Results tagged ‘ 2011 ’

Bagwell falls short in Hall of Fame voting

The Astros will have to wait for a Hall of Famer to call their own.

Jeff Bagwell, the Astros’ all-time leader in homers and RBIs, fell short of being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, garnering 41.7 percent of the vote on his first time on the ballot in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were the only two players to make the Hall this year.

Players need 75 percent of the votes to be elected and can stay on the ballot for as long as 15 years as long as they receive at least five percent of the vote.

Several voters who have made their Hall of Fame selections public have questioned whether Bagwell used performance-enhancing drugs during his career. Bagwell has routinely denied using any kind of drugs and hasn’t been linked to any juicing, but some voters remain skeptic.

Bagwell would appear to have a better chance to get elected next year when a thin group of first-timers are eligible, but the list of 2013 Hall of Fame eligible players includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Craig Biggio, Sammy Sosa and Mike Piazza.

Six former Astros have reached the Hall of Fame, but neither has worn an Astros cap: Nellie Fox, Eddie Mathews, Joe Morgan, Robin Roberts, Don Sutton and Nolan Ryan.

Bagwell, 42, last appeared in an Astros uniform during the 2005 World Series, the crowning achievement in a career that included the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1991 and the club’s only NL Most Valuable Player Award three years later.

Bagwell made four All-Star Game appearances, had 2,314 hits, 449 home runs, 1,529 RBIs and six trips to the playoffs. He was forced to retire after a degenerative shoulder condition made it impossible for him to throw a baseball and nearly impossible to swing a bat.

I still believe Bagwell will get in at some point, but in my mind he’s a classic case of a borderline Hall of Fame player. I say that as a guy who has extremely high standards for the Hall of Fame. I certainly can’t fault anyone for not voting for him because of his performance on the field.

Here’s the entire vote: Roberto Alomar 523 (90.0%), Bert Blyleven 463 (79.7%), Barry Larkin 361 (62.1%), Jack Morris 311 (53.5%), Lee Smith 263 (45.3%), Jeff Bagwell 242 (41.7%), Tim Raines 218 (37.5%), Edgar Martinez 191 (32.9%), Alan Trammell 141 (24.3%), Larry Walker 118 (20.3%), Mark McGwire 115 (19.8%), Fred McGriff 104 (17.9%), Dave Parker 89 (15.3%), Don Mattingly 79 (13.6%), Dale Murphy 73 (12.6%), Rafael Palmeiro 64 (11.0%), Juan Gonzalez 30 (5.2%), Harold Baines 28 (4.8%), John Franco 27 (4.6%), Kevin Brown 12 (2.1%), Tino Martinez 6 (1.0%), Marquis Grissom 4 (0.7%), Al Leiter 4 (0.7%), John Olerud 4 (0.7%), B.J. Surhoff 2 (0.3%), Bret Boone 1 (0.2%), Benito Santiago 1 (0.2%), Carlos Baerga 0, Lenny Harris 0, Bobby Higginson 0, Charles Johnson 0, Raul Mondesi 0, Kirk Rueter 0.

 

 

Young players hold key for Astros

Perhaps it’s foolish to assume Carlos Lee, Michael Bourn and Wandy Rodriguez will each have rebound seasons, and perhaps it’s too much to ask Hunter Pence and Bud Norris to keep improving. Can Brett Myers and Chris Johnson possibly duplicate their success of a year ago? That, too, is a question the Astros will ponder.

For the Astros to make any kind of noise in an improved National League Central in 2011, they will certainly everyone to be at their best. They’ll need Lee and Wandy to perform like they did in the second half, and Pence and Norris to continue to blossom. They’ll need Myers and Johnson to prove last year wasn’t a fluke, and newcomers Bill Hall and Clint Barmes to make an immediate impact.

These are not unreasonable expectations, though it’s likely there are going to be road bumps. But more than anything else, the Astros’ need to get more from their youngsters, specifically catcher Jason Castro and first baseman Brett Wallace. The Astros are committed to these two left-handed bats in the lineup, both of whom were taken high in the first round in the 2008 Draft.

Wallace, traded from the Blue Jays last July, and Castro both got their feet wet in 2010 with varing degrees of success/disappointment. But now it’s time for them to jump right in. Imagine how the whole lineup would change if Wallace slugs like he did in the Minor Leagues and Castro blossoms into a solid hitter? That would suddenly give the Astros a deep batting order to go along with a pretty good rotation.

The Astros dealt with and certainly expected both to struggle a year ago, but now they’re fully invested in Wallace and Castro. The Astros have some good catching prospects on the farm, but none on the immediate horizon. Castro is the guy. The team toyed with bringing in a left-fielder as an insurance policy if Lee had to move to first to replace Wallace, but general manager Ed Wade said at the Winter Meetings they wanted to remain fully committed to Wallace.

Hopefully, for the Astros’s sake, Wallace and Castro can reward that confidence this season and come into their own.

_____________________________________________________________________________

I hope everyone had a great holiday season, and, like most of you, I’m back to work this week. We’ll find out Wednesday if Astros icon Jeff Bagwell made it into the Hall of Fame, and the more I hear and see feedback from those with a vote, the less likely I think it is that he’ll make it on the first ballot. Colleague Peter Gammons thinks he should make it eventually, for what it’s worth.

Wednesday also begins the salary arbitration filing period, a list that is now down to five players following the trade of Matt Lindstrom: Wandy Rodriguez, Clint Barmes, Jeff Keppinger, Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence.

 

A closer look at Bagwell HOF candidacy

Jeff Bagwell is one of those players who probably should be in the Hall of Fame, but his case is certainly one that will be heavily debated. Bagwell was one a handful of new players on the ballot for election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and will now have to wait until Jan. 5 to find out if his name is called.

Bagwell probably would have been a slam-dunk to make the Hall of Fame had he reached 500 home runs. He fell just 51 shy of that mark when a degenerative shoulder ended his career early, but his numbers across the board appear Hall of Fame worthy. Sure, there will be those who will hold it against him that he played in era when many sluggers were under the suspicion of performance-enhancing drugs, but Bagwell has been clean of any allegations. There’s no reason to believe he didn’t do everything the right way.

Those same voters who are inclined to take into account such intangibles should remember Bagwell played most of his career in the cavernous Astrodome, which surely took several home runs away from him. And if you look beyond the gaudy numbers, the voters should remember Bagwell was a terrific defensive player and base runner. 

During Bagwell’s 15 seasons, the Astros had their most successful run in franchise history, qualifying for the postseason six times while finishing at .500 or above 13 times. The Astros had the third-best winning percentage (.531) in the NL from 1991-2005.

In 1994, Bagwell became just the third player in history to win the NL Most Valuable Player Award by a unanimous vote after hitting .368 with 39 home runs, 116 RBIs, a .750 slugging percentage, .451 on-base percentage and a career-high 1.201 OPS.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star, earned three Silver Slugger Awards, a Rawlings Gold Glove Award and remains as the only first baseman in NL history to reach the 30-30 club in home runs and stolen bases in a season, which he did twice in his career.

Here are more Bagwell stats, courtesy of the Astros: 

HOW BAGWELL MEASURES UP ALL-TIME

  • .948 career OPS ranks 22nd in Major League history and 10th among right-handed hitters. Four of the nine right-handed hitters ranked ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame, while four others are not yet eligible for induction.
  • .408 career on-base percentage ranks 15th all-time among right-handed hitters and ninth all-time among first basemen (3rd among RH first basemen).
  • is one of just 12 players in baseball history to hit at least 400 home runs while compiling a .408-or-higher onbase percentage.
  • is the only first baseman in NL history to reach the 30-30 club in home runs and stolen bases, and the only first baseman in ML history to reach this milestone twice in a career.
  • is the just the eighth player in ML history to win both the Rookie of the Year (1991) and Most Valuable Player (1994) awards.
  • is the only first baseman in ML history and one of 12 players all-time to reach 400 home runs and 200 stolen bases.
  • is one of five players in history to collect 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored in six consecutive seasons (1996-2001). Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Albert Pujols are the others.
  • is the only player in history to record 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, 100 runs scored and 100 walks in six consecutive seasons (1996-2001).
  • .297 career average ranks 18th all-time among players with 400 home runs, and 10th all-time among righthanded hitters with 400 home runs.

AMONG HIS PEERS (1991-2005)

  • 1,529 RBIs ranked second in the Majors and first among right-handed hitters.
  • 1,517 runs scored ranked third in the Majors.
  • ranked third in the Majors in hits (2,314), walks (1,401) and extra-base hits (969).
  • ranked fifth in the Majors in home runs (449) and games played (2,150).
  • reached 100 RBI eight times, 100 runs scored nine times, 30 home runs eight times, 100 walks seven times, 1.000 OPS four times, .300 batting average six times.
  • finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting five times.

SOLID DECADE

  • from 1994-2003, led all first basemen in hits, runs, walks, extra-base hits, doubles and stolen bases, ranked second in games and RBIs and third in home runs.

Blum option not exercised; Michaels to be picked up

Veteran infielder Geoff Blum told reporters following Sunday’s season-ending win over the Cubs the Astros have told him they won’t exercise his option for 2011.

The Astros plan to exercise the $900,000 option for outfielder Jason Michaels, according to a person close to the situation. Astros general manager Ed Wade didn’t want to comment on the Michaels situation, but confirmed he told Blum  his option wasn’t being exercised.

Blum, who played five seasons in two different stints in Houston, said he was informed by Wade and manager Brad Mills he wasn’t going to return following the Astros’ loss to the Cubs on Saturday. He had an option that would have paid him $1.65 million, but he’ll get a $150,000 buyout instead.

Wade said he’s leaving the door open to Blum’s return in a separate deal.

A teary-eyed Blum nearly broke down in front of reporters Sunday.

“I do know that I will not be here,” Blum said. “I’ll miss being here, trust me. I’ve had several conversations with people within the organization and my services are not going to be needed here.”

Blum, a switch-hitter who won a World Series ring with the Chicago White Sox in 2005, hit .267 with two homers and 22 RBIs. He missed most of August after undergoing surgery to remove loose chips in his elbow.

Blum, who broke in with Montreal in 1999 and played with the Astros from 2002-03, was one the most senior members of the team and a leader in the clubhouse. He’s also played for Tampa Bay and San Diego during his 12-year career.

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