My Hall of Fame Ballot for 2013

Barry Bonds, Craig Biggio, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell.

This ballot, as controversial as it is, wasn’t very tough for me. I’ve always voted for the best players from their particular era and this year is no different. Using all 10 slots, I voted for the all-time home run leader, a pitcher with 354 wins, the Astro with 3,060 hits, the catcher with the most homers ever at that position, the outfielder who produced three 60-homer, plus seasons, the first baseman with 583 homers, the man who hit 569 homers and amassed 3,020 hits, the pitcher with the most wins in the American League during the 1980s, the reliever with 478 saves and one of the best AL shortstops for 20 years.

It contained some tough choices because I didn’t have the room this year to vote for several guys I have in the past: Tim Raines, Fred McGriff and Edgar Martinez, who were also terrific players in their own right. I haven’t voted for Jeff Bagwell, but there’s little question he deserves a hard look.

Many good players, I fear, will now be neglected as more and more greats of the just past era will have exhausted their five-year waiting period to join the holdovers on the ballot.

Next year it will be even tougher with Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas eligible for very serious if not obvious consideration. In my mind, they are all Hall of Famers. After that, John Smoltz, Trevor Hoffman, Ken Griffey Jr. and Randy Johnson are among others to join the group. They all should be elected on the first ballot.

A player only has to garner five percent of the vote each year to remain on the ballot for a maximum of 15 years. This is going to create a logjam on the ballot in the coming years as my colleagues in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America individually determine who meets the Hall of Fame criteria and who doesn’t.

In my mind there is no question. My 10 choices this year meet the criteria and should be in the Hall of Fame.

27 Comments

Wow, is there anybody you didn’t include on your HOF list? As far as the reference to Bonds putting up/receiving X amount of his numbers and awards prior to the start of the steriod era, what part of the fact that he ultimately cheated is so difficult for you to grasp? None of these McGwire, Sosa, etc guys should ever go to the HOF. If they do we are telling our children, and society in general, that it is perfectly acceptable behavior. Look son, he cheated, and he is in the HOF!

Barry,

I’m curious about your Bagwell reversal (http://barrybloom.mlblogs.com/2011/12/28/my-hall-of-fame-ballot-for-2012/#comment-239)? Did his performance decline over the past 12 months?

More curious why you deem Frank Thomas a Hall of Famer in 2014 but not Jeff Bagwell? Base running and defense are still a part of the game, correct? Because, by any measure, Bagwell was an exceptional defensive first baseman and, arguably, the greatest running first baseman in baseball history. Actually – that’s not arguable: he is THE greatest running first baseman in baseball history. Did you know Bagwell is the *only* first baseman to record 30 home runs and 30 steals in a single season (which he did twice! 1997 and 1999) and the only first baseman with 400 home runs and 200 steals in a career? And he’s one of only six players to total 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, and 100 runs in six consecutive seasons and one of only five players with 300 home runs, 1,000 RBIs and 1,000 runs in their first 10 years. His stolen base success rate of 72% is not too far behind Lou Brock’s (75%), one of the most revered base stealers of all-time.

He scored 23 more runs than Thomas despite logging 644 FEWER plate appearances and stole 170 more bases. Defensively, Bagwell won a Gold Glove and played 1,279 more games at first base than Thomas – despite Thomas playing in 172 more games overall.

Offensively, the two were incredibly even
Thomas: .301/.419/.555; OPS+ 156; WAR 69.7; 521 HRs; 1,704 RsBI; 1,494 Rs; 10,075 PAs
Bagwell: .297/.408/.540; OPS+ 149; WAR 76.7; 449 HRs; 1,529 RsBI; 1,517 Rs; 9,431 PAs

Ultimately, aren’t the very nearly negligible gap in their numbers (including Thomas’ 644 more plate appearances) trumped by Bagwell’s superior defense and baserunning? I mean, Bagwell was keeping pace while playing the field for nine innings.

Thomas had nine top 8 finishes in MVP voting; Bagwell six (Thomas won 2; Bagwell 1). But Bagwell has the Gold Glove and a Rookie of the Year award. And Bagwell started 33 postseason games to Thomas’ 16 – he was the best player on a consistently better team.

I think Frank Thomas is a phenomenal hitter and have no issue with him being elected into the Hall of Fame. But the continuing underrating of Jeff Bagwell is starting to tip-toe into the “criminal” area. Pre-Pujols, he was the greatest National League first baseman of all-time; a five-tool force who absolutely, positively, without any question, deserves election to Cooperstown. (Even more so than his longtime teammate, Craig Biggio, in my opinion – though I’d argue Biggio is certainly worthy.)

No reversal. I’ve yet to vote for Bagwell. Doesn’t look good as ballot gets more crowded in the immediate future.

So… When you posted (in the link I provided), “For 2013 I have made the decision to vote for Bagwell” and then didn’t, in fact, vote for Bagwell in 2013… That wasn’t a reversal?

Also, no feedback on Thomas v. Bagwell? You’re content to vote for an obviously inferior player with no intention of engaging or discussing that choice? Why do you think voters are so consistently willing to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to Bagwell’s candidacy?

I get that too many of your bretheren are engaged in a flaccid witch hunt – but you’ve nobly stated (and demonstrated in your voting record) that you’re above such shennanigans. So what are your Bagwell objections? He has the numbers, the hardware, the wins… What is he lacking?

Thanks for your response.

You’re right. After the 2012 election I wrote that I’d vote for Bagwell in 2013 after not having done so before. Then I found this year I had no room for him on the ballot. With only two free spots after Bonds, Biggio, Clemens, Sosa, Piazza, Morris, Palmeiro and McGwire, I chose to vote for Smith and Trammell. That means I had to leave Raines, McGriff, Bagwell and Edgar Martinez off.

It’s only going to get worse next year. I may have one spot left and because it’s his last year on the MLB ballot it will certainly go to Morris. Palmeiro and McGwire are toast. I see no reason why I should waste a vote for guys whose percentages are now so low. I don’t use my ballot to make a statement. I try to vote for the best guys. Smith and Trammell will also bite the dust.

You make a compelling case comparing Bagwell to Thomas. And for me, Thomas is on the bubble just like Bagwell. I have a year to figure that out. Kent as the second baseman with the most homers in history, appears to be a no brainier.

So I’m looking at Bonds, Biggio, Clemens, Sosa, Piazza, Morris, Glavine, Maddux and Kent right now. The last spot comes down to Bagwell or Thomas and the fact that the latter was such an incredible ambassador for the game might put him over the edge. In contrast, I’m worried about Bagwell — his post-career health and personal problems. Like Caminiti he may not be
with us long if he doesn’t turn it around.

Bagwell, no doubt, was a great player and great guy. He has 15 years on the ballot and ultimately at some point I’m sure I will vote for him.

Thanks for the dialogue, Barry.

I think we can generally agree that the eight best first basemen in baseball history (HoF eligible) are some combination of:

Lou Gehrig – 179; 108.5
Jimmie Foxx – 163; 92.5
Hank Greenberg – 158; 55.1
Johnny Mize – 158; 67.8
Harmon Killebrew – 143; 55.8
George Sisler – 125; 51.1
Eddie Murray – 129; 63.4
Willie McCovey – 147; 60.7

Beside each player, I’ve posted their career OPS+ and WAR. I’m not suggesting those two numbers are absolute – they’re just easy short-hands to make my larger point. (Plus, even if you broadly reject sabermetrics, I think we can at least agree that those numbers accurately represent that those eight players were great.)

Jeff Bagwell? 149; 76.6. Comparing him to the eight best first basemen of all-time, he ranks fifth in OPS+ and third in WAR. Again: of all-time, he’s 5th and 3rd.

Of the eight, two spent the majority of their careers in the NL – Mize and McCovey (who paced Mize and Bagwell, BTW, with 9,692 plate appearances – this will be relevant shortly).

Career batting average, OPS, OPS+, WAR:
Mize: .312; .959; 158; 67.8
McCovey: .270; .889; 147; 60.7
Bagwell: .297; .948; 149, 76.6

Counting statistics are skewered, of course – as mentioned, McCovey had more than 200 additional plate appearances than Bagwell and 2,000+ more than Mize. If we even the playing field by projecting final numbers based on McCovey’s plate appearances, the final counting statistics look like this (actual career totals appear in parenthesis):

Mize: 472 HR (359); 1,758 RBIs (1,337); 1,470 Rs (1,118)
McCovey: 521 HR; 1,555 RBIs; 1,229 Rs
Bagwell: 461 HR (449); 1,571 RBIs (1,529); 1,559 Rs (1,517)

Now, obviously, this is messy; we’re assuming a career-long pace for aging players, which is wholly unrealistic. But, again: the idea is to paint a broader picture. As is, with no mathematical fudging, Bagwell leads McCovey in average, OPS, OPS+, WAR, runs and trails in RBIs by a mere 26 (in 261 fewer plate appearances). When you factor in his superior defense and baserunning, I think we can safely conclude that Jeff Bagwell was a better player than Willie McCovey.

Mize has the edge in average, OPS, OPS+, and had a greater RBI pace. His home run pace was roughly 10 better than Bagwell’s, who leads in WAR and runs. I can’t speak to Mize’s defense – but Bagwell totaled nearly 200 more stolen bases. If you want to argue Mize was better… you’d have a strong case though it’s far from a slam dunk.

All that to say, at the very least, Jeff Bagwell (pre-Albert Pujols) is the second greatest National League first baseman of all-time and has a legitimate case to be considered the best. And when you add the best of the American League, the guy stacks up favorably, as well.

So, again – any idea why Jeff Bagwell is so incredibly underrated? As I argued initially, I think he has a much stronger Hall of Fame case than Craig Biggio (who I think belongs), and among those on your 2013 ballot, is more qualified than McGwire, Morris, Trammell, and Smith (and arguably Palmiero, too.)

I can’t tell you why other voters have undervalued Bagwell, but from my viewpoint I place a lot of weight on winning and contribution to that effort on a World Series-winning team. In that area Bagwell and the Astros fell short every time.

Garvey was one of my favorites and I took a lot of guff from readers last year when I said I didn’t vote for Bagwell because Garvey wasn’t in the Hall of Fame. I know Bags beats Garv in most of the metrics and raw numbers, but he doesn’t in this: NL MVP on the pennant-winning 1974 Dodgers, NLCS MVP on both the 1977 Dodgers and 1984 Padres, two more teams that lost in the World Series to epic clubs of that era. Garvey was actually the difference in the ’84 series. He also holds the record for consecutive NL games played and the overall record for consecutive errorless games at first base. My voting colleagues declined to vote Garvey into the Hall. I consider him to be seriously undervalued as are guys like Gil Hodges and Ted Simmons, who didn’t get a sniff.

I was there and covered much of the careers of Garvey and Bagwell and know what they meant to their teams on a daily basis. Garvey came up big in big games. Those are the intangibles that can’t be measured by numbers.

I’ve gone 180 on metrics as far as using them as a tool to prognosticate how a guy might play in the future. It is so hard to predict the future that I’m good with utilizing anything, but only as part of the tool box. As far as WAR is concerned, I think it ‘s an interesting stat to compare players in the same season, but not from different eras. There are too many variables from many years ago like day baseball, less relief pitching, train travel, wool uniforms, ash bats, etc. Even in the same season it doesn’t take into account different weather, ballpark, opponents. The variables in performance are almost limitless.

As per Bagwell among the BBWAA writers, there’s a group who paints him with the same brush as Biggio and Caminiti. They were all close buddies on the Astros and they all took PEDS. I know enough from people close to that situation to believe it’s true. Caminiti was the only one with the guts to admit it. His drug use ultimately killed him.

As I’ve written and voted I try not to hold this against anybody. Biggio is in because he had 3,060 hits. Palmeiro has it over Bagwell because he’s one of only four guys in history to amass 500 homers and 3,000 hits. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray are the others. If you question how Palmeiro got his hits then you have to question the way Bagwell posted his numbers. It goes on and on.

Yeah, Barry… I was among those engaged in the Garvey discussion and, frankly, I’m disappointed he’s being brought up again. Bagwell doesn’t beat Garvey in “most of the metrics and raw numbers,” he beats Garvey in *every* metric and raw number, every single one – except games played. Meaning Bagwell’s decided advantage in both average stats as well as counting stats occurred in 182 *fewer* games. The difference in Bagwell and Garvey’s individual accomplishments is night and day. One is among the greatest baseball players of all-time; the other is a very good player that you severely overrate.

(I mean… seriously… Garvey’s OPS currently ranks 619th all-time. His WAR ranks 554th, tied with Jose Rijo. Yes: Jose Rijo. The pitcher. You can cite weather and wool uniforms all you want; I’ll even hand you… a ranking increase of… 200 to account for the unaccountable – and Steve Garvey still doesn’t sniff Jeff Bagwell. Heck, I’ll give you 400, and they’re not in the same zip code. Bagwell ranks 22nd and 59th in those two categories.)

As for winning… if a player’s team – *team* – winning the World Series is so integral to their Hall of Fame campaign – why are you voting for Craig Biggio? Sammy Sosa? Mike Piazza? Rafael Palmeiro? Lee Smith? Why did you previously vote for Tim Raines? Edgar Martinez? Did you vote for Ryne Sandberg? Andre Dawson? Jim Rice? And you’re on record supporting the future candidacies of Frank Thomas, Trevor Hoffman and Ken Griffey, Jr.? Collectively, those players have won as many World Series rings as Jeff Bagwell.

I don’t understand your support of Steve Garvey at all (nor, frankly would most, as the BBWA, at least, confirms). But more troubling, it’s very obvious you’re holding his general lack of support against Bagwell, who is being held to a very narrow and unique standard you’ve let Steve Garvey set by virtue of what are really 55 random games out of a nearly 2,400-game career.

Yeah, Barry – you’re elevating Steve Garvey over (or putting him on par with) an obviously superior Jeff Bagwell on the basis of 55 games. It’s crushingly disappointing that anyone would draw that conclusion, much less break it out a year after a large segment of your readers (rightly) skewered you for it. And that seemingly no other eligible players are being held to the same finite standard – INCLUDING JEFF BAGWELL’S OWN TEAMMATE, for heaven’s sake – points to a bias I would ask you to give serious consideration to revisiting.

Further, in their 50-year history, the Astros have 15 winning seasons without Jeff Bagwell on their roster. With Bagwell, they posted 13. And no, he did not walk onto a great team and ride its coattails. The team won 65 games his rookie season. They would not dip below .500 for another 9 years and then never again while Bagwell was active. That’s 13 winning seasons during his 15-year career against the Bagwell-less Astros 15 winning seasons out of 35.

They’ve been to the postseason twice without Jeff Bagwell, seven times with him. They won their first (second and third) postseason series with him at first base and made their first and only World Series appearance during his career. Between 1997 and 2005, the Astros were the third winningest franchise in baseball. Since his retirement, the Astros are 502-631 with zero postseason appearances.

I can’t tell you how much it hurts my soul to read that, in 2012, someone thinks a sample size of 33 postseason games can somehow invalidate 2,150 regular season ones.

Jeff Bagwell is (among Hall of Fame eligible players) one of the 10-12 best first basemen of all-time, and you could make a legitimate case that he’s the best National League first baseman of all-time (pre-Pujols).

He has the hardware, he was the wins, and he has the career numbers. A Hall of Fame without Jeff Bagwell should be eviscerated and sent to the most hellish area of Hell.

I would sincerely ask that you revisit the career of Jeff Bagwell. And that you never mention Steve Garvey’s name again.

I have a real problem with your latest response. First of all, you know who I am and I have no idea who you are and what you do. It’s easy to hide beyond the anonymity of a screen name.

Secondly, I’m not asking you to agree with me. It’s you that asked for a discourse on the issue. And now your dismissing my opinion and telling me never to mention Steve Garvey again.

I am a professional and have been more than cordial to you. Plus, I told you that I would eventually vote for Bagwell. Hall of Fame voting is a constant evolution and re-evaluation. That’s why a player can remain on the ballot for 15 years.

I would suggest that you adjust your discourse and don’t become so dismissive and strident if some one doesn’t agree with your opinion.

Barry, with all due respect: you know as much about me (my real name and email have been included with each and every post of mine) as I do you. I couldn’t pick you out of a line-up with a gun to my head (though I’d assume you were the guy in the Steve Garvey jersey) – I know you’re name, and I’m guessing your email is probably posted somewhere around here. Other than that? We’re on pretty much even ground. More so, I can assure you: if we DID meet, and you tried to argue Steve Garvey was as good as Jeff Bagwell, or that a dozen+ similarly ringless players shouldn’t be held to the same random standard you’re holding Bagwell to because of Steve Garvey… there isn’t a thing I’ve posted, this year or last (and this will include any future post), that I wouldn’t say face-to-face.

Yes, we’re having a discourse. Please join me. If Jeff Bagwell isn’t currently getting your vote because you don’t think he measures up to a very narrow standard set by an inarguably inferior player, I would like you to defend that. I’m pleased you’ll eventually vote for Bagwell – about as pleased as I was last year when you said you would vote for him in 2013.

Tone, anonymity… it’s all, frankly, a deflection from you addressing a glaring injustice that I would argue you’re running out of solid ground on which to defend. You’re voting for statistically inferior players; voting for players with the same number of rings; campaigning for long-forgotten inferior players that you incredibly overrate…

By any and every measure, Jeff Bagwell rates among the greatest first basemen of all-time. Besides World Series rings (which, again, seems to be the only standard he’s being held to as I’ll again point out that you’re not holding it against his teammate, among many, many others), and considering the mounds of historical evidence I’ve posted here (under my real name and using my real email), why are you not voting for him?

Ric, in all due respect. You know my full name. My picture is on the blog site and it runs on all my MLB.com columns. My job description is on the bottom of each and every one of them, which is why we’re even corresponding. You could pick me out of a lineup. LOL

You could be a scout, a general manager, a fan, or a number of things. What do you do? Have you ever been in a MLB clubhouse and interviewed a player?

I respect your ability to argue your position. You’re very good at it.

What does my résumé and your press pass have to do with Jeff Bagwell’s Hall of Fame credentials?

Thousands of really smart people have spent millions of hours compiling advanced statistical data that have not only revolutionized the depth of historical context now currently available to us, but also rendered the rather quaint notion that logging cliches in a locker room on a nightly basis makes you more qualified to determine who played the game of baseball exceptionally well all but obsolete.

Who I am, what I do… it’s irrelevant. If you want to discuss Jeff Bagwell, let’s do it. I’ve provided an opinion, backed it with a mound of numbers, countered yours (with more numbers) and asked that reevaluate Jeff Bagwell. Not only have you severely underrated him, you’ve set an obviously biased standard for him that you’re simply not applying to other candidates, including Bagwell’s own teammate. And along the way, you keep hitting the Stephen Patrick Garvey well, revealing your bias and, frankly, undermining your credentials.

Why is one of the greatest first basemen in baseball history not getting your vote? And why are obviously inferior players ranking ahead of him on your ballot? These are simple, fun questions to debate. If you’d rather try and “out” me and serve up the “mom’s basement” comment I would wager one trillion dollars you have on deck, taking practice swings – then I bid you farewell and will be back next year.

I thought so. You won’t disclose. The conversation is over.

I would like to know how you feel Frank Thomas, with his (for lack of a better word) lackluster 16 game playoff performance, compares to Garvey.

Are you running a credit check? Do I need to pee in a cup? A quick check of other posts and I don’t see anyone else having to submit to a background check in order to engage you. And I’m still at a loss what this has to do with Jeff Bagwell and your Hall of Fame vote? I’ve spent the rough equivalent of a day pulling stats in hopes you’ll engage in a healthy, hopefully literate discussing about Jeff Bagwell, and all you’re interested in is my profile. Are you maybe confusing this blog with your match.com page?

I don’t know how many readers you have, Barry – but to so blatantly duck a discussion about the sport you cover – and in such a transparently obvious take-your-ball-and-go-home sort of way – probably isn’t doing your reputation a world of good. Oh, well – just know that I’m ready and willing, 24/7, to discuss Bagwell’s merits with you.

(And if you really need some disclosure, my email has been attached to every one of my posts. I’ll happily answer any questions you want and, if it makes you feel better, you can share as much of that information as you see fit with your throng of readers who are no doubt salivating at the thought of finally – FINALLY! – being told what I do for a living. Why that would satiate you, I have no idea, since you’d have absolutely no way of verifying a single word I type… Or have you been sleeping through the Man’tei Teo story? I mean…)

This is a general shout out to the readership. I have said this on Twitter, Facebook and in response to comments below my stories and columns: The discourse has to be reasonable, avoid profanity, name calling and the childish behavior that seems to develop when I or anyone else don’t agree with an opinion.

When it degenerates it no longer is fun or beneficial to anyone. I expect the same level of cordiality I give all of you, not the type of guff that anyone can dish out when they hide behind an anonymous screen name.

Thank you for reading and the continuous passion you all have for subjects I write about whether or not you agree with me.

Poor Barry. You got owned in the discussion and now you’re taking your ball and going home. Well done, Ric. You calmly showed overwhelming evidence and all Barry had was to invoke the “internet thug” defense.

Didn’t know it was a competition, but congrats on the perceived victory. :)

You guys are coming from a whole different place on this about a lot of things than me, primarily on transparency, which is the foundation of my business.

Barry, some of us (me included) are not paid to study, read or write about baseball for a living. And those that do pay us to do something other than study, read or write about baseball tend to frown upon us taking time out of our work day to study, read or write about baseball.

I post in many forums and, truth be told – I use an alias far more often than not. (And I’m starting to kick myself for not doing it here.) Not because it provides me a certain level of anonymous freedom, but because it offers me plausible deniability with my employer, who’s computer I’m (sometimes) using to, for instance, rail about the injustice of Jeff Bagwell not yet making the Hall of Fame.

So my offer still stands: if you’d like me to offer details about myself, shoot me an email and I’ll tell you everything you need to know, privately and, I would assume, safely (from a professional perspective).

Beyond that, I still can’t fathom how transparency is stalling this discussion other than providing you an out. I haven’t been unreasonable; I’ve avoided profanity; I haven’t called you a name nor have I acted like a child. The irony is that I’m not sure you can make the same claims. Your refusal to address direct questions could certainly be viewed as unreasonable while your decision to hide behind some strange disclosure component most assuredly has a child-like take-your-ball-and-go-home aspect.

Again, for what I believe is the fourth time, I would love to engage you in the greatness of Jeff Bagwell. If that suddenly requires formal vetting, well – that would be disappointing.

Sorry, Ric. I got you on the identity issue. No big deal. Don’t see any reason to continue the Bagwell discussion for two reasons:

You’re using a strictly statistical based argument which holds a lot of merit and I am not.

Plus, I really don’t want to waste anymore energy or brain cells on why or why not Bagwell deserves to be in the Hall. Obviously it means a lot to you and not as much to me. To me, he’s just one candidate and my vote is not going to tip his election either way. I’m more concerned with Bonds.

But as I said, I hear you about all this and you’ve helped me in a constant process of education. I’m sure Bags will get my vote at some point. After all, Thomas wasn’t stellar in the postseason, either, even though his White Sox swept the Astros in the 2005 World Series when Bagwell couldn’t even move his shoulder.

Thanks. Will email you.

I don’t understand. His arguments about Bagwell are bunk because he won’t disclose his identity? Do you have a real retort to his arguments other than, Bagwell wasn’t on a team that won in the playoffs? That sort of logic leaves Ernie Banks and Ted Williams coming up short. Do I need to submit my mother’s maiden name before leaving an opinion here?

Frank Thomas had as much to do with Chicago’s 2005 championship as Steve Garvey. He played 34 games that season and watched the postseason from a likely very comfortable couch. And FYI: you would first have to waste SOME brain cells before claiming you’re not going to waste ANY MORE brain cells discussing Jeff Bagwell. You’ve been too busy bizarrely insisting I turn to the left and cough.

Anyway, congrats on proclaiming an Internet victory. You got me alright. I’m still trying to pick up the pieces and figure out how I’m going to move on from this. Now I wish I’d used an alias: to hide my shame…

No, no , no. Wasn’t trying to proclaim any sort of ephemeral Internet victory. When I said “I got you,” I meant because of your explanation now I understand the reluctance to reveal your identity.

Let’s just call it a draw, my friend.

No, there are obviously some guys, like Bonds, whose regular season numbers and records are so overwhelming that their postseason records don’t matter.

To your point, especially in the pre-expansion era, the fact that Banks never played in a World Series and Williams hit .200 in the only one he played in also doesn’t matter.

They’re all certain Hall of Famers.

Conversely, a guy like Schilling wouldn’t even be in the conversation if it wasn’t for his postseason record. And when you’re looking at a guy on the bubble like Bagwell his postseason numbers and success are just another factor.

I know the argument is that Bagwell is one of the best first baseman in history if you view it by ranking the regular season numbers, but evidently so far 75 percent of the electorate don’t agree with that.

When you ask me why he’s so underrated, I have to reiterate that many of my voting colleagues lump Bagwell along with the steroid users rightly or wrongly. For me, I didn’t see him play every day, but when I did I never thought he was a high impact player. He was a very good one, but not a great one. The statistical argument proves me wrong and that ‘s why I’ll continue to evaluate him during his 15 years on the ballot and will I’m sure eventually vote for him.

BTW, I don’t need your mother ‘s maiden name, just your social security number. :)

Thanks

” And when you’re looking at a guy on the bubble like Bagwell his postseason numbers and success are just another factor…

I know the argument is that Bagwell is one of the best first baseman in history if you view it by ranking the regular season numbers…”

This, Barry? This is why you’ve drawn my ire. (Well this and, you know: Garvey, or “Garv” as you so affectionately referred to him.) Jeff Bagwell made 9,431 regular season plate appearances and the results of those plate appearances place him among the 100 greatest players to ever play baseball. So let’s start here – he is not on any bubble. If, anecdotally, you want to draw that conclusion because you haven’t yet had time to sit down and look at his overwhelming statistical resume, OK. But a gaggle of nerds have been diligently working the past 40+ years to greatly enhance and deepen the statistical well available to us so that you don’t have to rely on spotty, hazy memories. We *know* Jeff Bagwell is not on any bubble.

Meanwhile, you’re allowing what is the equivalent of 1% (129 postseason plate appearances) of his total regular season plate appearances to define him. How can you possibly defend that point of view? How?! You can’t. It makes absolutely no sense and, with all due respect, it chips away at your creditability as an observer of baseball when you so stubbornly hold to it. No player, in any sport, should have their career boiled down to such a finite standard. It’s illogical.

Further, the ring-or-bust mentality (which would ensnare *a lot* of really good players in every sport – including at least 10 baseball players just in the past two years that you’ve either voted or have stated your intention to vote for) is really unfair to an individual player and, invalidates the fact that the Astros were a *very* good baseball team during Bagwell’s era. The franchise’s success before and after his career are, not coincidentally, much worse. He absolutely, positively impacted winning when you expand your scope beyond a handful of October games.

This isn’t hard, Barry. It really, truly isn’t. You’ve been handed an overwhelming case for Jeff Bagwell. And I’m sorry but “I’ll continue to evaluate him during his 15 years on the ballot and will I’m sure eventually vote for him.” simply isn’t good enough. You’ve been tasked with preserving and promoting the game of baseball, in large part because your experience (supposedly) makes you more qualified to tell a better, more accurate account of its history. To blithely ignore Jeff Bagwell as a player you’ll maybe, probably address at some point, possibly… risks telling an incomplete history of America’s pastime.

And so I put it to you, Barry – isn’t that an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to me, but I’m not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!…

Good job on the Animal House reference to end your latest screed.

Very impressed.

And my goodness, I’m shuttering in my boots that I have incurred your ire. You must come over and incur some of mine sometime.

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