All of the speculation is over and there are officially three new members to the baseball Hall of Fame. Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez and Tim Raines will now take their places with the legends of the game in Cooperstown.
Let me begin by saying I completely agree with these three players getting into the Hall of Fame. Jeff Bagwell was a constant threat at the plate. However, the stat that most impresses me about Bagwell is that he had 202 stolen bases. Granted that doesn’t come close to what Raines put up in his career but 202 is enough to be the most stolen bases by a first basemen in the last 90 years. Bagwell was a great baserunner, could hit and was a solid defensive player.
Ivan Rodriguez will be seen as one of the best catchers in history. Mike Piazza may be the best offensive catcher in history but Rodriguez is the best all around catcher I have ever seen. His defensive abilities were legendary and oh by the way he did have 2,844 hits. Not too bad for a catcher.
Tim Raines is the big winner out of the three in my opinion. In his final year on the ballot he gets the well deserved call from Cooperstown. The only reason Raines isn’t seen as the best leadoff hitter of his era is because another Hall of Famer named Rickey Henderson played at the same time. Raines held his own though. Ending his career with a .294 batting average, .385 on base percentage and 808 career stolen bases, he was a hitter than no pitcher could look past.
Although the three players that got into the Hall of Fame I agree with there are a few guys who didn’t get in that I would have liked to see get in this year.
Trevor Hoffman came in just one percentage point shy of entering the Hall of Fame. It doesn’t mean that next year is a sure thing for him to get in, but he should be in next year and that is okay by me.
Vladimir Guerrero also came close getting 71.7% of the votes. I think like Hoffman Vlad will be getting the call next year.
Edgar Martinez got a nice jump in his numbers this year and rightfully so. Edgar was the best right handed hitter of his generation. Not just the best DH of his time, but best right handed hitter, and that isn’t just a Mariner fan saying that. Mariano Rivera has stated a few times that Edgar was the best he ever faced. I don’t know if Edgar makes it next year, but I’m hoping enough writers see just how great he was and make 2018 Edgar’s year.
Clemens and Bonds both had their vote totals go up, but honestly I don’t know how much more room they have to increase. There are still enough writers out there who have a hardline stance on these two and I’m not sure their progress is going to keep moving high enough for them to be voted in.
On a sad note for myself and others who agree with me Lee Smith did not make the Hall of Fame in his final year of being on the ballot. I really believe that Smith should be in the Hall of Fame. If you look at his stats you will see just how dominating he was in the 80’s and into the 90’s. He wasn’t Mariano Rivera but an argument can be made he was the most dominating closer of his time. Changing teams as much as he did though does hurt his votes in my opinion.
Next year I am excited as one of my favorite players of all time joins the ballot and hopefully the Hall of Fame, Chipper Jones.