There are plenty of reasons why the Astros greatest player, yes greater than Craig Biggio, should join Biggio in the Hall of Fame include statistical, eyeball and even heartfelt ones. Here is a list of five reasons in no particular order why Bags should hear the call next Wednesday.
1) Baserunning – This was more than just stolen bases, though his 202 SBs is impressive for a medium speed first baseman. Note: He had more SBs than all time great 1Bs Frank Thomas, Willie Stargell, Johnny Mize, Mark McGwire, Hank Greenberg and Todd Helton had…. combined. But he was one of the best base runners most of us had ever seen as far as taking the extra base and rarely getting thrown out.
2) Frank Thomas – Bagwell is often compared to Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, who was born the exact same date as Bagwell and who won Rookie of the Year in 1991, just like Bagwell. Looking at each player’s production per 162 game average.
It seems pretty obvious that if Frank Thomas is in the Hall of Fame (and he does deserve it), Jeff Bagwell should be there too.
3) Fielding – This is as much eyeball as anything, but converting from 3B in one spring training, and playing a position that favors the left handed 1Bs, he was one of the best fielding right handed 1Bs ever. His ability to charge bunts and toss out players at 2B or 3B was extraordinary.
4) Hall of Fame Stats – Looking at a couple Hall of Fame numbers created by Bill James….Bags puts up a 150 for something called Hall of Fame Monitor. According to James, scoring 100-130 a player should get in and over 130 should be a sure thing. Under Hall of Fame Standard – Jeff scores a 59, where the average Hall of Famer scores a 50
5) Great core years – Most Hall of Famers have dominant stats for a 7 or 8 year core of their career. It is undeniable greatness over a sustained period of time. For the 10 years from 1994 to 2003 Jeff had the following .301 BA / .420 OBP / .706 SLG / 1.126 OPS. He averaged 116 R / 36 doubles / 37 HRs / 116 RBIs even with missing significant time in 1994 and 1995.
Fans realize that if his career had not been cut short by injuries and if his career had not occurred during a very questionable period of PED usage in the majors he would have been in the Hall before his buddy Biggio.
There are tons of other reasons that could be added to the five listed above:
- The effect of spending his first 10 seasons in the cavernous Astrodome
- Seasons with little protection behind him in the lineup
- High WAR numbers
- Rookie of the Year and MVP during his career
- Leadership skills
- Stat comparison to other 1Bs already in the Hall
So, what reasons would you give for putting Jeff Bagwell in the Hall of Fame?