On Thursday the results were announced of the Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2017 and Jeff Bagwell made the cut easily, while Fred McGriff, once again was almost forgotten about.
Now, I’m not upset that Jeff Bagwell was elected. I’m not extremely happy about it, but I’m not upset. He was a great ballplayer. I do think there’s a cloud of PED suspicion surrounding him, therefore he would not have received my vote.
But what burns my mitt is how Jeff Bagwell gets so much love as a power hitting first baseman, while Atlanta Braves‘ favorite son Fred McGriff, who played in the same era, at the same position, has never peaked above 23.9 percent in HOF voting. Its an absolute joke.
First of all, Fred McGriff was clean. The guy had a candy bar problem and was often teased by his teammates for never going to the gym and lifting weights. And his body stayed the same his entire career, unlike many of his colleagues.
“So Josh, are you saying that just because Bagwell had big muscles that he’s guilty?”
No. I’m saying that when you hit 4 home runs in double-A and then four years later you’re hitting 39 bombs in Houston just around the very same time your body transforms, and then a few years later you admit to using, I employ some basic common sense skills and come to a conclusion.
But if you’re a writer who didn’t vote for Barry Bonds or Bagwell because of steroids, then you must vote for McGriff because he didn’t use steroids. And if you’re one of those guys who just doesn’t vote for anyone who played during the “Steroid Era”, like Ken Gurnick, who refused to vote for Greg Maddux, then you’re just plain stupid.
Another glaring reason McGriff gets no love is the fact that he played for six teams. And he didn’t just play for six teams; you could argue that he played for a few really lousy ones. The kind of teams that weren’t all over SportsCenter during that time. Couple this with the fact that McGriff wasn’t a loud/obnoxious “star” personality and he was easily over-looked.
Bagwell was good. But Jeff “power-hitting first baseman” Bagwell played for one team his entire career. Meanwhile, Fred McGriff played several more years, had more home runs, had more hits, had more RBI, and had the same number of Silver Sluggers than Jeff Bagwell.
McGriff also had a successful postseason career while Jeff Bagwell was terrible in the postseason. Bagwell slashed .226/.364/.321 in the postseason while Fred McGriff slashed .303/.385/.532 with 10 homers, plus a World Series ring.
“But Josh. Fred McGriff played in more postseason games than Jeff Bagwell, so that’s not fair.” Great point. Perhaps if the Houston Astros had Fred McGriff, they would have made a few more postseason trips.
After all, that’s why the Braves picked him up: a great hitter was needed to finish off that Championship team. A Hall of Fame hitter.