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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Another Textbook Example    

Returning to the Palmeiro/HOF discussion from a little while back...

Jeff Bagwell is contemplating retirement.  There's a guy from the modern era who clearly fits into the Jim Rice Wing of Cooperstown.  He was one of the premier power hitters in the NL for most of his career, and yet he's only got 449 home runs in 14 seasons and change.  Like Ken Griffey Jr., his best season would have been 1994, had it reached completion... he was at .368/39/144 when the strike hit (with a projectile-eyeball-inducing 1201 OPS).

Here's the tie-in: I would take Jeff Bagwell over Rafael Palmeiro.  Now, we're talking about two guys whose career primes overlapped, and who play the exact same position... this isn't like picking between Griffey and Raffy.  These two guys should line up pretty nicely. Indeed, according to, Bagwell's average 162-game season is significantly better than Palmeiro's in runs scored, walks, steals, AVG, SLG, and OPS, while Palmeiro's is better in... strikeouts, which is meaningless given that Palmeiro made more outs per season than did Bagwell.  This is convincing evidence that the superior player will not make it to the Hall of Fame.  Please tell me why this is a good way to operate a Hall of Fame.

I was OK with Raffy getting in, with reservations, until looking at the stats.  Now I'm downright horrified.  Bags is 51 HR away from having a strong case, and he may not even play again.  What's worse is that Bags will retire as an Astro instead of moving to a DH team, thus giving up the chance to chase milestones like Raffy.  It will probably cost him a shot at the Hall.  Say it with me... that ain't right!


  • Ok, in Raffy's defense, he did play 4 more seasons at least than Bagwell. When you call Bagwell a "Premier" power hitter in the NL, I think Raffy was also, he was just always under the radar. If he had been even minutely more personable to the media and didn't whine about not making the All-Star team when he didn't, I think he probably would have made at least 3 more All-Star teams.

    As a fan who got to see him in his prime in the mid-90s 3-4 times a week when I still liked baseball, Raffy was electric. You would feel excited everytime he was on deck knowing something good was probably going to happen real real soon.

    I admit I'm surprised when I hear him talked about as a first ballot HoFer, but I think longevity goes a long long way and he has 4 seasons up on Bagwell. I really don't have any great reason why he should be in before Bagwell, but I'm more trying to say that people like you and BSG(who I'm really starting to hate) don't realize just how good Raffy was b/c he was so under that radar and that if you were living in Baltimore during the 90s this probably wouldn't even be an issue in your mind.

    By Blogger Jurassic Carl, at 8:21 AM  

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