When Will Jeff Bagwell Enter Cooperstown?
Jul 27, 2014; Cooperstown, NY, USA; At general view of the presentations during the class of 2014 national baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at National Baseball Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
First and foremost, congratulations to Craig Biggio for finally getting voted into the Hall of Fame a few days ago. The Astros will finally have their guy in the Hall, and I expect to see many fans in attendance on July 26th when he gets inducted (myself hopefully included). But as with everything in life, we automatically start looking at what is coming next, and now we start looking at Jeff Bagwell in his final five years of eligibility.
Biggio and Bagwell are synonymous with each other not just in Houston, but in the entire baseball world. We all would have loved to see them go in together, but it’s almost better this way as they each get their own day, assuming Bagwell gets voted in. In Bagwell’s 5th year on the ballot, he received 55.7% of the votes, with a player needing 75% to enter the Hall.
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What helps Bagwell is that the ballot isn’t going to be stacked like the last couple of years when seven combined players were voted into the Hall. There are three intriguing names joining the ballot in 2016: Ken Griffey Jr., Trevor Hoffman, and Billy Wagner. To today’s baseball fans, those three are pretty much no-brainers, but you never know what the BWAA will do. Along with Bagwell, he is joined by Mike Piazza and Tim Raines from the current ballot as the only legitimate contenders of entering the Hall in 2016. Griffey will get in on the first ballot along with Hoffman, and I think Piazza will jump from 69.9% to 75%. Bagwell needs to jump into the 60-65% range in 2016 to have a good chance of getting voted in at some point.
Assuming the three above get voted in, in 2017 you’ll see Bagwell and Raines (in his final year of eligibility) joined by Billy Wagner (in his second year of eligibility if he doesn’t get voted in) along with newcomers Vladimir Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and Jorge Posada as the only legitimate contenders. If Piazza didn’t get voted in his first 3 years, I don’t expect Pudge to either. Manny won’t get in due to the Clemens and Bonds treatment, and Posada is only being talked about because he was a Yankee. The only real threat in 2017 is Guerrero, who should be voted in on the first try.
After 2017, it gets a little stacked again when Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, and Omar Vizquel joining the fray in 2018; Mariano Rivera, Todd Helton, Roy Halladay, Andy Pettitte, and Lance Berkman in 2019; and in Bagwell’s final year of eligibility, Derek Jeter and Paul Konerko in 2020.
Jeff Bagwell is my favorite player of all time, and I really hope the BWAA are able to vote him in someday. Looking at the upcoming ballots, 2016 and 2017 is the prime time for Bagwell to get in as he might get overlooked until his last year in 2020 for his last hurrah. I believe Bagwell will get voted into the Hall in 2017, when the Astros win the World Series.
I know we all want Bagwell to join Biggio in Cooperstown someday, but do you think he will? If so, when do you expect him to get inducted?