1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

Jeff Bagwell is a Hall of Famer

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by CometsWin, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

    Joined:
    May 15, 2000
    Messages:
    28,028
    Likes Received:
    13,046
    Another pro Baggy article...

    Jeff Bagwell is a Hall of Famer
    By Jerry Crasnick
    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hof11/columns/story?columnist=crasnick_jerry&id=5962248

    Jeff Bagwell's career portfolio includes many of the credentials that Hall of Fame voters consider building blocks. He has rookie of the year and most valuable player awards in his collection. He ranked among the most productive players in baseball in multiple offensive categories through 15 seasons in Houston. Astros fans adored him, his teammates revered him and opponents respected him for playing the game the right way.

    If you listen to Bagwell's fellow Astros, you might also think he possessed superpowers. We're not referring to X-ray vision, super strength or even the combination of bat speed and hand-eye coordination that allowed Bagwell to slug .750 during the strike-shortened 1994 season.

    Bagwell discusses steroids

    In a conversation with ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, Jeff Bagwell addresses PEDs, changes in his physical appearance and his Hall of Fame candidacy. Story »

    Former Astros catcher Brad Ausmus will always remember Bagwell for his clutch hitting exploits, brilliant baserunning instincts and underrated defense at first base. But Ausmus was even more impressed with Bagwell's ability to shape-shift in the middle of a slide.

    "Most guys kind of slide the same way, whether it's head-first or right foot underneath or left foot underneath," Ausmus said. "Baggy would contort his body as the play was developing to avoid the tag in a way I never saw anybody else do.

    "I remember a play at the plate one game at Minute Maid Park. I was in the on-deck circle and I couldn't even tell him to 'get up' or 'get down.' He just contorted his body around the catcher, slid past the plate and was able to reach back and touch home plate and be safe. My chin hit the dirt because I couldn't believe what I just saw. He didn't practice it. He wasn't taught it. He just had great improvisational sliding skills."

    Bagwell's baserunning bag of tricks included the ability to take off from first base before the pitcher, seemingly oblivious to his existence, had even begun his delivery to home plate. Ausmus and the other Astros joked that Bagwell possessed a "cloaking device" to turn himself invisible.

    How did Bagwell do it? In his estimation, all those years at first base helped him ferret out pitchers' blind spots. And his lack of speed contributed to his deception.

    "When you're as slow as I was, you have time to make up stuff," Bagwell said, laughing.

    Hall-worthy career

    For much of his career, Bagwell seemed like a stronger Cooperstown candidate than his teammate and fellow "Killer B" Craig Biggio. But while Biggio kept plugging away and crossed the 3,000-hit barrier at age 41, shoulder problems forced Bagwell to retire with 449 home runs -- or 51 short of the magic 500 that once assured a player entry to the Hall.

    AMONG THE BEST

    Jeff Bagwell's ranking among MLB players from 1991 through 2004:
    Rank Leader
    446 HRs 5th Barry Bonds
    1,506 runs 2nd Barry Bonds
    2,289 hits 3rd Craig Biggio
    484 doubles 2nd Craig Biggio
    1,510 RBIs 2nd Rafael Palmeiro
    1,383 walks 3rd Barry Bonds
    Source: Baseball-Reference.com

    The list of Bagwell's 10 career comparables on Baseball-Reference.com includes a mixed bag of Hall of Famers, future inductees, close calls and long shots -- from Willie Stargell, Orlando Cepeda and Jim Thome at the top end to Vladimir Guerrero, Chipper Jones and Carlos Delgado in the middle, right on down the line to Jason Giambi and Andres Galarraga. Bagwell might have been a no-doubter for Hall induction if he had stayed healthy and tacked on two or three productive seasons at the end. But the relative brevity of his career and his 2,314 hits are likely to hurt his cause.

    Still, for the voters who sift through the numbers and carefully measure his impact during 15 seasons in Houston, Bagwell merits a place in Cooperstown.

    In his book "The Stark Truth," ESPN.com's Jayson Stark ranks Bagwell as the third most underrated first baseman in history behind Hank Greenberg and Willie McCovey. Stark points out that Bagwell is the only first baseman ever to hit 400 home runs and steal 200 bases, and one of three first basemen (Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx are the others) to score 1,500 runs and drive in 1,500 without logging significant DH time.

    In August, Richard Lederer of the Baseball Analyst's Web site stacked the career numbers for Bagwell and Chipper Jones side-by-side and said the two players should be "slam-dunk, first-ballot Hall of Famers." Bagwell ranks 37th all-time among position players with a WAR (wins above replacement) rating of 80. He's ahead of Pete Rose, Paul Molitor, Reggie Jackson and several other baseball greats in WAR, which combines offense, defense, baserunning and a player's position to determine how many added wins he gives a team when compared to a baseline "replacement level" substitute.

    Factoring in all the numbers, Lederer wrote that Bagwell is arguably the fourth-best first baseman ever behind Gehrig, Foxx and Albert Pujols.

    From 1991 through 2004, Bagwell ranked among the top five in Major League Baseball in almost every major statistical category. He attained those numbers while playing half his games in the Astrodome, a park that was widely regarded as a hitter's graveyard.

    Diverse media opinions

    Now for the ticklish part: Even though Bagwell never waved his finger before Congress or appeared in one of Jose Canseco's books as a steroid user, he must contend with the same suspicions as other sluggers of his generation. Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, in discussing his Hall of Fame choices this year, wrote that Bagwell "may just be a victim of the cheaters around him." But Shaughnessy ultimately left Bagwell off his ballot.

    "Bagwell never tested positive for anything," Shaughnessy wrote. "But like a lot of players who will follow him to the ballot, he was a guy who made you wonder."

    Former Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Pearlman, who does not have a Hall vote, went considerably further in a recent blog post, when he declared himself "99 percent certain" that Bagwell used performance-enhancing drugs.

    In reality, Bagwell's only links to steroid use have been inaccurate, hazy and/or fleeting. Shortly before the release of the Mitchell report in December 2007, a New York TV station broke the news that it had obtained a list of "expected" violators. But the list turned out to be a phony, and Bagwell, Pujols, Johnny Damon, Jason Varitek and Albert Belle were among more than three dozen reported steroid "violators" whose names never appeared in the actual Mitchell report.

    "It was completely made up," said Barry Axelrod, Bagwell's long-time agent. "The Mitchell Commission never even talked to Jeff."

    Several months later, in May 2008, the New York Daily News reported that a Pasadena, Texas-based trainer named Kelly Blair had bragged to friends that he had provided performance-enhancing drugs for Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Bagwell while the players were teammates in Houston. But Blair has since offered conflicting versions to the media and a federal grand jury about his involvement in supplying PEDs to Clemens and Pettitte. And Bagwell has maintained from the outset that he has never met Blair.

    "I hear stuff about me all the time in Houston, Texas," Bagwell told ESPN.com. "If you're 5-11 with a goatee, you're Jeff Bagwell. I don't even know this person. I couldn't even tell you how to get to Pasadena, and this guy is saying he was with Roger and Andy and he knows me? Are you kidding me?"

    Bagwell has a large contingent of high-profile media advocates, including former ESPN analyst Peter Gammons and Houston Chronicle columnist Richard Justice, who first interviewed Bagwell about steroids in 2004 and said he has always found Bagwell's denials of PED use to be credible. Justice recently wrote a column explaining his decision to vote for Bagwell for the Hall of Fame.

    "I know of zero evidence he used steroids," Justice wrote. "All the aggressive reporting on steroid use has come about as a result of criminal investigations. Bagwell's name has never been mentioned in these investigations."

    In the end, it's a difficult task for Hall of Fame voters to decide on certain players even without the added baggage of steroid rumors. Bagwell's detractors point to his .226 batting average in 33 postseason games. His supporters counter with his .998 career OPS with runners in scoring position. And teammates and opponents alike seem to believe that Bagwell had the obligatory "presence" that distinguishes very good players from the truly special ones.

    "Whenever you played the Astros when they were in their heyday, the one guy you had to get through in that lineup was Baggy," said Chipper Jones. "He showed up every day, he played hard and he was a complete player. There aren't too many more compliments you can throw on a guy than that."

    Will Bagwell receive the 75 percent haul of votes necessary to make it to Cooperstown on the first ballot? That's a long shot.

    Does his overall body of work warrant a plaque in the Hall of Fame someday soon? The answer to that question is yes.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. desihooper

    desihooper Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2000
    Messages:
    5,354
    Likes Received:
    2,540
    The link embedded in that original story is a tough one for Bagwell fans to read.

    I know he said he's never taken them and was happy that he did what he did naturally, but that's not exactly the words of someone who wouldn't do something to get ahead if he's condoning others doing it. As a Bagwell fan, I wish he came down with the "my numbers look worse having competed with those cheaters" reply.
     
  3. mlwoo

    mlwoo Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Messages:
    3,797
    Likes Received:
    109
    I thought that was the best response he could have given. I loved those quotes.
     
  4. JBIIRockets

    JBIIRockets Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2001
    Messages:
    6,358
    Likes Received:
    48
    Bagwell was a good defensive first baseman as well. He was one of the best at picking the ball out of the dirt.
     
  5. Disciple of RP

    Disciple of RP Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,027
    Likes Received:
    141
    Please elaborate.

    You have no problem with steroids is pro sports?

    Wow.
     
  6. edwardc

    edwardc Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
    Messages:
    9,415
    Likes Received:
    7,483
    Good numbers but still don't think a first time ballot that he will get in.
     
  7. rockets934life

    rockets934life Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    15,312
    Likes Received:
    249
    Think the guy is a moron but he has a right to believe what he chooses...

    http://mlb.fanhouse.com/2010/12/29/jeff-bagwell-a-no-for-this-hall-voter/
     
  8. mlwoo

    mlwoo Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Messages:
    3,797
    Likes Received:
    109
    Wow.

    Taken out of the entire series of quotes, those quotes look like he trying to justify what he did. When you look at it all together, he was saying he didn't need to, but understands why someone would.

    I believe the entire series of quotes to be an honest account and opinion from someone who is innocent. Maybe I'm naive.

    While I don't agree that people should cheat, he is claiming he didn't, then giving his opinion on the subject. He is clearly frustrated with being accused, and uses his opinions about who used or could use the drugs as a retort to the fact that it is going to be very hard for anyone from 90-05 to ever get into the HOF unless they are an absolute string bean.

    My opinion on steroids doesn't matter, really. We are talking about Bagwell. If he doesn't get in, at least his goatee should.

    WOW
     
  9. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2001
    Messages:
    29,217
    Likes Received:
    5,295
    Really it just shows how easy it is for something to be taken out of context.
     
  10. Kam

    Kam Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2002
    Messages:
    30,476
    Likes Received:
    1,321
    Here is another pro Cooperstown article.


    http://joeposnanski.si.com/2010/12/30/hall-of-fame-the-eight-definites/?xid=cnnbin&hpt=Sbin

    Jeff Bagwell: OK, let me say this as clearly as I can possibly say it: Jeff Bagwell, in my opinion, is one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. His 149 OPS+ ranks 19th all-time among players with 8,000 plate appearances. He is one of only 16 players to finish a lengthy career with an on-base percentage higher than .400 (.408) and a slugging percentage higher than .500 (.540). Among those 16, only Ty Cobb and Barry Bonds stole more bases.

    He was a breathtaking offensive player, almost without weakness. He hit for average, he hit for power, he drew walks, he stole bases, he scored runs, he drove in runs, and he looked like a serious badass doing all of it. Remember how everyone talked about Jim Rice’s intimidation factor, so much so that after a while it became kind of a joke. Well, Jeff Bagwell was a scary hitter. He would plant himself into that wide stance, and he would swing the bat with ferocity, and I never knew if it was scarier to be the pitcher or the third baseman or someone seated in a low seat without a net in front. There was enough fear for everyone. The guy was like a cartoon character.

    It’s true that Bagwell played in huge offensive time. But he demolished the era. Every single year he was good for a .300 or so average, a .400 or so on-base percentage, 35 homers, 100 walks, 110 RBIs, 110 runs scored … that was just the starting point for Bagwell. A couple of times, he demolished even those numbers. His aborted 1994 season — when he hit .368/.451/.750 — is untouchable in any era. But his 1996 season, when he hit .315/.451/.570 isn’t far behind. In 1999 he walked 149 times and scored 143 runs. In 1997 he became just the sixth National Leaguer to hit 40 homers and 40 doubles in the same year*.

    *And two of those six (Larry Walker and Todd Helton) did it Colorado, another one (Chuck Klein) did it in the old Baker Bowl — two absurd hitters ballparks. Bagwell did it in the bleeping ASTRODOME, a legendarily bad hitter’s park. Nobody had ever hit 40 homers runs playing half their games in the Astrodome. And this guy added 40 doubles to the trick.

    Bagwell was a force of nature until he turned 35. By then, his shoulder was beginning to deteriorate. He had some sort of arthritic condition there … and it made his career end suddenly. At 35 he hit 39 homers, walked 88 times, and received an MVP vote. At 37, he was done.

    Bagwell, to me, looks like a first-ballot, slam-dunk, didn’t-have-to-think-twice Hall of Famer. His rare combination of power and speed (he’s the only first baseman to have a 30-homer, 30-stolen base season, and he did it twice) along with his solid defense (he won one Gold Glove, but was generally viewed year-in, year-out as a very good defender), along with his ability to get on base, along with his solid nature and spectacular peak makes him seem like the surest of sure things.

    But it doesn’t look that way. It looks like Bagwell will fall well short. And I can only come up with two somewhat related reasons:

    1. The crazy offensive Selig Era has made us jaded about spectacular offensive numbers. That’s understandable, I guess. Bagwell’s six seasons of 39-plus home runs would have seemed otherworldly 20 years ago. After all, that’s as many as Willie Mays had, more than Mickey Mantle had, as many as Reggie Jackson and Mike Schmidt COMBINED. But the Selig Era has taken the jolt out of those numbers, in part because of steroids but also in part because we simply have grown numb after seeing home run after home run after home run after home run.

    2. Jeff Bagwell — though he never tested positive for steroids, never was implicated in any public way, was not named in the Mitchell Report or by anyone on the record as a suspected user, and is not even on this rather comprehensive list of players linked to steroids or HGH — seems to have become in some voters’ minds a player who used performance-enhancing drugs.

    I can’t even begin to describe my disgust at No. 2 … it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. This is PRECISELY what I was talking about when I said how much I hate the character clause in the Hall of Fame voting. I think it encourages people to believe their own nonsense, to stand up on high and be judge and jury. It’s something that my friend Bill James calls the “I see it in his eyes” tripe. Bill has finished a book on crime — it is, he says, actually about crime books as much as crime — and one thing he kept running into in his research was people who claimed that they could pinpoint the murderer because “it was in their eyes.” Well, as Bill says, that’s a whole lot of garbage. Eyes are eyes. Some people look guilty when they’re innocent, and some people look innocent when they’re guilty, and most people don’t look innocent OR guilty except when we want to see that something in their eyes. Oh, but we love to believe we know. It’s one of the flaws of humanity. And the Hall of Fame character clause gives voters carte blanche to judge the eyes and hearts and souls of players.

    I think my e-migo Craig Calcaterra has made this point on Twitter, but I’d like to also make it as strongly as I can: I’d rather a hundred steroid users were mistakenly voted into the Hall of Fame over keeping one non-user out. I don’t know if Jeff Bagwell used or didn’t use steroids. But there was no testing. There is no convincing evidence that he used (or, as far as I know, even unconvincing evidence). So what separates him from EVERY OTHER PLAYER on the ballot? Were his numbers too good? That’s why you suspect him?

    Bagwell has written (or spoken) a story defending himself from the steroid charges. This is the takeaway: “I’m so sick and tired of all the steroids crap, it’s messed up my whole thinking on the subject. … If I ever do get to the Hall of Fame and there are 40 guys sitting behind me thinking, ‘He took steroids,’ then it’s not even worth it to me.”

    I would say this to those people who would not vote for Jeff Bagwell because they simply believe he used steroids, based on how he looked or some whispers they heard. I have a better idea: Let’s just burn him at the stake. If he survives, you will know you were right.
     
  11. msn

    msn Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    11,726
    Likes Received:
    2,093
    Dude's HoF vote should be immediately taken from him based on that statement alone.

    There *has* to be a standard beyond oneself.

    What a freaking dolt.
     
  12. msn

    msn Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    11,726
    Likes Received:
    2,093
    Best take I've seen yet on the subject (which shouldn't even *be* a "subject"). Bravo. Bravissifreakingmo.
     
  13. Disciple of RP

    Disciple of RP Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,027
    Likes Received:
    141
    Guess what, guy? I realize he's not saying that he himself took steroids. Thanks for the over-sized text for emphasis, though. Nice touch.

    I don't personally think that he did take steroids. I still think those comments are absolutely garbage. He's "OK" with other guys doing it?

    Wow.
     
  14. Disciple of RP

    Disciple of RP Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,027
    Likes Received:
    141
    No, they don't.

    Yeah, I see that. That's the part I think is ridiculous. How exactly is that the "best way" he could have answered those questions?
     
  15. IBTL

    IBTL Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    11,257
    Likes Received:
    11,434
    oh god not this crap again :confused:
     
  16. macalu

    macalu Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    16,761
    Likes Received:
    635
    i clearly remember one play that made me say to myself, "that dude is one smart player."

    a man on first, the batter was trying to bunt him over. the ball is bunted in the air straight to first base. instead of catching it on the fly for the out, he lets it drop in front of him. he gloves the ball, tags the runner at first and then tags first base for the double play.
     
  17. J.R.

    J.R. Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    106,191
    Likes Received:
    152,878
  18. leroy

    leroy Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Messages:
    26,228
    Likes Received:
    9,387
    Sadly and stupidly, he's not going to get in this year. Assuming that's the case, I selfishly wish he doesn't get in until 2013. That's when I'm planning my first trip to Cooperstown with my 2 boys to see Bagwell and Biggio go in at the same time.
     
  19. leroy

    leroy Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Messages:
    26,228
    Likes Received:
    9,387
    Barry Stanton - news editor, ESPN

    Only vote for BJ Surhoff, Don Mattingly, and Tino Martinez and voted for Edgar Martinez.

    0 votes for Alomar, Blyleven, Larkin, Bagwell or anyone else.

    Yeah...this guy clearly deserves a vote. He apparently thinks this is a joke.
     
  20. rockets934life

    rockets934life Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    15,312
    Likes Received:
    249
    That's about where I saw Jeff ending up. My biggest issues with that is not that he is behind the guys he is behind or that he is tied with Tim Raines BUT that he is tied with Edgar Martinez. Nothing against the guy, heck I was a big fan of his in Seattle, but the guy was a DH, darn good one, yet only a DH. Baggy was just a good a hitter, better baserunner and a MUCH better fielder. Slap in the face to Baggy and it's a shame.
     

Share This Page