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Baseball: Jeff Bagwell - Hall of Fame?

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posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 12:49 PM
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Bagwell has a bad shoulder, which probably will lead him to retirement soon. I've always been a big fan, despite the fact he should be on the Red Sox (despite the fact we got the immortal Larry Anderson for him). Bagwell has put up some monster stats during his career, but they could be tainted in this day and age of steroid ball. msn.foxsports.com...

Here's a quick rundown on why I think he should be in the Hall (I treid to summarize the preceding article, but hate to be a plagiarist). For the best info on this matter go to the post that for some reason I put above.

Sorry for the link, I didn't think it would be right for me to post everything they say in there. I'm just curious if others feel that Bagwell deserves to be in the Hall, despite never winning a World Series and playing in the steroids era (although I've never heard any doubts as to whether he used steroids). Sorry if this isn't discussable, Bagwell was one of my favorite players in the day, and I use to copy his hitting stance as it was quite unique (but never lead me to greatness).

Thank You
-Kwyjibo

Edited to get the link to work, which I'm not sure if I did (it's much more complicated than I had anticipated).
[Edited on 4/24/06 by Kwyjibo]

[Edited on 4/24/06 by Kwyjibo]

[Edited on 4/24/06 by Kwyjibo]

[Edited on 4/24/06 by Kwyjibo]




posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 02:22 PM
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It is my opinion that there has to be SOME evidence--either direct or circumstantial--that a player has used, or we should not assume the worst. In Bonds' case, the long-distance HR's make it dead obvious, and anyone who watched him in 2000 already knew it was obvious. Also, the sudden gargantuan increase in power and ability at THAT age is just inconceivable. Plus....

Looking at Bagwell's career stats, I don't see a sudden, freakish leap in power, run production, etc., whereas such things are very obvious, for instance, with Sammy Sosa and Jeff Kent. Bagwell had a huge year in 1994, but so did a lot of other people and I think that year the owners put in a souped up ball to make it hard for the players to refuse to let the owners roll back the clock on them. (E.G., Matt Williams was on pace for the HR record and was getting hotter on a daily basis; Gwynn was seriously on a run for .400.)

Bagwell's career stats, which I just now pored over carefully, do NOT show any sudden-and-thereafter-sustained spike in ability--not even when the Astros moved into that right-hand-hitters' paradise they play in now. SO... you either have to conclude Bagwell has been on the stuff his whole MLB career, or he looks pretty legit to me.

I refuse to throw out the entire last 15 years unless and until convincing evidence appears that juicing was de rigeur on every MLB team and that virtually everyone did it. I don't think such evidence will ever appear--even if that's true. Until it does, unless someone comes forward with evidence specifically concerning Bagwell, I think he and everyone else like him--e.g., the vastly superior Manny Ramirez--are entitled to the benefit of the doubt. So hell yes, I'd put him in the Hall of Fame.

It's too bad he's not retired yet. I certainly wouldn't take him over Gehrig, but he's one guy I could see some of y'all rationally and supportably selecting over Gehrig in this one-team-for-full-career game I will be dishing out soon. In fact, he'd probably be the next best contender, since Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg, Mark McGwire and Eddie Murray, among others, are all ineligible.

BHN



posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 08:51 PM
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Bagwell is a top 5 1b ever. He's a lock.



posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 09:25 PM
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Welcome back, Hootie.

I agree about Bagwell. In fact, I probably rate him HIGHER than you do.

I don't include McGwire in my Top 5, for reasons which are obvious. So here are my Top 5, pending the completion of Bagwell's career. I don't expect him to get any higher than he is now, of course:

1. Lou Gehrig (by a large margin, but LOOK OUT for Pujols)
2. Jimmie Foxx (barely)
3. Jeff Bagwell, who has benefitted from that silly little park, but whose peak years got murdered by the Astrodome.
4. Johnny Mize, whose career stats would look much better if he hadn't lost 3 years to WW II--something which I believe that he, like all the others who were already shining stars when they got drafted for 1943-1945, IS entitled to credit for; and
5. Either Eddie Murray or Hank Greenberg, who lost over FOUR years to WW II and still had tremendous numbers. To me, it is a very tough call between Murray and Greenberg. Greenberg hit for tremendous HR and doubles power (once had 63 doubles, I think), but had horrible foot speed and coordination because of his humongous size (forget what the books say; he was NOT 6'4").

Good cases can be made for one-dimensional players Killebrew and McCovey, who were awesome HR hitters (Killebrew was the #2 full-length career player, all-time, in HR/AB--before Steroid Ball), especially since McCovey lasted many years more than Greenberg... even without the lost war years. But to me, those are the five greatest first basemen of all time who didn't feel compelled to turn themselves into small mountain ranges through the wonder of chemicals, federally banned or otherwise.

If I counted McGwire as legit (which I will never do), I probably would put him #3, but might put him at #4.

Anyway, I don't even remember who started this thread, and it was not my intent to list my top 5 ever at this position, but I have now done it. And obviously I have a very high opinion of Bagwell. I may spend several HOURS next week, after I've filed my death penalty brief at long last and am celebrating through sheer vegetation, by poring over the respective career stats of Foxx and Bagwell. I know, of course, Foxx will have it all over Bagwell in peak years, but I don't place quite the same monomaniacal level of emphasis on peak value that Bill James does, instead considering peak and career values about equal in importance.

Also, I feel Foxx should be knocked down some for being a self-destructive drunk who squandered such enormous talent and potential. It just may be that, in a month's time, I could be persuaded Bagwell is--pending the end of Pujols' career--the #2 first baseman ever. What he is NOT, however, is Lou Gehrig's equal.

BHN



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 05:07 PM
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Hi BHN,

I was just curious what your opinion of Cap Anson was? I'm guessing you were sticking with the 20th century, but if not you got to admit Anson owned the 1880s. He is also sometimes credited as the first person to get 3,000 hits (apparently that's debatable). Supposedly he was a racist, which hurts his character a bit. Still, do you think he could at least give Eddie Murray a run for his money (I know it was different eras, which you know a million times more about than me).



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 05:14 PM
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He was enormously racist--probably worse than Cobb--but that has no effect on my opinion of him as a ballplayer. Remember, I rate Ty Cobb ahead of Mantle (ever so barely), Speaker and DiMaggio, and behind only Mays, among the great 5 CF's. And Cobb was a lot more than just a racist; he was a potentially homicidal psychopath.

Bill James has rated Anson the #11 first baseman of all time. I've not researched the point because the pitching he faced was so comically bad for most of his career. So, that's a good enough rating for me. But for now, at least, I'd take Ed Delahanty over him. Delahanty was a great player whose greatness carried over into the first 3+ years of this century, though his numbers were starting to fall by then... probably because of the combined effects of his age and alcoholism.

BHN



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 09:15 PM
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Bagwell hasn't announcd his retirement yet (that I'm aware of) and there is controversy regarding his salary if he can't contribute at the level he is being compensated at. Does anyone think if Bagwell drags out his down years that it'll hurt his chances at being in the Hall? Personally I think he's sticking around to get another shot at the world series, but he should realize he's not up to his old standards.



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 10:16 PM
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Jeff Bagwell could do the first baseman's equivalent of what Steve Carlton did--just flat humiliate himself by hanging on for years when he's embarrassingly washed-up and bad--and he's still a lock for 1st-year induction. The problem is, that would affect people's perceptions of where he should rank on the all-time 1B list, as it has Carlton's place among the greatest of left-handers (Grove, Hubbell, Spahn, Koufax, Ford, Big Unit and one other I'm forgetting due to exhaustion).

A lot of the time, we need several years after someone's retirement to assess just how good/great he was. Barring a steroid/HGH discovery--which in Bagwell's case I do not expect--no such time is needed. He's been an outstanding player throughout his career, in sunshine (the HR pad they're in now) or in shadow (the Astrodome).

As my dear friend Hootie says, he HAS to be one of the Top 5 at 1B. As I've said, I put him higher than that.

BHN



posted on Apr, 26 2006 @ 12:11 AM
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Does the name Eddit Plank ring any bells?: 326-194 career record (.626 winning %), 2.35 ERA, 2246 K’s 1901-1917; 17 seasons

Bagwell's possibly going in for shoulder surgery and his future playing career doesn't look good. I think he was trying to hold out for a championship. The Astros look great so far this year, hopefully if they win he can get a ring out of it (although I'd rather them send Bagwell to Boston and have him win a ring here). As far as the hall-of-fame thing goes I don't know if his 449 HRs is enough in this day and age (granted he had other great stats), especially without a championship ring.



posted on Apr, 26 2006 @ 12:34 AM
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Yeah, sure Plank rings a bell. How does that tie in to Bags?

Plank, b.t.w., is probably my choice for the #8 best lefty of the 20th Century. He is CERTAINLY no higher than that. These guys I would ALL take ahead of him:

1. Lefty Grove---You probably read what I wrote about him the other night. There are some really great pitchers listed below, but there's no case to be made for any of them as #1. Grove was to MLB pitchers what Ruth was to MLB hitters. Stats that would blow up a computer.

2. Warren Spahn---A good case can be made for rating The Big Unit ahead of Spahn. Coming into this season, Johnson's career W-L % is 62 points higher than Spahn's, and while Johnson's been on some damn good teams, Spahn had Aaron, Eddie Mathews (who was better than Aaron through 1960 or so) and a gigantic and awesome HR hitter named Joe Adcock whose HR feats I could tell you a lot about, and who once got 18 bases in a single game--4 HR's and a double that banged high off of Ebbetts Fields' Fenwayesque fence in right field (Ebbetts, like League Park in Cleveland, was Fenway in reverse).

However, Johnson has 263 career wins; SPAHN HAD 363, easily the most since the Dead Ball Era, AND SPAHN DIDN'T WIN HIS FIRST UNTIL HE WAS 25. Prior to that, he was a World War II hero, and in a big big way. I'm not giving him points here for his heroism, but I am giving him points for winning 363 games starting at age 25, in the LIVE Ball Era, AND for all the games he could have won from ages 22 through 24, had he been allowed to pitch from 1943 to 1945, rather than heroically putting his life in harm's way repeatedly.

Spahn lost the second most famouse regular season 1-0 game of the century. #1 would have to be career ERA leader Ed Walsh's 1-0 loss to future Hall of Famer Addie Joss's perfect game, on 10/2/08, during the final Saturday of an intense 3-way pennant drive. That perfect game--baseball's all-time greatest clutch pithing performance--played a huge role in the Veterans' Committee's waiving the 10 years of play requirement and opening the Hall of Fame's doors to Joss, who died tragically young from tubercular meningitis after a spectacular 9-year career. And, oh yes, he is #2 on the career ERA list.

Anyway, Spahn's famous 1-0 loss, which may have finally caused the gradual demise of his career, came when he was 42 and on his way to a 23-7 (!) season. He and young Juan Marichal, the man with 100 release points and speeds, both pitched 16-inning complete games. It ended in the bottom of the 16th when a certain Giant hit a HR. If you don't know who it was, I'll tell that it wasn't McCovey or Cepeda, and that the guy was worth both of them combined and multiplied times 2, and leave it to you to guess.

3. Randy Johnson--'Nuff said, except for this: If he had learned to control and coordinate that giant body of his when he was 20, I might be talking about whether he or Lefty Grove is the greatest PITCHER in the history of baseball, and whether Pedro has a shot at overtaking them.

4. Carl Hubbell---Very tough for me to decide whether to rate Hubbell ahead of Carlton (#5), or behind him. If Carlton had not hung on 3 horrible years too long, I'd almost certainly put Carlton at #4, if not #3. They were both GREAT pitchers. Hubbell was for sure the N.L.'s greatest sustained pitcher (i.e., taking Dizzy Dean out of the picture) in the 1920-1940 era, but was far overshadowed by his contemporary in the A.L., Grove. Bill James has written that Tim Raines is the #2 greatest leadoff hitter of all time, but gets not nearly enough credit because his career coincided with that of #1, Rickey Henderson--just as the great Hank Greenberg gets not enough credit at first because of Gehrig and Foxx.

I have often wondered if the same isn't true of Carl Hubbell. He and Grove were almost exact contemporaries, and he was a finesse pitcher whose legendary screwball was his bread-and-butter pitch. How'd you like to be HIM, and have to compete with the man who won 9 E.R.A. title in 17 seasons, all of which were spent in bad parks for lefties, and who did all the other incredible things I've detailed? Kind of a big shadow, no?

5. Steve Carlton---The first--and for several years, only--guy to win four Cy Young Awards. His 1973 season, with a perfectly execrable Phillie team--he was 27-10, with a 1.97 ERA and a 182 Adjusted ERA; the Phillies' record as a team was 71-91, thus 44-81, without him--is legendary. In the Live Ball Era, that may be the record for the highest % of one's team's wins. The problem was, Carlton had a lot of great years, but quite a few lousy ones. He was 13-20 the year after he was 27-10. He won his second Cy Young in 1977, going 23-10, but was 16-13 the next year. At his best--and his was OFTEN at his best--he was better than Hubbell could ever dream of being. But....

6. Whitey Ford---The Rodney Dangerfield of pitchers. He has the highest career W-L % of any 200-game winner. HE broke Babe Ruth's record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched in World Series play. And the teams he pitched on, despite having Mantle and Berra, weren't NEARLY as good as people seem to think.


7. Sandy Koufax---I'm going to make this my moment to do some myth-busting. From 1962-1966, Koufax did what nobody else has ever done: won 5 straight ERA titles. And ON PAPER, only Lefty Grove, among Live Ball pitchers, has had a better five-year run. But Sandy's incredible five-year run was only part-truth and part-illusion, as I will now take the time to explain. I'd been wanting to save this, but Hootie's remark below made this too perfect a time:

Koufax is basically judged on 5 seasons, while many of his earlier seasons were mediocre. His home park aided him ridiculously in those 5 years, as you'll quickly learn if you study his home and away E.R.A. figures for those years (an absurd difference amounting to almost exactly ONE FULL RUN). He was a modern Walter Johnson--a pitcher with a terrific fastball, pitching in a great pitchers' era, with a huge park and very fast outfielders.

So, yes he's on my Top 7 lefties despite a very abbreviated career (he was 30 when he quit), and yes, that 5-year run was tremendous, but there are reasons why it wasn't nearly as great as people make it out to have been. To understand that, all you need to do is find the all-time Top 100 single-season Adjusted ERA list. And I will save you the trouble of that:

Including seasons prior to 1900, and thus rating the 1880 season of Tim Keefe as #1--which I sure as hell wouldn't do--here are the rankings, numbers and seasons of the top 100 PARK-ADJUSTED ERA seasons of all time by certain pitchers. Those pitchers are: Koufax, Clemens, Maddux and Pedro:

Koufax: Two seasons: #60 in 1966 (190); and #70 (187) in 1964;

Clemens: Three: #27 in 1990 (211); #16 (221) in 2005 [and yes, that bothers me]; and #12 in 1997 (226).

Maddux: Four--#53 in 1998 (191); #52 in 1997 (191); #6 in 1995 (259); and #4 in 1994 (273).

Pedro: Five--#40 in 2002 (196); #26 in 2003 (212); #17 in 1997 (332); #9 in 1999 (245); and "#2" (really #1) in 2000 (285!).

In case you are interested, Grove had FOUR of his nine ERA-title-winning seasons in the top 100, with the highest being #18 (219) in 1931, the year he was 31-4 and led the universe in everything. If you eliminate 19th Century pitchers from the list (which I would, with the exceptions of Cy Young and maybe Kid Nicholls), Pedro has the #1 and #6 seasons; Maddux has #2 and #4; and Gibson's 1968 season is #5.

Hootie has made the point, below, that Koufax is overrated. He's right. I'm not overrating him by making him the #7 lefty of all time. He was that much, even with his retirement at age 30. But if you study the above list, you'll see the idea Koufax had this unparalleled bunch of peak years is just rubbish, as was the garbage of the talking-head idiots at ESPN who ranked him as the #1 pitcher of the century (lololololololol).

We have FOUR pitchers active right now--the three listed above, plus the Big Unit--who have unquestionably had better careers than Koufax did. And you can see for yourself that Pedro and Maddux had far greater peak seasons than Koufax did, once his paradise ballpark was taken out of the picture. Not even close.

So, does Koufax belong in the Hall? Certainly. Is he among the top 50% of pitchers in the Hall? Again, certainly, in light of all the bad jokes in the Hall. But is he the pitcher he's been made out to be ever since 1962? Absolutely not... not even close. He is to pitchers what Pie Traynor was to third basemen, and in another generation or so, when the blind passion of those who loved those Dodger teams has passed into another world, the unavoidable statistical truths will be there for all to see and, like Pie Traynor at 3B, people will wonder why anyone ever got the notion Koufax was #1.

8. Eddie Plank


It would be hard to talk me into rating anyone else higher than Koufax, but I'm willing to listen. You might well talk me into rating someone higher than Plank, though I cannot think of whom, offhand.

BHN

[Edited on 5/10/06 by BaseballHistoryNut]



posted on Apr, 26 2006 @ 12:46 AM
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Nice list on the lefties.

Koufax gets overrated by many.

Grove
Spahn
RJ

And i might even have RJ 2nd

I might have Carlton 4th

But a solid ranking.



posted on Apr, 26 2006 @ 01:13 AM
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Thanks. By pure coincidence, I just added a long discussion to it, and in it, I allowed for the possibility RJ should be #2 and the possibility Carlton should be #4. I also am open to the possibility someone other than Plank should be #8, but I don't know who.

BHN



posted on Apr, 26 2006 @ 05:18 PM
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Originally posted by HOOTIE
Nice list on the lefties.

Koufax gets overrated by many.

Grove
Spahn
RJ

And i might even have RJ 2nd

I might have Carlton 4th

But a solid ranking.


You might want to reread my post on the Top 8. I've added a lot of stuff... not just opinions, but a lot of facts which pretty well smash the Koufax-as-Zeus myth, using, of course, Adjusted ERA heavily. I made a harsh parallel to Pie Traynor, but when you read the whole thing, I think you will agree. You have my permission to plagiarize or re-write it into your own words as much as you like, at other sites. It will put any rational Koufax lovers in a position of having to re-think the depths of their passions for The Great One.

Jeez, I just reread this, and the above paragraph could be construed in a way that sounds awfully arrogant.

I don't mean to say that this post is one of the greatest bits of literature in the history of baseball, and that I graciously give you permission to borrow it to use against Koufaxphiles. I mean that when you look at how the greatest lefties AND greatest current pitchers stack up in terms of peak seasons, as rationally measured by Park-Adjusted ERA, the case for Koufax goes right down the drain. NO WAY he holds up against Grove or Big Unit, and he looks silly next to Maddux or Pedro.

BHN

[Edited on 4/26/06 by BaseballHistoryNut]



posted on Apr, 26 2006 @ 08:03 PM
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Originally posted by BaseballHistoryNut
...as it has Carlton's place among the greatest of left-handers (Grove, Hubbell, Spahn, Koufax, Ford, Big Unit and one other I'm forgetting due to exhaustion...).

BHN


I just thought Plank was the one you forgot (due to exhaustion). I was just wondering if it was him or some other guy that I wasn't aware off. It had nothing directly to do with Bagwell. I'm still trying to figure out how to get these bars under my name to go up.

[Edited on 4/26/06 by Kwyjibo]



posted on Apr, 27 2006 @ 11:39 AM
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Well, you were right. I remembered there were eight who stood out. What I didn't remember was the #8 stood out as being #8 and had no chance of being with the big 7. Had I remembered that fact, the name Plank would have come immediately to mind, like the other 7 did. And as I say, he may not even belong there, since there may be someone fairly recent I'm overlooking. But it has to be someone with at least 12 great seasons, or 15 damned good ones, under his belt.

Plank was one of those pitchers who was never the greatest in his league for any length of time, and was usually not the best on his TEAM, but who had a steadily good career for a very long time, and when it was over, his W-L record looked very good. Not a chance in the world I put him ahead of any of those other 7, but he was damn good.

BHN




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