Friday, January 05, 2007

The Case for Jeff Bagwell

Marc Normandin spells out a very convincing case for Jeff Bagwell to make the Hall of Fame. I've always been a Bagwell fan but I guess I've become jaded because of all the great things Normandin points out about Bagwell - it is this paragraph that sticks out to me:
He would play his last game in front of the hometown Astros fans at Minute Maid Park, coming to bat as a pinch hitter who did not reach base; an anticlimactic ending for an incredible player in his first trip to the World Series. With the end of his career, eyes now turn towards his Hall of Fame credentials. Some may question the validity of his statistics because of the era he played in, and others may take his numbers at face value with nary a mention of performance enhancing drugs in his history. Statistically, Bagwell is a shoo-in [corrected], with his Hall of Fame Monitor score of 149.5 where the average Hall of Famer is 100, and his Hall of Fame Standard score of 59.0 where the average Hall of Famer is a 50, as well as his JAWS score of 106.4, third all-time among first basemen. Whether or not he actually makes it is another story entirely, as he finished with 2,314 hits and 449 homers, relatively low totals for Hall of Fame first basemen, or so the belief goes among more traditionally minded baseball fans.
Emphasis added.

Prior to 1994 - Bagwell hit an average of one HR every 31.6 AB. Suddenly in 1994 Bagwell's slugging percentage jumps an astounding 234 points (from .516 to .750) and he suddenly hits one HR every 10.3 AB? You can't tell me that isn't a bit suspicious.

I won't feel bad for Bagwell if he doesn't make the Hall of Fame because of suspicions like the one I harbor against him. The home run power he "discovered" starting in 1994 helped him earn over $128 million playing baseball. That seems like pretty good consolation even if he didn't do steroids.

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