Wednesday February 8th, 2012
Bryan Sheehan (MLB reports Intern Candidate): It could be argued that Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio are the two greatest position players in Houston Astros history. As a duo they lead the team to four division titles, two wild card berths and a World Series appearance (though Bagwell played just 39 games during the 2005 season that ended with a World Series sweep by the Chicago White Sox). The club records for home runs (449) and hits (3,060) are also held by Bagwell and Biggio, respectively. In the fifteen years that the two played together, the Astros had just two losing seasons. They spent virtually their whole careers together tearing it up in Houston. So the question must be asked: will their reunion take place in Cooperstown in 2013?
The 2013 Hall Of Fame ballot is loaded, but that doesn’t mean Bagwell and Biggio can be counted out. The freshman candidates for next year’s ballot consists of scandal-marred “homerun king*” Barry Bonds, newly-bleached Sammy Sosa and Roger “Perjury” Clemens. All three would have been automatic inductees if it weren’t for their steroid use. The BBWAA, a group of baseball writers that decide on who makes the hall, have shown that they don’t overlook steroid use, with both Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire getting nearly no support on the 2012 ballot. On the other hand, Jeff Bagwell did draw votes on the 2012 ballot, drawing a large 56 percent. His .297 batting average and 1529 RBIs are HOF worthy, but not worthy of a 19 percent jump in voting that is needed to push Bagwell through in 2013.
Craig Biggio, on the other hand, has all the makings of a first-ballot inductee. In 20 major league seasons, he reached the landmark 3,000 hits, a milestone that usually insures Hall Of Fame glory. Only 27 other players have hit three thousand or more. Of those 27 hit kings, there have only been two (three if you count the still active Derek Jeter) exclusions: the previously mentioned Rafael Palmeiro and all-time hits leader Pete Rose. A seven-time All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger and four-time Gold Glove winner, Biggio is one of the better all-around second basemen in history. His biggest asset coming into the 2013 ballot, though, is the fact that he was never connected to the Mitchell Report or tied to rumors of steroid use. Voters this year will no doubt abstain from voting for Bonds, Clemens or one of the other juiceheads, which will lend their votes to Biggio’s cause. An interesting note: Pete Rose and Palmeiro (I better stop mentioning him, unless I want him to show up at my house like Beetlejuice) are the only 3,000 hit club members that weren’t elected on their first year of eligibility since 1962.
Biggio will find his golden ticket to Cooperstown with his 3,060 hits. His career average, .281, may be a little lackluster for a Hall of Famer, but his sheer number of hits should be enough to let him go on the first ballot. Bagwell, though, won’t be so lucky. Looking at the voting trend, Bags will probably come close… but still miss out in 2013. Bagwell will have to likely wait until 2014 to join Biggio in the Hall. The Killer B’s will end up in Cooperstown together one day, just not on the same ballot.
Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern Candidate, Bryan Sheehan. You can follow Bryan on Twitter (@Sheehan99), read his interviews with Phillies’ minor league prospects at PhightingOn.com, and catch him writing the occasional article for BleacherReport.com (search his name). Tweet him about this article and he will follow you back!
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