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It’s “I have no evidence of his PED use, but I’m not voting for Jeff Bagwell” season

Dec 14, 2011, 8:57 AM EDT

Jeff Bagwell

I guess we’re going to do this again. We’re going to say that Jeff Bagwell, by the fame, by the accomplishments and by the numbers, is worthy of the Hall of Fame. But we’re then going to not vote for him because … I’m not sure why. The first of the season is Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant:

Based on numbers alone, Bagwell deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. That part is easy. He hit .297 with 449 homers, eight 100-RBI seasons and had a .948 OPS as well as a Gold Glove and an MVP Award. Yet because of the sins of his baseball generation, fair or not, Bagwell finds himself in an uncomfortable position.

It’s only uncomfortable because you and others like him put him there, Mr. Jacobs.

If there’s a positive test of PED use, fine. If there is a convincing report that the man used PEDs, fine.  But in Bagwell’s case we have neither right now. All we have are people who believe something based on their gut and guilt by the loosest association. And who will likely have no problem voting for Jim Thome, Frank Thomas and other big-slugging first basemen of the era when their time comes.

And I really can’t believe that no one has a giant problem with this.

  1. caputop - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:03 AM

    Someone needs to confess to steroid use on stage after they’ve been enshrined. They can be lying, or telling the truth, but the idea that they are going to selectively punish a few players who acted because everyone (owners, players, media, fans) allowed and/or encouraged them to use is nonsense.

    • winkeroni - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:14 AM

      I’m not sure why only the players need to be punished. The MLB allowed this to happen. I watched Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa play, it was fun watching them murder balls but it is also obvious that they were on the juice. The league could of stopped this but they encouraged it because it was getting those back to the ballpark that left after the strike. The leagues punishment should be enshrining these men. We all know the users and their legacy’s will forever be tainted but so should the MLB’s.

      • drewsylvania - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:42 AM

        Because those that run the league would be punishing themselves. We can’t have that!

      • drewsylvania - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:42 AM

        Love the notion, BTW.

      • titknocker - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:06 PM

        Bud Selig will 1 day likely be enshrined because he generally has been a great commissioner (All Star game in Milwaukee aside) and he let the steroid use go on. As the players got bigger, and the balls went further. The owners bank accounts got fatter. It really bothers me that all the onus is on the players. When in reality everyone played a part in it.

    • cur68 - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:32 AM

      HOF players have admitted to cheating and/or illegal behaviour: doctored balls, cocaine & amphetamines spring readily to mind. They’re still in the HOF. Baggy’s not associated with any of that except working out like a madman (past trainer advice: hence his injury to his shoulder. Working out aggressively and NOT getting injured is a feature of PED use by the way. That’s why its advantageous: you can work harder and recover quicker. Try that without dope and you get injured. Like Bagwell did). The admitted cheaters are in, so what’s the big deal about Bagwell who hasn’t admitted to anything nor been associated to shred of proof?

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:03 AM

        I’ve long wondered how cocaine helped players. Instead of Ernie Banks “Let’s play 2″, it’s “Let’s play 19 because I can’t feel my body”?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:07 AM

        I’ve long wondered how cocaine helped players.

        I think it was for this same newspaper, back when Lawrence Taylor was inducted into the HoF that someone made a comment that he shouldn’t be allowed because cocaine is a PED. [from CT so the Courant was all I read]

    • skids003 - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:34 AM

      I agree with you Craig. These writers should have their vote stripped because of the era they write in, that’s about the same logic. You can’t punish someone else for the transgressions of their era. Especially with no evidence against him??

  2. dlindstedt2 - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    It must because of his race and personality. At least that is what Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea.com would tell you.

    • CJ - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:51 AM

      Is he Jewish like Braun? Maybe it’s Anti-Semitism!

      Don’t be keeping the Jewish man down!

      • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:05 AM

        Seriously, leave the Jewish religion and all calls of anti-Semitism out of this.

        You probably don’t know enough about either.

        To those making fun of anti-Semitism, you might as well make fun of racism, sexism, and pedophilia, too. Enough Jews have been targeted, lost their humanity, and died in our time and before our time due strictly to society’s inability to grasp that, no, we don’t bake unleavened bread with the blood of other people’s children.

      • dlindstedt2 - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:21 AM

        Koufax, you mad bro?

      • sportsdrenched.com - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:30 AM

        Nope, just Lamb’s blood

      • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:47 AM

        No, I’m not mad. I just don’t see what’s the purpose of bringing up anti-Semitism with Ryan Braun’s drug test situation. As far as I know, the only people bringing up anti-Semitism are the people bringing up Ryan Braun’s Judaism. The question I have is, Why is that? Projection? Some fratboy, back handed insult?

        This is about Jeff Bagwell. And even if this is about Ryan Braun, it is not about his religion.

        Let’s stop being a bunch of sophomoric amatuers. This blog is supposed to be bigger and better than that.

      • CJ - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        Please, relax. That was not made as a insult of anyone’s race or faith by any means. If it was taken that way, I sincerely apologize.

        I only said it becuase race was brought up as an issue in how the Bonds and Braun cases have been perceived by the public, which I feel (and expressed yesterday in a different thread), is a ridiculous notion that is played by some that won’t let go of some horrible things that have happened in the past. At the same time, I fully acknowledge that I’d have a tough time doing that in the same situation.

        My comment wasn’t intended to be offensive in any way, I’m merely pointing out that race, faith, and any number of factors could be brought up in any and all of these situations, and really should have no bearing in these cases whatsoever. If any other them apply even in the slightest then those who still hold such perceptions need to grow up and get over themselves so we can all move on as a nation. In my view it’s just shameful and deplorable that we can’t move on as a nation from some of these things. In hindsight, I see that my poor attempt at a Seinfeld reference didn’t exactly help facilitate this point, and for that matter might’ve caused it more harm than good, and for that I truly do apologize.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:21 PM

        I appreciate your response, CJ. To reiterate, I don’t consider what you wrote to be borderline anti-Semitic in and of itself. I will say there is a slippery slope when discussing race and religion within a subject matter that is about neither.

        All in all, no harm done. I just felt (especially in light of some comments I’ve read here recently regarding Braun and his identity) that the notion should be nipped in the bud.

      • CJ - Dec 14, 2011 at 4:30 PM

        fair enough. I appreciate your gracious response.

  3. sorryyourmomblewup - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    Mr. Jacobs, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    • Francisco (FC) - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:22 AM

      You may want to post that on his actual article as a comment.

      • sorryyourmomblewup - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:32 AM

        I did, it hasn’t shown up though for some reason.

      • CJ - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:52 AM

        well, there’s a shocker.

  4. phillyphreak - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    “I will wait another year or two. If the worst thing I do is to make him enter the Hall of Fame with his teammate Craig Biggio, well, that’s damning Bagwell with a great blessing.”

    Make it another 4 years, Mr Jacobs. That way we can all be sure Biggio was clean too.

    • bkarbour - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:27 AM

      Why is 4 years enough? Why not 10, or 20? There’s no logical train to stopping at any particular year? There will always be rumors. There’s no indication that there will ever be evidence.

      • phillyphreak - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:36 AM

        Agreed. It’s pointless. It was a sarcastic remark about the author’s logic.

  5. Francisco (FC) - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:09 AM

    Well I do if it helps any.

    • Francisco (FC) - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:23 AM

      Grrr… copy & paste fail! EDIT FUNCTION!

      And I really can’t believe that no one has a giant problem with this.

      Well I do if it helps any.

  6. fatass5 - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    Put him in and every other player that has the numbers

    • stlouis1baseball - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:53 AM

      Absolutely FatAss. The only way around it. If they have the numbers…put them in. Put a little asterisk next to each guys name stating they played in the Steroid Era. Issue resolved.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:08 AM

        There is no defined time for ‘Steroid Era.’ Clearly it isn’t over yet. We don’t even fully know when it began.

        It’s the MLB’s fault, it’s the MLBPA’s fault, on top of it also being the players’ fault that any of this happened. Let them in. The Hall of Fame is a baseball museum, and these players are just a part of baseball as anything else.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:52 PM

        Put a little asterisk next to each guys name stating they played in the Steroid Era. Issue resolved.

        Sure just as long as you put one in for those that played pre-segregation, those who played during WWII/Korea but didn’t serve, those that played during the amphetamine era, and then the Cocaine era…

    • nolanwiffle - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:53 AM

      I’m with Fatass! (sadly, that isn’t the first time I’ve said that)

  7. tuftsb - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:16 AM

    it is as idiotic as saying there are a lot of unsolved crimes in Hartford, so Jacobs should go to jail. I cannot prove that he did them, but just to be sure……

    Officer Eddie: (reading Steve Sax’s license) Well well, Steve Sax, from New York City.
    Officer Lou: I heard some guy got killed in New York City and they never solved the case. But you wouldn’t know anything about that now, would you, Steve?
    (Lou and Eddie laugh)
    Steve Sax: But there are hundreds of unsolved murders in New York City.
    Officer Lou: You don’t know when to keep your mouth shut, do you, Saxxy Boy?

    • stlouis1baseball - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:55 AM

      Hahaha! Steve Sax? Well done Tufts.

    • phukyouk - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:20 AM

      Like i said 2 days ago… BEST.EPISODE.EVER!

      • 78mu - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:37 AM

        Monorail – The Really Best Episode

      • phukyouk - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:31 PM

        Monorail is the 3rd best… it goes
        1. Homer at bat
        2. you only move twice
        3. Marge vs. the Monorail
        FACT!

  8. Jonny 5 - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:18 AM

    “And I really can’t believe that no one has a giant problem with this.”

    I can. It’s because of people like this that nobody really gives a crap about the HOF anymore. The BBWAA has proven time and time again that they care more about page clicks and selling papers than they do about voting in a fair and consistent manner. The HOF has become a useful tool of punishment instead of what it was meant for.

  9. Chipmaker - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    Bagwell is from Connecticut. And this nitwit works for the Courant? Boy, there’s some hometown love happenin’.

  10. hammyofdoom - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Seriously, there have always been baseball players (or athletes in general) that were bigger faster and stronger than the rest, and now its a damn shame that every time there is someone who was good, instead of thinking “Wow thats a hall of fame player” many now think “He was muscular and big, so he must have done steroids”. I always found it funny that Thome is seen as clean for having not tested positive while mashing home runs, but Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza are doubted. There have been people of all body types testing positive or having admitted to taking stuff (paging Brian Roberts), and it is totally unfair to keep Bagwell, an all time great, out of the hall because there is, at this time, unfounded suspicions of his PED use. Frustrates me to no end

    • cur68 - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:49 AM

      Not only that, but well documented stories and accounts of hard he worked out. That guy was a gym rat. He wound up with a condition known as “weight lifter’s shoulder” which is endemic in guys who over-work their shoulders with weights. Not so much a feature of the steroid crowd though: those guys will tell you (tell you till you want to feed them a barbell to shut them up) that recovery time is much quicker on the dope and you don’t injure as easily.

      • stlouis1baseball - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:57 AM

        Absolutely Cur. That crap will allow you to work out to no end. Bagwell’s shoulder issues (almost by definition)…lends itself to him NOT juicing.

      • stex52 - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:15 AM

        Why the thumbs downs? What cur says is the truth. I have it indirectly from the Astros trainers of the time that he would not stop weights even when told to. Chronic inflammation went to arthritis and that was it.

      • jeffrp - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:45 AM

        There are well documented stories of how hard Clemens worked out.

      • cur68 - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:18 PM

        Missing the point jeff: worked out, sure. Worked out without injury was the point. That’s what the ‘roids are believed to do for you, see? Like Roger Clemens still pitching great in his 40′s? Unlike Baggy, broken down with weight lifter’s shoulder?

    • stlouis1baseball - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:59 AM

      But Hammy…Thome has always maintained it was Budweiser and Mashed Potatoes that gives him strength. No joke!

  11. hk62 - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    Thanks for posting this Craig – I can understand if voters didn’t want Bags to be a 1st ballot entry. But there is no justification for keeping him out of the Hall –

    Continued sub entry level vote totals for Jeff Bagwell will push the MLB Hall of Fame into the status of “Great Players of the Past Museum”

    Come On voters!

  12. phukyouk - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    too bad noone mentioned this yesterday
    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/12/13/union-head-michael-weiner-releases-a-statement-about-ryan-braun/

  13. rangersteve - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    To quote an article on another site, posted recently by a member of BBWAA (disclaimer: he isn’t eligible to vote for awards/Hall at this time due not enough tenure, but he asked the following):

    “Why are writers deciding this stuff in the first place?” Why are those that write the news allowed to make the news? Why are they allowed to “officially validate or void a players accomplishments?”

    I think he makes a good point and it’s one that should be considered.

    • tuftsb - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:14 PM

      I have been told by some of the more honest writers (oxymoron – see military intelligence and jumbo shrimp) that they see the BBWAA HOF vote disappearing within a decade. The only way it will stay is if the old members wither away and new ones with SABR smarts take over soon.

  14. bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    “Based on numbers alone, Bagwell deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. That part is easy. He hit .297 with 449 homers, eight 100-RBI seasons and had a .948 OPS as well as a Gold Glove and an MVP Award”

    That’s all that matters now. If that’s not enough, then it’s time to blow up the baseball HOF right now.

    MLB is the one that dropped the ball on steroid use and if any one should suffer it’s the owners themselves, not the players or the fans. Time to admit that they screwed up and that the sins of the past will be forgiven. Going forward, they can adopt a more stringent standard, so long as they also apply that same standard to themselves.

  15. nategearhart - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    Disgusting. If he won’t vote for Bagwell due to PEDs, he IS part of the witch hunt, and saying he doesn’t want to be part of the witch hunt doesn’t change it.

    He says he only voted for Larkin and Morris. But how does he know Larkin and Morris didn’t use?

    • thefalcon123 - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:39 AM

      …I mean, Barry Larkin averaged 10 home runs a season during his career, and then he suddenly hits 33 at age thirty-two? And Jack Morris’ career was over! He went 21-32 with a 4.65 ERA in 89 and 90 and then suddenly does has a huge career turnaround and goes 39-18 in his late 30′s? It’s pretty obvious he juiced.

  16. thefalcon123 - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    This selective accusation crap is such f**king nonsense. How’s this for a HOF player who did steroids:
    –3rd highest OPS of his 20 year career came at age 37, just a sliver worse than his best season…at age 34. Not typical peak ages!

    –His two career high seasons in home runs came at ages 37 and 38.

    –His top HR/AB ratio came at age 38.

    –Posted an OPS+ of 143 between the ages of 33 and 38, up from 122 the previous 5 seasons.

    –The player went from a fairly skinny player in 1987 to an absolutely huge player by 1997…he had to have put on at least 40 pounds.

    –Like a lot of steroid users, the player become riddled with constant, nagging injuries.

    All in all, Tony Gwynn was a definite steroid user. I mean, there is not on shred of evidence or anything. But who needs evidence when everyone was doing it and the player fits a vague, invented criteria for a steroid user?

    • thefalcon123 - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:25 AM

      …and to those who may complain that I was unfair about the weight since Gwynn was well…less than buff…allow me to point to noted steroid user and morbidly obese man Mo Vaughn.

      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:37 PM

        You referring the former Red Sox first baseman? Of course, he used steroids.

    • nategearhart - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:25 AM

      Falcon, I’m guessing that once a player is elected, the BBWAA does NOT want anyone finding out he used. Because that would mean that they elected a user. And then they would all asplode.

  17. hushbrother - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    It’s incorrect to say that there’s NO evidence against Bagwell. What about statistics? Numbers like 116 RBIs in 110 games with a. .750 SLG in 1994, or five seasons of OPS’s over 1.000, when, if I’m not mistaken, nobody ever had done that even once in the history of the Astrodome? The fact that Bagwell did something that seemed to be humanly impossible isn’t evidence of steroid use?

    It’s the numbers that strain credulity that people have a problem with. If statistics can be used as evidence that a player belongs in the Hall of Fame, can they not also be seen as evidence that he may have cheated?

    • thefalcon123 - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:31 AM

      Ohhh, this is fun! We can do this all day!

      I mean, 54 home runs after no one else in baseball history every hit more than 27? Babe Ruth was a juicer!

      I mean, 61 home runs after never having hit more than 39 in a season? Roger Maris was a roid’ monger

      I mean,back to back 40 home run seasons (one in just 111 games!) when only 1 other player in team history ever hit 30? Ken Griffey Jr was on ‘roids.

      A .783 career OPS and then suddenly having 5 straight seasons with an OPS .895 or higher, leading the league twice and topping out at 1.020? Joe Morgan was a steroid user.

      Setting a career high in HR/AB ratio at age 39?!?! Hank Aaron user steroids.

      • bozosforall - Dec 14, 2011 at 3:38 PM

        Hank could have. Steroids first came into being right about the time that his HR totals took a huge jump upwards.

      • cur68 - Dec 15, 2011 at 3:50 AM

        er, not quite. ‘Roids developed in ~1930. Largely forgotten or ignored for about 20 years in North America, then first clinical trials were pretty unpromising: no detectable difference in muscle gain could be found (maybe early to mid ’70′s?). Not till about the late 80′s and early 90′s did their use really take off in North America when other work was being carried out and found significant results. So its beyond a stretch to imagine Aaron, in the early 70′s, using. He’d have needed to have a supply (from where? Soviet Russia?), know how to use them (when most people had no idea), and the dose (ditto).

    • nategearhart - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:37 AM

      No dude, that’s not evidence at all. You are saying that the only way to accomplish those feats is with PEDs. Well, where’s the evidence of THAT?
      You may as well start accusing Pedro and Maddux of using, too.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:39 AM

      It’s incorrect to say that there’s NO evidence against Bagwell. What about statistics? Numbers like 116 RBIs in 110 games with a. .750 SLG in 1994, or five seasons of OPS’s over 1.000, when, if I’m not mistaken, nobody ever had done that even once in the history of the Astrodome? The fact that Bagwell did something that seemed to be humanly impossible isn’t evidence of steroid use?

      Let’s break this down bit by bit:

      Numbers like 116 RBIs in 110 games
      Player A – 116 RBI 110 Games
      Player B – 101 RBI 110 Games

      15 more for Player A, but player B walked 109 times compared to Player A’s 65

      .750 SLG in 1994
      Player A – .750
      Player B – .729

      Splitting hairs here

      five seasons of OPS’s over 1.000
      Player A – 5 seasons topping out at 1.201 in ’94
      Player B – 7 seasons topping out at 1.217 in ’94

      Player A is Bagwell. Player B is Frank Thomas. Their numbers are extremely similar. Is the only reason Thomas gets the benefit of the doubt because he was one of the few to want to be tested?

      • thefalcon123 - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:45 AM

        Or how about this guy?
        .784 career OPS that suddenly balloons into a 1.064 OPS in 1994? Where is the Paul O’neill hate?

    • Francisco (FC) - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      I was going to post a reply as well, but the fine posters above me have blown you out of the water, it’s just not worth it.

    • stex52 - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:22 AM

      Bad science anyway. Is there a statistical correlation that says what PED’s should do? I don’t think so. Post is nonsense.

    • paperlions - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:37 AM

      My question is….where is all the talk about the fact that MLB introduced a new ball toward the end of the 1993 season, which had a springer core and a synthetic wind. Synthetics absorb less water from the air, making the ball lighter.

      1994 was the first “full” season of this ball being used, and it is the point where HRs per game jumped dramatically. Either the ball had a huge effect on production or every player in MLB decided to roid up during the ’93-’94 off-season.

      • tuftsb - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:29 PM

        Check out how many players were on a pace to hit 50 HR’s in 1994:

        Matt Williams (43)
        Ken Griffey (40)
        Jeff Bagwell (39)
        Frank Thomas (38)
        Barry Bonds (37)
        Albert Belle (36)
        Fred McGriff (34)

  18. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    Braun is innocent even with a bad test, but Bagwell is no-no because he looked like a PED user in an era of users. What is wrong with this picture?

    • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:15 AM

      Braun is innocent until proven guilty. His case has not run its due course. Information was leaked and hence the controversy.

      Bagwell is innocent until proven guilty. His Hall of Fame case is being dragged through the mud without any evidence. His body size and statistical accomplishments are, if anything, circumstantial.

      So, to answer your question, everything is wrong with this picture.

    • drunkenhooliganism - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:04 PM

      Seriously Pancho? It could be proven that Braun’s test was faulty and he was completely PED free and he could commit to hair and blood samples for the remainder of his career and there’s still no way he ever sniffs the HOF.

  19. rynev - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    I’m apparently late to the comments party here, but this article by The Common Man from last year that he has recently relinked on Twitter is the perfect response to these types of articles.

    http://www.platoonadvantage.com/2010/12/dan-graziano-no-for-this-writer.html

  20. Detroit Michael - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    Trying to look at the bright side, the writer notes his career OPS. This isn’t a neanderthal but someone who might change with the times, at least slowly. Bagwell wil be on the ballot a long time and he’ll look clean in comparison to some of the other guys who more clearly took steroids. Eventually, this guy may come around to vote Bagwell in.

  21. tuftsb - Dec 14, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Jeff Jacobs logic – “I’ll know it when I see it. But I didn’t see it, but think it happened. So I think I saw it”.

  22. simon94022 - Dec 14, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    A Hall of Fame without Bagwell — and Bonds and Clemens — is a joke. If the writers are going to stay on this dead end road, then Hall of Fame debates aren’t worth wasting time on.

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