In his second season on the Hall of Fame ballot, former Houston Astros 1B Jeff Bagwell fell short again, although his vote total did increase from 41.7% of ballots to 56%. Induction in the Hall requires players to appear on 75% of the total ballots.
The only player to reach that mark this year was former Cincinnati Reds SS Barry Larkin, who was in his third year on the ballot.
Bagwell's candidacy has been plagued by whispers of steroid abuse, as he played the majority of his career at the height of the so-called "Steroid Era" for one of the franchises, with Ken Caminiti, Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte all implicated in the last few years, at the center of it.
However, the evidence linking to Bagwell to PED's is circumstantial at best, and his candidacy is seen as one of the canaries in the coal mine for what's sure to be contentious disputes in the upcoming years about all-time greats who actually tested positive like Clemens, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez,.
For backers of the four-time All-Star and 1994 NL MVP, the jump in his vote totals is encouraging, indicating that many voters are starting to come around to voting for Bagwell, despite their suspicions.
However, the ballot will become increasingly crowded in the next few years with higher-profile players than Bagwell, and the former Astro is still far from guaranteed a spot in Cooperstown.