Jeff Bagwell’s looking good for HOF with public votes
By Eric Huysman
Jeff Bagwell is sitting at 92% according to Ryan Thibodaux and his BBHOF Tracker. Could he be the next Astros player inducted?
Cooperstown, New York, prepare for another possible invasion of rainbow-colored jerseys on July 31, 2017. Two years ago, Craig Biggio was inducted in as the first player wearing a Houston Astros jersey. As we approach the January 18th MLB Hall of Fame announcement, Jeff Bagwell looks to join him. As a practice, I typically don’t say anything is guaranteed with the risk of jinxing it, but things are looking good for Baggy.
For those of you living under a Twitter rock, you may not know about Ryan Thibodaux. He is a passionate baseball fan who once a year, becomes one of the most searched people on Twitter. Why? He takes the public Hall of Fame ballots and takes the time to do the calculations to predict the ones over 75%. Thibodaux knows approximately how many ballots there is, and how many votes each player needs to get 10% and 75%.
There are an estimated 435 ballots that are expected to have been turned in before the New Years Eve postmarked deadline. Yes, in today’s technological world, they still use the Post Office to cast the HOF votes. Each writer who receives a ballot can choose to keep their votes private, but many opted to make it public. There is a margin of error of the public votes and the final ballots cast.
Jeff Bagwell was close in 2016
Last year, Bagwell had 77.7% of the public votes last year but finished with 71% of the actual vote. Bagwell needs a big percentage of the public vote to be inducted into the HOF. Some of the writers who are anti-Bagwell might tend to keep their votes private. If they don’t, they will face the wrath of Ric, aka, @Bags4HOF.
Ric has made it his mission to better educate the writers who have made the unwise decision not to vote for Bagwell. You can read my earlier post to see some of Ric’s work, but it’s hard to ignore Bagwell’s stats in 15 years of MLB service. Playing most of his career in the pitchers’ ballpark, he had a slash line of .297/ .408/ .540/ .948 with 449 homers and 1529 RBIs. The thing that impressed me was his stolen bases.
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Bagwell was not gifted with speed, but he was gifted with some of the best instincts in the game. For those of you who play Fantasy Baseball, you would know that he was the all around package at first base. He battled the power of Frank Thomas at the top of the rankings. In my eyes, the speed aspect put him slightly above Thomas, who got into the HOF first.
As I wrote last time, Jeff Bagwell is the reason I became a die-hard Astros fan. I spent many days trying to emulate his baseball swing, but it is not a stance you teach your kids. If the Red Sox had any idea that Bagwell would have been that good, they would not have traded him. The Astros’ scouts knew that Bagwell had power potential, now he could potentially go into the Hall.
Don’t count your Yoshi’s before they hatch.
Why are so many people voting for him now? He deserves it first, but Mike Piazza going in last year semi-opened the door. Bagwell played in the steroid era, so did Piazza. With about 36% of the ballots public, Bagwell is sitting at about 92% with 146 votes. He has gained 14 votes from writers who did not vote for him last year.
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As my son’s shirt says, I’m not going to count my Yoshi’s before they hatch. Bagwell needs 181 more votes to reach Cooperstown. It could be Christmas in July for Astros fans again as we flood Cooperstown to support Bagwell. Thanks to Ryan and Ric for their efforts, hopefully, we won’t have to worry and Bagwell next year. I hope we have a Yoshi hatch wearing an Astros #5 jersey.
***Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference and HOF ballot info from BBHOF Tracker***