Baseball Hall of Fame 2012: BBWAA Drops Ball on Jeff Bagwell's Hall Induction

Patrick LanguzziContributor IIIJanuary 9, 2012

HOUSTON - AUGUST 30:  Houston Astros hitting coach Jeff Bagwell #5 looks on from the dugout at Minute Maid Park during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 30, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

For the second straight year, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) struck out on Jeff Bagwell’s induction into Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Hall of Fame. 

Bagwell received 56 percent of the 75 percent of the votes needed for induction into this year's Hall of Fame class of 2012. 

But some say Bagwell needs to wait, in part due to the era that he played in. 

That era being the “PED” or “Steroid era”.

Bagwell has been accused by some in the BBWAA of taking steroids, all while never having failed any known drug test, or showing up on any banned substance list, at least to my knowledge.

The bottom line is Bagwell belongs in the Hall of Fame—not in his fifteenth and final year of eligibility, or through other means such as the Veterans Committee, but now

There’s little denying the fact that Bagwell’s numbers are Hall of Fame worthy.

In a recent discussion I had with an unnamed member of the BBWAA, when faced with the question of whether or not they would be voting for Bagwell, this was the response I received, “Not sure numbers are legit, and I can wait”.

"Wait for what," I said, "for Bagwell to somehow be proven to have taken a banned substance?"  Their reply, "Yes, eligibility period is 15 years."

The discussion became heated and I asked, "Well, tell me how you can possibly hold back your vote if you have no proof?" 

The writer's reply: "They tainted the game, not us."

That may be true, but hardly the response I was looking for, or wanted to hear.

In his 15 years of major league service, Bagwell was a four-time All-Star, won three Silver Slugger awards, the 1991 Rookie of the Year, the 1994 MVP and a Gold Glove.

He finished with 439 home runs, 1,529 RBI, 1,517 runs and 2,314 hits.  According to baseball insider Peter Gammons, all players with at least 1,500 RBI and 1,500 runs, who have been eligible, are in the Hall of Fame. 

Bagwell's 162-game average is equally impressive: 34 HR, 115 RBI, .297 BA, .408 OBP, .540 SLG and a .948 OPS.

One thing’s for sure, the BBWAA needs to figure out how they are going to deal with players from this era. 

Next year's ballot will introduce more known players linked to performance-enhancing drugs such as Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds.

How long will Bagwell have to wait until he finally gets inducted into Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame?

Or will he ever?