The Baseball Writers’ Association of America will announce the 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class of inductees. There are six former Astros on the ballot this year: 1B Jeff Bagwell, RHP Roger Clemens, RHP Curt Schilling, RHP Bill Wagner, 2B Jeff Kent, and C Ivan Rodriguez for the first time this year.
Bagwell appears to be a lock at this point in his seventh year on the ballot, and Rodriguez appears to be the next closest on Rodriguez on the cusp.
But how did we get here, let us look at each case for the six former Astros:
MLB Years: 15 Astros Years: 15 Year of the Ballot: 7 2016 Vote: 71.6%
Jeff Bagwell was the face of the Astros franchise in the 90’s and 00’s, teaming with second baseman Craig Biggio who was inducted into the hall of fame in 2015.
Bagwell batted .297/.408/.540 with 2,314 hits, 449 home runs, 488 doubles, 1,529 RBI; 1,517 runs, 1,401 walks, and 202 stolen bases.
Bagwell finished in the top 100 all-time in OPS+ (36th), RBI (49th), home runs (38th), walks (28th), extra-base hits (46th), and sac flies (26th). In the field, he was 12th all-time in double plays turned.
The reason that Bagwell has taken this long is the fact he failed to reach either 3,000 hits or 500 home runs. Couple that with the PED era and playing the majority of his career the cavernous Astrodome hurt Bagwell’s chances.
MLB Years: 20 Astros Years: 1 Year of the Ballot: 5 2016 Vote: 52.3%
Curt Schilling’s time was short with the Astros. He was a part of a deal with Steve Finley and Pete Harnisch that was traded from the Orioles for Glenn Davis in 1991. He later traded to the Phillies for Jason Grimsley in 1992.
Over 20 seasons, Schilling was 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA in 569 games (436 starts). He struck out 3,116 batters and walked 711 in 3,261 innings. He was 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 starts in the postseason.
Schilling appears to be on track to be voted in but Schilling hasn’t built up much support in his post-baseball ventures.
MLB Years: 24 Astros Years: 3 Year of the Ballot: 5 2016 Vote: 45.2%
Roger Clemens was the prize addition during the Drayton McLane era. The Astros pushed all the chips to the middle before the 2004 season with the signing of former Yankees Clemens and Andy Pettitte.
The ‘Rocket’ was 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in 709 games. He had 4672 strikeouts and 1,580 walks in 4916 2/3 innings. He had 118 complete games, 46 shutouts, and a 143 ERA+.
Clemens was an 11-time All-Star, winning seven MVP awards (including one in Houston) and an MVP award.
The PED cloud looms large over Clemens but his voting total has slowly climbed up each year.
MLB Years: 17 Astros Years: 2 Year of the Ballot: 4 2016 Vote: 16.6%
Jeff Kent was the first major move of the Astros after moving over Minute Maid Park (then Enron Field). Kent had one of the most historic home runs in Astros history with his walk-off home run against the Cardinals in the 2004 ALDS.
Kent batted .290/.356/.500 with 2,461 hits, 377 home runs, 1,518 RBI, and 1,320 run scored. Kent made the All-Star team five times, won four Silver Sluggers and was MVP in 2000.
Kent’s personality and poor fielding are used as strikes against Kent, but he is arguably one of the greatest offensive second basemen of all time.
MLB Years: 16 Astros Years: 9 Year of the Ballot: 2 2016 Vote: 10.5%
Billy Wagner was one the greatest closer of all time, plain and simple. He was the 12th overall pick in the 1993 draft by the Astros and headed some of the most historic bullpens of all time in Houston.
Wagner was a seven-time all-star. He had a 86% save percentage, 2.31 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 11.9 K/9 rate, and 4.0 K/BB. Wagner had 422 saves in 903 games.
The case against Wagner is when you compare him to the likes of Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman who amassed much higher save totals. But that would be ignoring his effectiveness in 903 games.
MLB Years: 21 Astros Years: (93 games) Year of the Ballot: 1 2016 Vote: N/A
Ivan Rodriguez is easily one of the greatest two-way catchers in baseball history. He batted .296/.334/.464 with 311 home runs, 1,332 RBIs. He was 14-time all-star, 13-time gold glove winner, and AL MVP in 1999.
Rodriguez’s time in Houston was short, 93 games to be exact. He signed as a free agent before the 2009 season and was traded back to the Texas Rangers on August 18.
Rodriguez will be a hall of famer, the only question is will be a first ballot hall of famer.