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Good News About Jeff Bagwell's HOF Chances

Well, thanks to the crack research team at Baseball Reference, we can see every Hall of Fame ballot and voting percentages for players going back to 1936.

Here's the good news: only two players since 1972 have not been elected to the Hall of Fame after reaching at least 50 percent on a ballot. The first was Gil Hodges, who got to 50 percent on his third try at the ballot in 1971 and then fell back below the next year. Hodges spend the next decade vacillating between 50 and 60 percent of the vote before failing to get to 75 percent by his 15th season in 1983.

The other so far is is Jack Morris, who still has two more years on the ballot left and got up to 66.7 percent this season. It looks likely that Morris will get over the hump in the next two years to be elected.

Two more players, Nellie Fox and Jim Bunning, reached 50 percent during that time frame and failed to be elected during their 15 year eligibility. However, both were inducted through the Veteran's Committee eventually.

Does that mean Bagwell is a lock to get in? Not necessarily, but the increase is very encouraging. I know there are plenty of big names becoming eligible next season, but the way the voters are trending, don't expect many votes to be stolen by Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

Next year will be just as crucial, with Bagwell needing to see an increase to avoid ping-ponging around like Hodges did. If he gets above 60 percent then, there's a good chance Cooperstown will come calling eventually.