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Paper or Plastic, Doesn’t Matter How You Bag It

So much for it “being in the bag,” I guess.  As some of my readers may know (although most of you may not), I am a lifelong Houston Astros fan.  The first piece of sports memorabilia I ever had as a young child was a Colt .45’s jersey.  Having been born and raised in Houston for 10 years also helps.  I grew up watching baseball in the 8th wonder of the modern world and learned quickly to despise the Cardinals.  More times than I can count I was fortunate enough to watch The Wizard himself perform on the Astroturf stage.

So what is the point of this rambling?  As an avid Astros fan, I feel that Jeff Bagwell should have been elected into the Hall of Fame.  As a matter of fact, I find it downright offensive to see that he only received 242, or 41.7% of the votes needed.  How could the writers not give one of the original Killer B’s his comeuppance?  I understand that some arguments will be made based on him playing in Houston, for a team that never seemed to find a way past the Braves.  But let’s just take a look at the stats and see what they have to say.

As a rookie, in 1991, Bag Pipes ran away with the Rookie of the Year award after he hit .294 with 15 home runs and 82 RBI- not a bad start.  He never seemed to decline either.  In fact, Bags had nine seasons with at least 30 bombs, eight seasons with 100+ RBI, and nine seasons with over 100 runs scored.

Maybe you would rather hear about some speed.  How about being the first ever full-time first baseman to have a season with 30 SB’s and 30 Hr’s.  How about him having 202 SB’s in his career?  Still not enough?  Here’s one more; Jeff Bagwell is the only first baseman in the 400 HR/200 SB club.

How about the guy’s consistency?  He has at least 10 seasons where he played in 155 games or more, and in four of those seasons he played in all 162.

Oh yeah, he also broke his hand in three different seasons.

Bag Pipes has a career OBP of .408 and a SLG% of .540, giving him a career OPS of .948.   He only had two years where he had a WAR of less than 3.5 (and those were at the ages of 35 and 37).

As any analyst will tell you, you can find numbers to tell any story you want to on a player.  Jeff Bagwell was a Rookie of the Year, an MVP, a four-time all-star, a Gold Glove winner, a four-time Silver Slugger award winner, and he holds countless records within the Astros organization.  The numbers I can’t find are the ones that say Jeff Bagwell should not be in the Hall of Fame.  Bill James even wrote that Bagwell was the fourth best first baseman of all time.  Bags deserves to be in Cooperstown along with the likes of Cepeda, Foxx, and Gherig.  His portfolio of success speaks for itself.  Or at least I thought it did.

3 Comments

  1. Surfslap says:

    I don’t know, maybe roids had a little to do with it. The funny thing I think is that MLB ignored it and thought that it was only an issue in the mid to late 90’s to early 2000’s. At least they try to convince all of us that know better that that’s when it all went down. Funny thing about that, I remember people discovering steroids while I was in high school from ’86 – ’90 so I can assure you this isssue was a factor from at least ’86 probably earlier to most likely the present. I say put all the steroid guys in, they would have made it anyway only with diminished stats and most likely a longer lifespan but that’s what they gave up for money. They were still great ballplayers, Bags included because I loved his game.

    What’s funny is thinking that NFL players…most obviously white guys….are not even questioned on the steroid use that is obvious. I love baseball and football, played both myself and if I’d made the decision to do “anything” to make it even to college I’d have juiced up in a heartbeat. Fortunately, I didn”t and I’m glad I didn’t. Unfortunately, that’s what it takes these days and took those days. I hope your disdain at Jeff not making the hall of fame is not rooted in the fact that his ability is questioned because just watching him as you did is proof that he should be a HOF’er but since his peak was during the “steroid era” he won’t get in for awhile, if ever. I hate it for you brother but that’s just how it’s been spun. I can guarentee you that the guys through all the ages of baseball did everything for an edge whether it be drugs, medical advances, supplements, offseason training, whatever you can think up so don’t feel bad that he didn’t get in…just know that he was just trying to keep up with the Jones’s and that money was the driving factor…it is %99 of the time. It’s a shame but it’s true. This is from a lifelong Rangers fan who has to deal with the epicenter of steroids being the Rangers for the “steroid era” as baseball puts it. Lets all hope it’s cleaner now but it will never be completely clean, that’s just a fact.

  2. Griffin says:

    The problem with your theory of Bags supposed use of steroids because that is the era he is from is flawed. His name has never once even come up linked to steroids. The closest he has come is that he admitted to understanding why others did juice, because it wasn’t banned by mlb yet. How many sports writers and fans have you heard that from? With your line of logic, should I assume that because of the time period that Nolan Ryan played in Arlington, as well as how old he was, he must have been on the juice to perform at such a high level? Of course not. There are too many people now wanting to declare players guilty without them ever even failing a single test. So quit trying to assume…it makes an ass out of u and me.

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