In the wake of former Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio missing induction into the Hall of Fame by just two votes, Jeff Bagwell‘s vote total was a bit overshadowed. Yet, his results were much more troubling than his former teammate’s. After seeing his vote totals steadily increase over his first three years of eligibility on the ballot, his percentages dropped 5.3 percent in the 2013 vote.
It may just be that this year’s ballot was too crowded with the additions of Greg Maddox, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas, all of whom were sure-fire first-ballot entrants. However, there has always been the argument that Bagwell is under suspicion of PED use.
It’s tragic that in today’s voting mindset, a player is guilty until proven innocent. Bagwell has never tested positive to any drug tests, and as such, all PED suspicion should be removed. However, he played in the “steroid era” and therefore the suspicion is enough to deter some votes.
Bagwell’s lifetime numbers mimic those of Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, who expressed the need to include Bagwell in the Hall of Fame. Although he was forced into an early retirement due to a degenerative shoulder condition, Bagwell still put up outstanding numbers at first base. He was a four-time All-Star with 449 home runs and 1,529 RBIs. He was the Rookie of the Year in 1991 and MVP in 1994.
The numbers speak for themselves, but the next couple years will have even more certain first-ballot Hall-of-Famers introduced to the fold. So, the ‘crowded ballot’ argument may continue to plague Bagwell. However, he still has plenty of years left, and hopefully he’ll finally get what he deserves in time.