Well, we got confirmation this afternoon of something that has become clear over the past few weeks. Jeff Bagwell was not elected to the Hall of Fame.
I've read a lot about this year's election and been very disappointed with many of the top writers in this country. Bagwell's stance, published by Jerry Crasnick on ESPN, about steroids is very reasoned and carefully considered. He didn't use them, but he could understand why a guy fighting to make a roster might. How many of us, how many writers have made the same exact argument?
And yet, we have character assassinations like this one from Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci. Bagwell might be one of the highest character guys to ever play for the Astros. None of his teammates have had anything bad to say about him, even after all these years. That's also unique to Bagwell; there have been slight rumblings about Biggio in his twilight, about how he could be a little standoffish with younger players. If the Hall of Fame ballot asks to take character into account, Bagwell should get bonus points, not degraded because he played in the Steroids Era.
And that's why I just can't sum much vitriol of my own for Bagwell's snub. Everyone I've read and listened to, including the incomparable Peter Gammons, agrees Bagwell will likely get into the Hall eventually. It just won't be this year, nor likely next year or the next. I agree with anyone who wants to rant about it and applaud Astros County's takedown of another ESPN writer the other day. Anger is just not what I'm feeling right now. I'm just sad that a highly deserving man won't be honored this year. It's not the end of the world, but it is disappointing.
It also has implications on 2013's election too. Craig Biggio also never tested positive for PEDs and did get that milestone the Hall voters love (3,000 hits), but he plays in this era of constant suspicion. Add to that a public accusation by Chipper Jones and Biggio has a tougher "burden of proof" of his innocence than Bagwell. Of course, Jones was making a point that anyone who achieved anything in the past 15 years will be suspect, but will the writers make that distinction? Does that mean he gets snubbed? If Robbie Alomar had to wait, I can definitely see Biggio needing two years to get 75 percent.
Enough of the sad sack act, though and let's look at the rest of the ballot. The only two guys who made the cutoff for election into the Hall were pitcher Bert Blyleven and Alomar. I have no problem with either of them, as I think Blyleven has deserved it for years. Alomar, while not the hitter Biggio was, didn't have the longevity to his career, but was a wizard with his glove. That combo of Alomar and Omar Vizquel was one of the best double play combos in baseball history. Congrats to both of them. After the jump is the complete voting breakdown with some more comments on the guys who didn't get in.
Barry Larkin appears poised to get in eventually, while Bagwell's 41 percent is higher than predicted on Baseball Think Factory, but not high enough to be sure of eventual election. Glad to see Edgar Martinez with 32 percent of the vote and I'm shocked Rafael Palmeiro even got 11 percent. Not making the cut to be on the ballot next year? Kevin Brown, Harold Baines, John Franco, Benito Santiago and Brett Boone.