Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 Hall of Fame Week: The Steroid Era Sluggers

It is Day Two of "Hall of Fame Week" here at North Dakota Twins Fan.  Yesterday I took a look at some of the players that I feel are on the borderline for making the Hall of Fame.  Today I will look at some of the sluggers on the ballot that have been connected to the "Steroid Era" in baseball.

Jeff Bagwell- 15 seasons, Houston Astros
Accolades: 4-time All-Star, 1 MVP, 1 Gold Glove, 3 Silver Sluggers, and NL Rookie of the Year.

There are some that think that the numbers that Bagwell put up during his career make it hard to believe that he didn't have some kind of connection to steroids.   Here is an in-depth look at Bagwell's career and how he should be "innocent until proven guilty." At my first non-Twins baseball game I got the privilege of seeing Bagwell play.  In that game he stole the show by hitting two homeruns and overshadowing a monster homerun that was hit by Mark McGwire.  His one trip to the World Series was a rough one with him finishing with a .125 BA. On the whole his postseason stats aren't very good.  He has a .226 BA with only 2 HR in 9 series. For his career Bagwell has very good numbers compared with the other first baseman that are in the HOF.  He is in the top 65 players all time in HR (34th), OPS (21st), RBI (45th), R (62nd), and WAR (57th).  These high ranking should get him in to the Hall in the future.  

For his career Bagwell put up the following numbers:
BA: .297
H: 2314 (134th)
HR: 449 (34th)
R: 1517 (62nd)
RBI: 1529 (45th)
OPS: .948 (21st)
WAR: 79.9 (57th)

Mark McGwire- 16 seasons, Oakland Athletics, and St. Louis Cardinals
Accolades: 12-time All-Star, 1 Gold Glove, 3 Silver Sluggers, AL Rookie of the Year, Broke the single season homerun record

The magical summer of 1998 was a great thing to experience as a fan of baseball.  To watch highlights every night wondering if Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, or Ken Griffey Jr. had hit another homerun.  At the time the fans were able to push aside some of the steroid issue to see these monster men mash balls out of parks across America.  Voters for the Hall-of-Fame are having a tougher time pushing those steroid issues to the wayside.  In his four years on the ballot he his never received more than 23.7% of the vote.  McGwire was the first major name from the steroid era to be put up to vote for the Hall.  He has been the guinea pig for all other players that will come after him.  His numbers say that he should be in but will the cloud of steroids hold him out of baseball's most prestigious honor.

For his career McGwire put up the following numbers:
BA: .263
H: 1626
HR: 583 (10th)
R: 1167 (195th)
RBI: 1414 (67th)
OPS: .982 (10th)
WAR: 63.1 (131st)

Rafael Palmeiro- 20 seasons, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles
Accolades: 4-time All-Star, 3 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Sluggers, 1 Sporting News Player of the Year

He is one of only four players to be a member of the 3,000 hit club and the 500 HR club.  All the other members are in the Hall-of-Fame (Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray).  The one problem to his candidacy is the fact that he failed a Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) test in 2005.  In a recent interview he still says that he didn't take PEDs and that the test was a mix-up.  The voters aren't going to look fondly on that failed drug test.  Since this is Palmerio's first time on the ballot it will be interesting to see if he gets around the same percentage that McGwire has been getting over the years.  I see the two players being connected for voters.  If you vote for one you most surely have to vote for the other.

For his career Palmeiro put  up the following numbers:
BA: .288
H: 3020 (24th)
HR: 569 (12th)
R: 1663 (31st)
RBI: 1835 (15th)
OPS: .885 (86th)
WAR: 66.0 (109th)

Check back tomorrow as I unveil my ballot for the 2011 Hall-of-Fame.  I will continue my coverage of the Hall-of-Fame the rest of this week.  The schedule for the week is listed below:
Monday- The Borderline Players
Tuesday- The Steroid Era Sluggers
Wednesday- My Ballot
Thursday- Reflection on the 2011 HOF Class
Friday- Killebrew and Me

1 comment:

Ben MacKenzie said...

I love Hall of Fame voting week--nothing to do but sit back and have the best bar argument of all time: "my favorite guy is more deserving than your favorite guy". Thanks for putting it all into direct and clear cut terminology for us (especially the WAR...I'm not a sabremetrics guy all the time, but I do love the WAR).

I wonder about the steroid era though. (I'd like it if voters could cast ballots and put little asterisks next to their names so that the plaques all end up in the bathroom.) But do you think they might be able to discern between guys who clearly used (and had the monster late career years to suggest it) like McGwire and Palmerio, and those who seemed to be curtailed by injuries and suffered a more steady decline--like Bagwell? (Hoping for a yes on this one)