Found January 06, 2012 on Fox Sports Houston:
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Early next week the writer's choices to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame will be announced. Those elected will have received at least 75 of the writers placing them on their ballot. Will Astro great Jeff Bagwell be among the number? Many around baseball, and shown in informal polls of some writers, seem to think Jeff will be bypassed for the second year, although he is expected to get closer to the 75 vote than last year when he failed to reach even 50. If that is the case then for the second straight year the writers group will be wrong. Jeff Bagwell meets every criteria of a Hall of Famer. His career was exceptional to a large number of players who have already been enshrined. Some writers just don't want to elect a player from the steroid era that might have used performance enhancing drugs. Never mind that there has never been any evidence that Jeff failed any drug tests or any solid evidence that he used steroids or growth hormone. The circumstantial evidence bothers too many voters. Jeff was very close to Ken Caminiti who admitted he used steroids. True, but Cammy also used cocaine and other drugs. Jeff didn't. Caminiti's death was a result of a drug over dose. His biggest offensive seasons were not while Jeff was his teammate. He was the NL MVP while with the San Diego Padres. Jeff wasn't around then. Still, some wonder how the same Jeff Bagwell who broke in with the Astros as a man of modest stature and physical size became a solid rock of muscle. Bagwell may have been one who tried using creatine and other over the counter supplements like Andro which were available to anyone in health stores or even regular drug and grocery stores. There is no evidence at all that he purchased steroids or had a relationship with any shady "trainers." Mostly what Jeff Bagwell did was work out harder and longer than anyone else. After games it is now a routine for players to head to the weight room for a post game workout. Some barely go through the motions. Others work out hard. Bagwell was one of those. Players using PED's do not need to work out so hard to achieve size and strength. They just need to work enough to let the chemicals due their work. Body builders who are only concerned with the size of muscles need to work harder, but not baseball players. The bottom line on all this is that no one except Jeff knows for sure that he didn't go over the line, but because of that, he should not be kept out of the Hall of Fame due to the suspicions of some. If Jeff is denied it opens the door to a baseball version of the Salem Witch Trials. Suspicion is enough. It is not. If one is concerned about the statistical numbers Bagwell should be a lead pipe cinch. Even with the shoulder deterioration that ended his career early he still played 15 years, hit .297 with 449 home runs, 1529 RBIs, and 202 stolen bases. He was both a rookie of the year and MVP. He had a career on base percentage of .408. Those equal Hall of Fame. Will it be in 2012? Most think Barry Larkin and maybe Jack Morris will get enough votes this year and that Bagwell will have an improved total, but still fall short. Starting next year the ballot will be getting more crowded with players who do have superior numbers, but also have even more PED questionssome who have actually failed tests. (Craig Biggio will be on he ballot for the first time and with 3060 hits would be considered a nearly certain inductee since he has never been even suspected of using PEDs. A lower than exciting career .281 batting average could hurt him in 2013, but with those hits and other intangibles he will make the Hall at some point for sure.) There are some writers who feel their self-importance by withholding their vote for first year eligibles if they don't feel they are worthy of being a "super Hall of Famer" on the same level as Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb. You do realize Joe DiMaggio was not a first ballot Hall of Famer and even Ruth was left off eleven ballots in the first HOF election. The writers are hardly on target all the time. Withholding for a year or so is really a silly exercise. Once a player is inducted no one remembers how many votes they got or even how long they may have waited. They are all in the same club. They are all baseball Hall of Famers. Anyway, Bagwell is now a second year eligible. He needs to be one sooner rather than later. His career was Hall of Fame worthy.
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