Monday, December 3, 2012
Do You Ever Feel Like a Plastic BAGS?
With one career Astro down, lets look at the other one in Jeff Bagwell. I know it’s going to sound strange to hear, but I had the utmost respect for Bags when he was playing. Despite the fact that it seemed like he carried a bat designed specifically to torture the Cardinals pitching, he was a classy player.
So lets take a look at Mr. Bagwell:
Good Idea: Bagwell was the premiere first baseman in the NL in the 90s (until Mac showed up at least). Despite playing a long time in the power suppressing Astrodome, he managed to rack up 449 career HR in 7797 AB for an average of 1 HR every 17.4 AB. For reference, that’s better than Mel Ott, Joe DiMaggio and Ernie Banks, as well as lots of other HoF bats. We’re talking great power numbers here. He was a solid baserunner (6.5 BsR from Fangraphs-not huge, but good for a big guy like him), great defender (59.1 Tzr) and of course was a great hitter (405 wOBA and 149 wRC+ and 297 AVG for those who care about those things). He played 15 years, and only once did he have a full season that is less than 4 WAR, which was his second to last year. That means he only once had a mediocre full season, and played nearly every day for those 15 years. There is no statistical reason for which he shouldn’t be inducted.
Bad Idea: Bags did play in the steroid era, so all of his numbers and especially the power numbers are suspect. His rate stats are beautiful, but his raw totals are small due to playing only 15 years, and him being hurt for the last few of his career. So it’s hard to endorse a power hitting first baseman that only had 449 HR, when some other guys like Gehrig, Foxx and Musial are first basemen in the HoF and all had many more HR than Bags did. Part of it is the Astrodome robbing him of some, but he’s also 37th in SLG, below guys like Carlos Delgado and Lance Berkman who were both contemporaries of his. He’s good, but maybe not quite good enough for induction.
Verdict: I don’t care about supposed steroid users. Either they used (Mac, Palmeiro, Clemens, Bonds, Sosa) or they didn’t. Yes, we don’t know and will never know for sure. However, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to induct roid users. The Hall is a place that remembers its history. Do we really want to forget how much fun we had in the Summer of 98? I sure don’t. I had loads of fun, roids or not, and most of you did too. If we aren’t going to induct the best of the best from that era (with mentioning the era on their plaques), then we induct no one.
Beyond that, Bags has a score of 183 on my calculator, which is no doubt automatic induction. By my mark, that would make him the 4th best 1B in the Hall. The only reason why he isn’t in is due to bullshit steroid speculation, which as you may be able to tell, I’m tired of.
Here’s what I propose for steroid users: If it’s known, put it on their plaque so future generations can judge them accordingly. If there is no proof and only speculation, vote normally. If a player is revealed as a steroid user after induction, set up a committee to vote on whether or not he should remain inducted. If the consensus is No, then ceremoniously remove his plaque. Otherwise, just vote like normal. Please. It’ll be less stressful on all of us.
And, it looks like there's a new player in the Hall. I'll look closely at this guy next couple of days and get a report on him.