We're properly getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame season and if Barry Bloom is any indicator of the way winds are blowing, Jeff Bagwell has zero chance of making it in this year. Barry M.Bloom's case against Bagwell, is, well baffling. And believe me, I'm trying to restrain this as an all out attack on Mr Bloom. He gives his case for voting for Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Rafael Palmeiro, TIm Raines, Lee Smith and Alan Trammell, which you might note is casting your net quite widely. I'd disagree with a few of those choices, as being good rather than great players.
Then we get to the 'good' stuff:
And just a note on Jeff Bagwell: Rumors about possible steroid use don't bother me. I just think he's a very good player, but not of Hall of Fame caliber.
Note, he is also voting for Palmeiro and McGwire, whose cases, if they were to be argued, would be diminished by the fact that their home run totals were racked up in an era where for whatever reason, players hit a lot of them. If someone argued that Bagwell's case is hurt by the fact that there were other more preeminent sluggers around during his time, I could accept that premise, if I did not necessarily agree with it.
Here is Bloom's reasoning behind the Garvey comparison:
His numbers are very similar to Steve Garvey - Bags .297 batting average to .294 for the Garv, 2,314 hits to 2,599, 449 homers to 272, 1,529 RBIs to 1,308 . But Garvey had two NL Championship Series MVPs, an NL MVP, an All-Star MVP, the longest consecutive game playing streak in NL history (1,207), one of the highest fielding percentages as a first baseman (.996) and an errorless season (1984). Garvey also played on five NL pennant winners and a World Series winner in '81 with the Dodgers.
Batting average is possibly the worst thing to compare ever, and fielding percentage is not much better, they played in completely different eras, Bagwell at least earned his MVP rather than the one Garvey robbed off MIke Schmidt, Joe Morgan or a host of others in 1974. The Astros number 5 finished his career with a sterling .408 OBP, something not even referred to, and built his career on sterling season after sterling season not just a hollow batting average and eight straight all-star appearances. Bagwell is one of the greatest all-round first baseman in history. That I even have to bother defending him and rubbishing this argument is almost beneath anyone with a brain.
And then there is the parting shot at Bagwell:
Bagwell did almost none of this with the Astros. And Garvey didn't get a sniff from the writers for the HOF. That's why I didn't vote for Bagwell.
But Steve Garvey has two, yes that's right, two NLCS MVPs. Two! David Eckstein has a World Series MVP to pick a modern example. Think the St. Louis beat writers'll be bringing that one out five years after he retires? Nope, me neither.
Perhaps the funniest thing about it is (kudos to TCB's Tim De Block), he was so lazy, he just copy and pasted his blog entry from last year, almost word for word. That's it someone call the cops. Now. It is quite obvious what has happened. Someone, or something, has kidnapped our beloved MLB.com writer and replaced him with a cyborg, or robot baseball writer of some sort. Either that or this is some elaborate hoax.
At least he remembered to take Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar's names out. Kudos for that. Kudos.
The only explanation I can even deign to offer is that, so crushed was Bloom by Garvey's failure to be immortalised in Cooperstown, he has sought to wreak his vengeance on Bagwell, who must have masterminded the campaign for Garvey to only receive 21.1% of the vote that year. The swine.
In summation, all I can say is, when claptrap such as this is produced, can anyone take the BBWAA's collective decision making entirely seriously?
*hat tip to Bill from the Platoon Advantage and Sam Miller of the Orange County Register for the link.