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Maybe the zaniest Hall of Fame ballot yet

Dec 28, 2011, 6:20 PM EDT

Jeff Bagwell AP

Here are MLB.com’s Barry Bloom’s nine picks for Cooperstown:

I voted for Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Rafael Palmeiro, Tim Raines, Lee Smith and Alan Trammell.

Notice any conspicuous absences? It’s quite frankly insane that someone could pick nine players off this year’s ballot, including two tainted by steroids, yet leave off the best player of all, Jeff Bagwell.

At least Bloom does provide his “reasoning”:

And just a note on Jeff Bagwell: Rumors about possible steroid use don’t bother me. I just think he’s a very good player, but not of Hall of Fame caliber. His numbers are very similar to Steve Garvey — Bags .297 batting average to .294 for the Garv, 2,314 hits to 2,599, 449 homers to 272, 1,529 RBIs to 1,308 . But Garvey had two NL Championship Series MVPs, an NL MVP, an All-Star MVP, the longest consecutive game playing streak in NL history (1,207), one of the highest fielding percentages as a first baseman (.996) and an errorless season (1984). Garvey also played on five NL pennant winners and a World Series winner in ’81 with the Dodgers. Bagwell did almost none of this with the Astros. And Garvey didn’t get a sniff from the writers for the HOF.

Yeah, 449 homers to 272, one can hardly spot the difference there.

There have been 75 first basemen in major league history with at least 6,000 plate appearances. Among that group, Bagwell ranks ninth in homers, eighth in RBI, sixth with a .408 on-base percentage and ninth with a .540 slugging percentage. Garvey ranks 33rd in homers, 19th in RBI, 69th with a .329 OBP and 45th with a .446 slugging percentage.

I get that some writers want to leave Bagwell off the ballot because they feel he cheated. I don’t think it’s fair, but I do understand on the sentiment.

This, on the other hand, is simply crazy. To write off the steroids and then say that Bagwell doesn’t belong while McGriff and Martinez do is an exercise in some really awful logic.

  1. Matt - Dec 28, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    That extra 40 homers for McGriff is HUGE

  2. thehypercritic - Dec 28, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Who cites batting average instead of OBP? Either a sportswriter in the 1980s or a man who knows his argument is laughable.

    • howiehandles - Dec 28, 2011 at 10:33 PM

      Because this isn’t the Roto Hall of Fame.

      • JBerardi - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:00 PM

        Batting average is a lot more important in fantasy baseball than actual baseball, if you actually think about it…

  3. bigjimatch - Dec 28, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    Garvey had similar home run number to Aaron as well, 755 to 272. Just a hundred handfuls more.

    • hep3 - Dec 29, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      Garvey’s fielding average is laughable. He never threw to any base except first on bunts to protect that precious fielding average. Base stealers in his day were better off getting picked off and having Garvey throw to 2nd base rather than straight steal against C Steve Yeager.

      Garvey also had this “great” reputation for digging out low throws. Well, if he were a normal sized first sacker those short hops would have been caught on the fly and the in between hops for Garvey that he routinely missed would have been short hops for everyone else.

      Garvey was way overrated in his prime and looking back, his numbers get worse.

  4. Kevin S. - Dec 28, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    Via the excellent Sam Miller, Barry Bloom actually voted for Garvey: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070107&content_id=1774441&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

    • Ari Collins - Dec 28, 2011 at 6:52 PM

      Wow.

    • cur68 - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:11 PM

      *facepalm*

      These guys make no friggin sense, do they?

    • cocacolakid - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:37 PM

      He didn’t say he didn’t vote for Garvey, he said that Garvey didn’t get a sniff from Hall voters in general. Also I think the bigger issue with his 2007 vote was that he voted for Paul O’Neill.

      • b7p19 - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:45 PM

        The point is that he thought Garvey was worthy (voted for him), but does not think Bagwell is worthy (did not vote for him). Yet, in the article he defends NOT voting for Bagwell by saying (incorrectly) that he is similar to Garvey (who he voted for). Yeah?

        Agreed on Paul O’Neill.

      • 78mu - Dec 28, 2011 at 8:00 PM

        Paul O’Neill? Really? But not Bagwell? I wouldn’t vote for Garvey but I can see an argument for him. But I bet even O’Neill would laugh at the idea he had a better career than Bagwell.

      • 78mu - Dec 28, 2011 at 9:59 PM

        I still can’t get over him voting for O’Neill and not Bagwell. O’Neill played in New York and had a nice career. But he had one year with an OPS+ over 137. Bagwell had 10 with a career avg of 149. Even looking at the triple crown stats Bagwell easily tops O’Neill. Hell, Bagwell even had more stolen bases in his career.

        What was the problem with Bagwell’s game. He was above average with the glove, a very good baserunner, got on base at a rate most leadoff slap hitters could only dream of, hit with power and was a good citizen.

        Maybe Bloom thinks Bagwell wore the rainbow uniforms with the Astros and is holding it against him because nothing else makes sense.

      • Francisco (FC) - Dec 28, 2011 at 11:33 PM

        Also I think the bigger issue with his 2007 vote was that he voted for Paul O’Neill.

        He probably voted for Ross Perot too…

      • JBerardi - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:04 PM

        “He probably voted for Ross Perot too…”

        He’s probably one of the poor deluded fools giving money to Ron Paul’s campaign.

      • marshmallowsnake - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:52 PM

        Nah, he voted for Obama, because clearly he is an idiot.

  5. matthewtrueblood - Dec 28, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    Love, too, that he apparently grades first basemen defensively according to fielding Oct. And that only Garvey’s MVP counts, not Bagwell’s.

  6. adenzeno - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    That is so embarassing-HOW do people like this get a vote

  7. bigtrav425 - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    Bagwell,was a pretty good player but not HoF caliber….McGriff should get in before him altho a Mcgriff fan,i dont think he deserves it

    • largebill - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:57 PM

      Are you even vaguely familiar with the two players being discussed?

      • bigtrav425 - Dec 29, 2011 at 12:24 AM

        yes i am actually..like i said Both very good players but not HoF worthy.but with as watered down as the HoF is getting the past few yrs i wouldnt be surprised if they did get it

    • Ari Collins - Dec 28, 2011 at 8:09 PM

      McGriff hit .284/.377/.509 to Bagwell’s .297/.408/.540. Even when you adjust for the era, Bagwell was much much better.

      He was also a better fielder, among the best first basemen of his era. And he even stole a few bases in his time, including two 30/30 years.

      Basically: no contest.

      • 78mu - Dec 28, 2011 at 9:33 PM

        Sure he could steal a few bases but he was no Vince Coleman. I was waiting for Bloom to use that argument against Bagwell.

    • danrizzle - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:56 AM

      I am actually interested in why you think McGriff should get in but not Bagwell. I cannot for the life of me think of any reason why someone would think McGriff was a better player.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:13 AM

        493>449.

        QED.

        And yes, sarcasm.

  8. michael2525 - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    I would like to see Larkin get in. Last year (2011 vote) he had 62%, up from 52% in 2010. He’s close.
    Palmeiro, given his numbers, should have been a first year walk-in to the Hall. He got 11%. I don’t anticipate the baseball writers changing their ways anytime soon when it comes to use of PED’s.
    Bonds and Clements will make their first appearance on the ballot in 2013. It will get zanier.

  9. hammyofdoom - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    I agree with all of the comments bringing up the word “embarrasing”. Seriously, how can all of these people who’s entire job is to watch baseball all be so bird brained and hypocritical?

  10. bozosforall - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    Bags definitely deserves to be in the HOF. The naysayers who use steroids as a bar to election need to place the blame for the tainting of the game squarely where it belongs…on MLB, who conveniently looked the other way when they needed numbers to restore interest in the game, then threw everyone under the bus that they could to save their own miserable hides. MLB needs to step up and just say that they didn’t enforce any rules, therefore no players of that era should suffer as a consequence. MLB owners need to man up and admit that they didn’t care about the use of steroids…and still wouldn’t care if it hadn’t gotten such bad press overall.

    • Ari Collins - Dec 28, 2011 at 8:11 PM

      You make sense when you’re not trolling for somewhere you can hate on Boston.

      • nolanwiffle - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:43 AM

        Odd that bozo is showing the HoF love for a 1989 draft pick of the Boston Red Sox…….BTW, when does Larry Anderson become Hall eligible?

      • Kevin S. - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:16 AM

        Nah, he’s just setting up a rip-job on them for that trade. Which is fair and all, but still…

    • crashdog - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:45 AM

      While I agree Bags deserves to be in, I am really tired of everyone blaming MLB for the steroids era. These aren’t second graders eating glue. These are grown men who should have been able to police and check themselves. Place thee blame squarely where it deserves to go, on the players. And these players now have to deal with the consequences of taking them.

    • crashdog - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:45 AM

      While I agree Bags deserves to be in, I am really tired of everyone blaming MLB for the steroids era. These aren’t second graders eating glue. These are grown men who should have been able to police and check themselves. Place the blame squarely where it deserves to go, on the players. And these players now have to deal with the consequences of taking them.

  11. jwag777 - Dec 28, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    No full time (or majority of career DH) should ever be in the HOF. Not an all-around player like everyone else in the hall. No glove, no entry! At least that’s how I feel. Not convinced his numbers are worthy enough regardless.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 28, 2011 at 8:43 PM

      Jeff Bagwell spent the entirety of his career in the National League.

      • Francisco (FC) - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:50 PM

        I’m going to go out on a limb and say he’s referring to the vote for Edgar Martinez NOT Jeff Bagwell. His comment is at the post level, not in reply to anyone else. And although Bagwell’s photo is prominent, all ten of this writer’s choices for the Hall of Fame appear in the post and available to be commented upon. That said, I don’t agree with his POV at all and he probably should have stated clearly which choice he was protesting. Of course I could be wrong.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 28, 2011 at 8:58 PM

      The Hall of Fame is basically an offensive award. Very few guys are in it because of their gloves. I don’t love the DH but if they can rake like Martinez and Molitor did they deserve to be in. Manny Ramirez terrible fielding wasn’t going to leep him out of the Hall. Steroids will now though.

  12. mqcarpenter - Dec 28, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    This is the stupidest ballot I have ever seen. The reasoning is worse. Plus, why is not one soul talking about Dale Murphy? If the steroid discussion always comes up why not talk about a pure baseball player who arguably was one of the steadiest and best players from the 80s?

    • crashdog - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:40 AM

      Dale Murphy’s career took a nosedive at age 32. Had he played halfway decent through his 30s, he would already be in the hall. He was a great player for 10 years, but part of getting into the hall is amassing a great career. Not a great 8 year run.

  13. Gonzo - Dec 28, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    I can’t decide who I think is better, Raffy or Bags.

    Raffy has 700 more hits, 100 more doubles and 100 more homers.

    Bags has a 10 points better AVG, 40 points better OBP and 100 points better OPS.

    Before I looked up the stats, I thought Raffy had him beat in all categories.

    • 78mu - Dec 28, 2011 at 9:37 PM

      One had longevity stats and the other had performance stats. Bagwell’s shoulder was the difference.

      • Gonzo - Dec 28, 2011 at 10:03 PM

        You still have to be good to get hits and doubles and homers. He hit 79 homers and 380 hits in his last 3 seasons. They suddenly don’t count?

      • 78mu - Dec 28, 2011 at 10:31 PM

        Gonzo:

        They do count but it’s naive to think Bagwell’s performance would have dropped of a cliff if his shoulder hadn’t given out.

      • Gonzo - Dec 28, 2011 at 10:40 PM

        You cant say the “counting stats” are bad for Palmeiro, yet good for Bagwell if his shoulder hadn’t given out. Can’t have it both ways.

  14. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 28, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    The real fallacy here is to say that a player belongs in or out based on a comparison to other players who are in or out of the HOF. Each player, like each season, is different. A player’s numbers speak for themselves. The only valid comparison is in overall ranking of the numbers (whatever stat you prefer) to ALL other players at that position. That is the way Craig does it and I think it is the best approach we have.

  15. tuftsb - Dec 28, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    OK. let’s play the home version of “guilty until innocent” again.

    One BBWAA HOF voter is a child molester – one HOF voter abuses his girlfriend. Ergo, we cannot “induct” any writers into the HOF from this era, due of the inability to prove that the other writers and broadcasters are perverts or violent felons.

  16. Walk - Dec 28, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    Judge the player on the era he played in not on who else is in the hall. You can make comparisons and say player x had 300 hits thats automatic entry ok thoe types of numbers are astounding i can see that. However, if you do not judge them on the era they played in you leave out whole generations such as the dead ball era and based on that are liable to vote in whole teams from “steroids, juiced ball, greenie” eras.

  17. Walk - Dec 28, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    sigh 3000 hits

  18. simon94022 - Dec 28, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    What’s really scary is that these ludicrous ballots are coming from the guys who had the guts to explain their decisions in print. Imagine how many voters are quietly checking the box next to the scrappy mediocrity for their home town team who was always available to share a post game platitude.

    • cktai - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:16 AM

      It’s not that surprising when you think about it. The voters that know their ballots are stupid are the ones that are more inclined to defend it.

  19. simon94022 - Dec 28, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    Only 24 months until one of these imbecile’s explains why he voted for Larry Walker and Bernie Williams and Jeff Conine and Jose Lima, but not for Bonds or Clemens.

    • crashdog - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:51 AM

      While none of those are HOF worthy, that’s an easy argument. There is no refutable proof that they cheated the game.

  20. howiehandles - Dec 28, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    No way that McGwire and Palmeiro should even be on the ballot, period.

    Garvey doesn’t belong in. Very good career, but not HoF worthy.

    Bagwell yes, McGriff yes.

    Funny too how Luis Gonzalez, Brady Anderson rarely get mentioned when it comes to peds. 50 hrs one year, and not even half any other year. And Luis got better in his middle 30s?? Not that either should even sniff the HoF

    • Reflex - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:17 AM

      Luis has been mentioned a lot in PED discussions. So has Brady, which has been frustrating for him. Lots of players have outlier seasons. Roger Maris never even sniffed 50HR again, much less the 61 he put up in one magical season. Thats why they are called outliers.

    • comeonnowguys - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:47 AM

      Not sure why you’re getting thumbed down as much. McGwire and Palmeiro absolutely should not be in.

      • foreverchipper10 - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:31 AM

        Because he says they shouldn’t even be on the ballot. It is for the voters to decide whether they get in or not, but they should be on the ballot.

  21. nukeladouche - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Just my 2 cents on some of the names thrown around here in the last couple days:

    Bagwell – yes; Garvey – no.
    Larkin – yes; Trammell – no.
    McGriff – yes; Edgar Martinez & Larry Walker – no (all of these are close calls, however).
    McGwire & Sosa – no; Bonds & Palmeiro – yes.
    Dale Murphy – no.

    • nukeladouche - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      Oh and Tim Raines: yes (but it’s a close call).
      Jack Morris: no.
      Lee Smith: no.

  22. jonrox - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Well, I think he’s come around. I basically said if he voted for Garvey (or McGriff) he should have voted for Bagwell, who was superior to each. His response:

    “I think you’re right. That’s why I’ve been glad to take part in this discussion. I may make an adjustment next year. This year, it’s too late.”

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