Jeff Bagwell deserves to be in the MLB Hall of Fame

The Houston Astros should have two full-fledged members of the MLB Hall of Fame. Is Jeff Bagwell next?

Two years ago, Craig Biggio became the first lifetime Houston Astros player to reach the Hall of Fame. However, this will the seventh time that Jeff Bagwell will be on the HOF ballot. With three years left, this is the best chance for Bagwell to be elected.

Ric (@Bags4HOF) joined the boys on Talking Stros last night, to talk about his efforts to try to get Jeff Bagwell into the Hall of Fame. It started a few years ago after baseball writers started writing about why they did not vote for Bagwell. He was able to communicate with one of the writers, who then voted for Bagwell the next year.

Ric asked the writer what changed his mind. He said that what he had told him the year before changed his mind. A single Astros fan was able to inform a voter better why he should vote for Bagwell, could he do the same with others? The problem for Bagwell was that he played his entire career in Houston, so he was underappreciated in his time.

The suspicions.

Had his career been longer and his numbers would have grown, he would be a no doubt HOFer. He played in an era and with players who had suspicions of PEDs. While there was never a failed test for Bagwell, it was assumed that he was involved. Ken Caminiti, Steve Finley, and Roger Clemens were all teammates with Bagwell at some point.

In a recent article by Alex Speier, former MLB scout of 34 years Tom Mooney, who was a scout for the Houston Astros in 1989. He described Bagwell as a player who could reach the elite level of power because of his ability to launch the ball. According to the scouting report, Mooney gave Bagwell a seven out of eight scale regarding power. Most players don’t reach the seven level in the major leagues, so it was a compliment. It’s a great read to see what scouts saw of Bagwell.

However, there was never any substantial proof that Bagwell used PEDs. Last year, Bagwell fell 15 votes of joining the elite in baseball history. He finished at 71.6%, which was short of the needed 75% to be voted into the Hall of Fame. Biggio finished oh so close in 2013, but finished the next year with enough voters to be elected into the HOF. It’s sort of an unwritten principle in the HOF voting that once a player surpasses the 70% mark, he get’s in the following season.

Public versus final votes.

While there is no such thing as a sure thing in baseball, Bagwell is sitting pretty early with 62 votes in according to Ryan Thibodaux. He has gained 2 of the 15 votes he from writers who did not vote for him last season. At the time of writing, Bagwell has 90% of the vote thus far. There is some margin of error between the public vote and the actual vote. I believe that Bagwell sat at 78% in the public vote last year, but only had 71.6% of the of the final votes.

Craig Calcaterra talked about the public votes tallied by Ryan Thibodaux in an article today. Calcaterra said, “historically, the public ballots show support for candidates at higher rates than that which is ultimately reflected in the final vote tally.” As I tell my students throughout the semester, you want to build up a cushion in case you fall on the semester exam. Bagwell didn’t have the cushion last year but sitting at 90% for an extended time will help his chances.

Voters have until New Years to submit their votes. There will be some high and mighty writers out there trying to make a point by not voting for Bagwell. Hopefully, this will be the final time that Ric needs to rally for Bagwell.

Going to bat for Bagwell.

Let’s take a look at some of the Tweets that @Bags4HOF has sent out to spread the word.

There are more Tweets out there, but I would rather you give @Bags4HoF a follow or check out Bags4HOF.com. He joined us last night on Talking Stros and boy does he know his stuff when it comes to Bagwell. I may have been an Astros fan, but I became a baseball fan by watching Jeff Bagwell do what he did in Houston. 2005 was the end of an era for me, but I have been a dedicated Astros fans since 1992.

Bagwell deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. As we talked about on Talking Stros last night, Mike Piazza getting in last year opened the door for other sluggers during the PED era to get in. Like Biggio, Piazza finished close the year before getting into the Hall of Fame. When Bagwell gets in, it won’t matter how long it took him, he will be in.

***HOF public ballots courtesy of Ryan Thibodaux***

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