

    • Roger Moore - Jan 1, 2011 at 10:55 PM

      I think you forgot:

      4) Traditional sportswriters are the best choice to vote for the HOF because they take their obligation so seriously.

      • terryindallas - Jan 2, 2011 at 6:29 AM

        Change that to “take themselves so seriously.”

  5. mangothefruit - Jan 1, 2011 at 11:43 PM

    It probably doesn’t mean anything, but Wrigley Field was Bagwell’s worst ground. He hit .258/.395/.438 there in 96 games, compared to his carer line of .297/.408/.540. But that’s probably not why they didn’t vote for him.

  6. alexo0 - Jan 2, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    While it’s not fair for writers to speculate without evidence that certain players used performance enhancers, I don’t think it’s quite fair for you to insinuate that these writers are not voting for Bagwell because they think he did steroids, without your own evidence to back it up.

  7. professorperry - Jan 2, 2011 at 8:14 AM

    Bagwell’s one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, by the numbers. So if a BBWAA doesn’t vote for him, either they can’t read numbers (and we’re talking things like RBIs and AVG, not better stats like OPS+), or they are voting against him for some other reason.

    But you’re right – we shouldn’t assume that the Chicago 7 are competent.

  8. bigtrav425 - Jan 2, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    Robby alomar getting in the HoF would be a travesty??…Sounds like you were hitting the sauce a lil bit hard before you commented.Robby was THE best 2nd basemen of his era hands down.The guy gets in with no problem…thats the diff between him and bagwell. Robby was the best at his position but you cant say the same about Bags.Not because he wasnt good just becasue of how many good 1st basemen there was in his era

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