A generation ago, Jeff Bagwell would have been a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee.
Bagwell's resume for the 15 years he played with the Houston Astros is sparkling. Bagwell, however, is back this year on the Hall of Fame ballot for the second time.
A year ago, his first year of eligibility, he was named on only 41.7 percent of the ballots cast by veteran members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, well below the 75 percent support needed for enshrinement in Cooperstown.
Historically, Bagwell does have in his favor the fact that his first-ballot support is consistent with the likes of Jim Rice, Gary Carter and Bruce Sutter, who all overcame initial voter reluctance to be honored by the Hall of Fame.
Bagwell certainly has the stats to support his membership. A minor league third baseman whom Boston traded to the Astros for right-handed reliever Larry Andersen, Bagwell made the jump from Double-A to the big leagues, moved across the infield to first ...