With the Baseball Hall of Fame vote coming up I’d like to touch on Jeff Bagwell’s chances of enshrinement. Last year he took in just over 40% of the vote and this year he will likely garner more support, much like Barry Larkin has over the past few years. The idea that writers didn’t vote for him because he might have taken steroids is crazy.
Here is my issues, he won the MVP (1994) and the Rookie of the Year (1991) awards before steroids became commonplace. I’m going just from what I read in Canseco’s two books, which said that rampant use of steroids started in 1997. Although he may have used and from what I have gathered in my readings there aren’t many players who didn’t use (including some of the players currently in the Hall of Fame), I still think his career speaks for itself. He was a major component in some of the Astros teams that actually used to be a factor in the MLB playoffs.
Although he fails the two critical entrance requirements, under 500 home runs and under 3000 hits, he does have the ROY and MVP awards and a 2.89 MVP share number, which puts him just lower than Al Kaline and just higher than Ernie Banks. When it’s all said and done 6 of the 10 most similar batters will be in the Hall of Fame including the likes of Chipper Jones, Vlad Guerrero, Todd Helton, Willie Stargell, and Orlando Cepeda.
Personally, I don’t think he should get in, but at least I can make arguments both ways. Although he shouldered some bad Astros teams for years his stats just aren’t HOF material. He’s real close though and in the end he may sway enough voters to his side, but I think he just falls short of entry. For me it’s all about notoriety, stats, awards, and finally All Star appearances. Noteriety (pass), stats (fail), awards (barely passes), and All Star appearances (fail with only 4). He passes on the awards because of one Gold Glove and three Silver Sluggers, but only 4 AS appearances in 15 years? Not HOF material in my book.
It’s called the Hall of Fame for a reason, you get in because you were the best at what you did on the field over the course of his career and in my mind he wasn’t the best. A word to the baseball writers of the world, if you aren’t going to vote him in, don’t blame it on steroid use, don’t vote him in because his body of work doesn’t call for it.
What is your take on his worthiness for the Hall of Fame?