Monday, January 3, 2011



Written by: Mike in DA
Date posted: 1/3/2011

In the 8/30/2010 Peanut Gallery ( there was a section entitled, “HALL OF FAME VOTERS TO JEFF BAGWELL: CAN WE TRUST YOU THAT YOU WEREN'T A JUICER?”

At the end of it, I asked readers to comment on Jeff Bagwell’s chances to make the “Baseball Hall of Fame”. Although he had support from a number of readers, a majority of readers believe that he was on steroids/PEDs sometime during his 15-year MLB career, which would impede his shot at the "Hall".

If you didn't read the post of 1/2/2011 (JEFF BAGWELL: "I NEVER USED STEROIDS!" -, Jeff in an ESPN interview denied any wrongdoing with regard to steroids/PEDs.

Do you trust Jeff that he is 100% clean with respect to steroids/PED or is he just another juicer wanting us to believe that he is innocent until proven guilty a la Rafael Palmeiro, A-Rod, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, etc., etc., etc.?

Below are comments from some of the non-believers who responded to the 8/30/2010 blogpost:

Fred: “He won’t make it. He can thank the rampant PED use.”

Mike:Bagwell is as undeserving as Andre Dawson was, so why would that stop Bags from getting in? Until the HOF limits their inductions to truly deserving players, marginal players like Bagwell and Dawson will continue to disgrace the institution. And to all who assume that Bagwell is "classy," they probably went around saying the same things about McGwire when he was playing, right?

Jason: “He's a first ballot Hall of Really Good Players inductee at best.”

Bo: “He was on da roids too!!!”

Adam: He may not have had the longevity of Eddie Murray, but he sure has a lot more black ink, and better averages across the board. If Bagwell had stuck around until he was 41 and hit 51+ HRs in 4 seasons, he'd be a lock ... but because Bagwell didn't reach the milestones that Murray did, he's a borderline case. I'd rather see (Fred) McGriff get in, you can tell just by his physique that he never did steroids. Bagwell was pretty scrawny in '91, and really buffed by '94. Did he do steroids? I can't say No to Bags, but I can say No to McGriff ... and the Crime Dog hit more HRs in his career.

Tbzoe: “Who’s to know for sure Bagwell did not use PEDs. As someone who saw him up close all the signs were there - he barely fit his uniform, huge bi-ceps, massive neck, very vascular. His name is seldom mentioned with other fairly obvious PED users (kind of like Pudge Rodriquez but Pudge played with the PED boyz, Canseco, A-Rod, Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, et .al) as he sat quietly in Houston. Not a Hall of Famer in my book.

Firestorm: “NO juicer will ever be in the HOF and that includes Bagwell. It's depressing that people actually 'consider' guys like this.”

David: “If you think he was clean during his career you are stupid. Very obvious user.”

Craig:HOF isn't about what a player could've done or extrapolated stats. It's not even about consistency over a career. It is about sustained greatness, which can be hard to quantify, but Bagwell doesn't cut it. It is unfortunate that players like (Andre) Dawson and (Jim) Rice get in after wallowing for years on the ballot. I still don't see how a player can be rejected for years and then suddenly be deemed worthy because of a weak class. Dawson, Rice, (Tony) Perez and others are very good, but fall short of greatness. As stated, Bagwell had a relatively short career, so to be worthy he would need to have numerous dominant years. 1 MVP? 4 All Stars? Not exactly dominance or greatness. Falls short and doesn't have any great milestone numbers; below .300 avg, short of 500 HR, 2300 hits is not HOF material. Not even 200 hits in a season once. Never came through in the playoffs or was particularly clutch. 1500 runs/rbi is best thing going for him, but enough with the pretty good getting in. This hall is for greatness.”

JpNYC23: “NO he does not. He's not a career .300 hitter, He has only 1 Gold Glove and his best years came during the steroid era. While there is no proof that he was a user, he did openly believe that it was no one's business what the player's did to their own bodies. I am not interested in comparing him to others so he can get in. The Mazeroski clause is awful. If this is really the case, when you consider that Bagwell averaged close to 10 errors a season at first, then both Keith Hernandez & Don Mattingly deserve spots for being much better first basemen that Bagwell ever was.”

Bobby M: “The jury is still out for me regarding these 'nice guys' that no one wants to label as 'roid heads, but may have been. Luis Gonzalez was obviously a juicer, but no one links him in. (Mike) Piazza, though some have linked him. Bagwell wasn't always a big strong power hitter and as much as I'd like to assume nice guys like him did it honestly, there's no way to know and given how rampant it was and how much MLB, media, and us the fans winked and nodded along, I'd be surprised if he didn't, since they probably didn't even think it was wrong at the time.”

PMD1718: “If anyone thinks this guy WAS NOT on steroids then they must be retarded.....C'mon, yeah he did not get caught with his hand in the cookie jar, but by the 'eye test', it is easy to see how his body transformed over his career. I would put my life on it that him and (Craig) Biggio both used PED's anyday, so no one should go waving the 'hero' flag for this guy...In any event it really does not matter because he will never make the Hall of Fame based on his stats alone.”

Yomes: “Talking about first basemen - If Bagwell deserves to be in the HOF, then Will Clark definitely does. Bagwell has higher totals, but Clark was a better ball player. If Clark is out, then Bagwell is out too. Sorry. Especially if you adjust Bagwell’s numbers for the steriod era.”

Tammy: “Any idea why the size of his physique is half that of what it was when he played? I'm just saying.”

James D: “Yeah PED, he definitely used steroids. I mean, nobody has ever gained muscle mass, while in their prime years physically, without the aid of PEDs. Some people are just so dense, huh? People want this chump in the HOF but not Barry Bonds. Come on.....This guy is one of the reasons Bonds started using PEDs.”

Paul T: “Bagwell is an all-time obvious steroid guy.”

Tyrone S: “If Bagwell gets significant support for the Hall of Fame, then McGwire also deserves to be inducted. I have always strongly suspected that Bagwell was a juicer. Bagwell wasn't even a home run hitter when he was drafted or when he was in the minor leagues. He only bulked up and started hitting lots of home runs after making it to the major leagues. I have no doubt that he used steroids or other performance enhancers to bulk up to become one of the best power hitters of his generation.”

Jeremy: “This guy is a d-bag. The end.”

Paul T.:Bagwell and (Albert) Pujols are both juicers.”

GYGO:Bagwell hit 6 HR's in AAA before joining (Ken) Caminiti (who admitted to PEDs) in Houston. His numbers are shady. No Hall of Fame."

Joseph: Juicer!! Roids!!!

Eyeballeddie: “Hall of juicers. Crime Dog should be in. Home runs, no juice”

Ken K: “He has to prove he wasn't on steroids because his union would not allow testing. Maybe he can be in the Union Hall of Fame for guys that might have made the real HOF but didn't because of the stain on their era. Too bad but NONE of this era should get in.”

Mike: “Take a closer look at the drugs that he put in his body. He's a juicer.”

Jim:Bagwell was an excellent player. As good as he was, he's a very good player, not a HOF player. I always loved the Killer Bs though. I loved the way he played, but not HOF.”

Arthur: “He was every bit as juiced as McGwire and Palmeiro. Everyone knows that. That said...great player, a bit short in terms of career to warrant HOF.”

Jeremy: “No. None of these DOPERS are going to get in. PERIOD!”

Mike I. “As an American League fan, I would not consider him. He was not someone you would go out of your way to see play. If he was coming up to bat would you wait if you had to go to the bathroom? If Eddie Murray, Jim Rice, Frank Thomas come up, you would wait.”

TOOTH FAIRY on steroids, too!
Mark: “Why put him into the Hall, another steroid user, together with Biggio, Clemens, and Pettite, yet not put in McGwire, Bonds, and Palmeiro....Please, Please, Please STOP THE Hypocrisy!!!! Please don’t tell me these guys didn’t do Steroids unless you are going to tell me that there is a Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, and Easter Bunny.

Robert: “I have to wonder about PEDs with Bagwell. I saw him at spring training one year....the guy had the biggest arms I have ever seen (including the NFL and WWE). Convenient how the injuries took him out of the game right when all the roid hoopla began. He flew under the radar in the roid scandal.”

Skip T: “Major juicer, don't see how he can possibly be included in the HOF. Pretty sad that he's even being considered.”

Dennis: “Bagwell was a good player, but great only a few seasons. Look up his stats”

Josh: “This is all going to come down to him playing for the Astros, and not the Yankees, Red Sox, or Cubs.”

Scott W.: “I'm a diehard Braves fan. So I got to see Bagwell going back to when Atlanta was in the NL West and because they played the Astros a lot in the postseason. I like Bagwell, I thought he was a very underrated player for a while. However, the only way he's getting into the HOF is with a ticket. It's not called the Hall of Very Good, it's the Hall of Fame. Yes, I understand there are people who've been let in on sentiment (Bill Mazeroski, Phil Rizzuto, Ryan Sandberg, Pee Wee Reese, just to name a few). Having said that, Bagwell was a very good player for a good amount of time. He was a great player for a short time (those last couple of years were painful to watch). Baseball’s HOF is the oldest (1939) and has the fewest members. So it's pretty tough to get in except for the veterans committee (see Mazeroski). Good guy, no PED's but as a baseball historian, I could never put this guy in the HOF.”

Eddie: “Steroids. there are over a hundred players who names have not been disclosed. Maybe Bagwell was one of them.”

Hairyflex: “I never looked at Bagwell as a Hall Of Fame player. I always looked at him as a productive hitter with above average defensive skills. I would be a little disappointed if they elected him in to the Hall for being an above average player.”

Craig: “This is not about extrapolated stats or ifs, buts or couldas in different parks, or health and injury and absolutely nothing to do with class. 30/30 is a free agent stat and has nothing to do with greatness. Many have it right in saying above average, but not great. He is marginal and the reason his poor playoff performance is mentioned is because that can be the deal maker. If you are marginal, but carry a team when it counts or consistently come through in the clutch that is a sign of greatness. Greatness involves what you do under pressure. I know there are comparable players in the Hall, but they shouldn't be there. I'm a lifelong Expos fan (RIP) and still don't see how (Andre) Dawson makes it after years of rejection, nothing changed.

Adrian: “Absolutely not. A very good player, but not a Hall of Famer. You need to be an ALL TIME great to get in. A bunch of ignorant people simply don't know the history of the game to evaluate anyone with that perspective. All they know are the superlatives the announcers spew out to keep them watching.”

Bea: “If you have to make a case you don’t belong. Did Babe Ruth need to make a case? No.”

Ed: “His post season batting average is what, .200? We used to call him Mr April. And, he took longer to hit a grand slam than most anybody I know, was it HR number two fifty? He is nervous, and he showed that with runners on base and post season."

Albert: “I would like to know how people "KNOW" that this guy, or any other player from the '90s for that matter, DID NOT use steroids or other PEDs. Until recently, NO ONE thought Clemens, Palmeiro, (Miguel) Tejada or A-Rod did them either. Need I remind you that there are over 100 players out there on a list, that FOR SURE took PEDs and we don't know any of them. Those are just the few that failed the test then. Many, including Bagwell, retired before the tests. Remember also, McGwire and Sosa and Bonds have NEVER tested positive either. NOT testing positive doesn't prove anything either. Bagwell had his monster season near the end of his career at the height of the PED era, talk about a RED FLAG. Just like Griffey, the most common injury suffered by steroid users is to the hamstring and groin areas. Which just happens to be the injuries that derailed Junior's career. I refuse to believe anyone that excelled during the ‘90s didn't use PEDs. Even if they release the names on the test list, the fact is they supposedly only tested about 1/2 of major leaguers anyway.

Roberto: “He's not a Hall of Famer. I saw his entire career. No matter how you water it down. No matter how you try and separate him from the 'Steroid Era' abusers.”

And last but not least, from good old reliable TrueBlueBrewCrew:

“I always loved Bagpipes when I was growing up and feel that he is a no-brainer Hall of any other era. But I don't mean that in the sense that his numbers don't look that good overall compared to his contemporaries. Look at the counting stats, the ratios, the awards (ROY, MVP, GG, SS and 2-time member of the 30/30 Club) and it's clear that he is more than worthy of induction, especially when compared with other players that are already inducted in Cooperstown.

Even by Bill James' HOF Monitor and Standards on baseball-reference, Bagwell scores well above the average Hall of Famer. However, the fact that Bagwell made his name entirely in the "Steroid Era" casts a negative light on his career. There are a fair number of sportswriters, members of the BBWAA included, who have said they won't vote any players into the Hall if their careers were spent primarily during the stretch which can loosely be defined as from '88 to '06.

Some others have stated they wouldn't vote power hitters from that era in because they don't know what numbers can be proven to have been naturally achieved. Granted, I disagree with the guilty until proven innocent theory, but there are a fair number of BBWAA members who have said they'd rather cast a wary eye at everybody and vote for nobody, rather than vote a player in only to find out later that the player had used PEDs.

But let's also not be naive and pretend that Jeff Bagwell is assuredly clean. Let's at least be skeptical and keep in mind that every player perceived to have been "clean", from (Ken) Griffey, to (Greg) Maddux, to the "Big Hurt", to the "Big Unit", all could ostensibly have used and gotten away with it due to the complete lack of testing up until the '04 season. We simply don't know.

Besides, Bagpipes didn't get his nickname because his arms were the size of toothpicks. The guy was far more Popeye than Pee Wee Reese. He possessed a legitimately discussed physique in an era that was overflowing with discussion-worthy physiques, much of which helped him uncoil his body from that awkward seated position to drive 400+ homers over the fence.

Let's also not ignore his minor league career. Bagwell hit a mere six, that's right, SIX HOME RUNS, in over 200 games in the minor leagues, then went on to hit upper 30's to mid 40's on a regular basis during his major league career. I understand some players have to develop power and grow into their bodies, but Bagwell likely lies at the extreme end in baseball history as far as hitting for power at the major league level after exhibiting virtually none in the minors.

Let's also not ignore the fact that Bagwell was one of the players highlighted by Sports Illustrated in '04 in an article on "the incredibly shrinking ballplayer." I remember it talking about prominent players, such as Bagwell, Pudge (Rodriguez) and Jason Giambi and the fact that they had all shown up for spring training noticeably lighter and less bulky for spring training in 2004. Not coincidentally, MLB had enacted league-wide drug testing with penalties for the first time heading into the '04 season and many players were forced to give up the juice or risk penalties, scorn and shame/humiliation if they were to be caught.

Pudge and Giambi were both named in the Mitchell Report (which was far from complete seeing as it revolved around the trainers of merely two teams that got busted and talked, Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee) and both are extremely tarnished by Steroids. Not to mention we still don't know over 90% of the names of players who initially tested positive under the auspices of anonymity back in '03, nor will we until the remainder of the list is leaked to the public.

So while I loved Jeff Bagwell as a player, leader, franchise icon, and individual, and truly believe he is more-than-worthy of election to Cooperstown, it would be extremely naive of anybody to think that he is anything more than a huge question mark to be inducted into baseball's hallowed ground.

Seriously, would ANYBODY be surprised if Bagwell's name were on the list of 104 players who tested positive in '03, or if he were eventually linked by those within the PED community as a legitimate steroid user??" END.

The Peanut Gallery has set the Over/Under (for reading purposes only) on Bagwell's percentage of votes in this year's voting at 27.5%.



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