Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, and Ivan Rodriguez are the three Baseball Hall of Fame inductees for 2017.
After many years of having to wait, outfielder Tim Raines will finally be able to call himself a Hall of Famer. Raines, along with Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell and Texas Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez, got the necessary votes to get into Cooperstown. Falling just short were Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman.
Raines was in his final year of eligibility. Thanks to a lot of work and outreach, voters slowly began to realize the injustice of one of baseball’s greatest leadoff hitters not being enshrined in Cooperstown. After several years of his voting percentage improving, he got in. Raines spent time with the Montreal Expos, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles and Florida Marlins. A notorious base stealer, he’s fourth on the all-time stolen bases list with 808. His stolen base success rate of 84.7 was the MLB record when he retired.
Bagwell will be joining his former teammate Craig Biggio, as two of the “Killer Bs” will be enshrined in Cooperstown. He is well known for his power hitting with 449 career homers. Bagwell’s career OPS of .948 is among the best of all time. Though he had the stain of suspected PED use on him, it’s worth noting he never tested positive. One of the most underrated hitters of the 1990s, his induction is well deserved.
Despite his own PED allegations, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez got voted in the first time he was on the ballot. Widely regarded as an excellent defensive catcher, Rodriguez won 13 Gold Gloves behind the plate, which is the MLB record. He was more than just a great fielder and thrower. Rodriguez could also do a lot of damage at the plate, retiring with a career OPS+ of 106. That’s quite impressive for a catcher. Rodriguez won the 1999 AL MVP award after batting .332 with 35 home runs.