The Baseball Hall of Fame is set to welcome three inductees for its class of 2013. Joining the honored legends will be umpire Hank O'Day, executive Jacob Ruppert and multi-position hitting specialist Deacon White.
Which former players deserved to join these pioneers in the Hall of Fame?
Certain players were first-ballot candidates who deserved to get in, but suffered because of the cloud created by the MLB's steroid era. Others were further into their Hall of Fame bids, but were overlooked because the steroid era overshadowed their accomplishments.
Unfortunately, they'll have to wait another year for induction.
Position: First baseman
Experience: 15 seasons
Career Statistics: .297/.408/.540, 2314 H, 1517 R, 488 2B, 449 HR, 1529 RBI
Jeff Bagwell made his third career appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot, receiving 339 of the necessary 427 votes. Spending all 15 years of his career with the Houston Astros, Bagwell pieced together a career that deserved a selection.
Unfortunately, Bagwell is paying the price for the steroid sins made by the likes of Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro.
Bagwell finished his career with 488 doubles, 449 home runs and 1,529 RBI, ranking 14th amongst first baseman in each category. Bagwell is also 11th in runs scored at his position with 1,517 and 28th in career hits with 2,314.
Of qualified players, Bagwell checks in at 10th for OPS (.948) among first basemen.
Bagwell hit over .300 in six seasons, cracked over 30 home runs in nine season and had 40 home runs in three seasons while amassing 100 RBI in eight season. Paired with 10 seasons above 30 doubles and nine season where he had more than 100 runs scored, Bagwell is one of the greatest offensive players in MLB history.
Did we mention Bagwell was the 1994 National League MVP, an owner of a Gold Glove and a three-time Silver Slugger?
Position: Second baseman
Experience: 20 seasons
Career Statistics: .281/.383/.433, 3060 H, 1844 R, 668 2B, 291 HR, 1175 RBI, 414 SB
Craig Biggio was up for Hall of Fame induction for the first time in 2013. In the end, Biggio received 388 out of the necessary 427 votes to be selected, leading all players on the writers' ballot.
Those 39 additional votes should have been present.
Biggio was a pure contact hitter, compiling 3,060 career hits for an all-time ranking of 20th. He's also fifth with 668 doubles and 14th with 1,844 runs scored.
Paired with 414 stolen bases and the fact that he played 20 full seasons with the same team, it's safe to say Biggio is everything that's good about professional baseball.
Biggio played with a Houston Astros squad that was hardly a consistent title threat, placing loyalty above all else. He was a seven-time All-Star, a five-time Silver Slugger and won four Gold Gloves.
If not for the fact that he played during the steroid era, Biggio would be preparing for the Hall of Fame ceremony.
Experience: 16 seasons
Career Statistics: .308/.377/.545, 2127 H, 1048 R, 344 2B, 427 HR, 1335 RBI
Mike Piazza joined Biggio as a legendary player on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time. Piazza received 329 out of the necessary 427 votes to be inducted, which can only be described as disappointing.
Widely believed to be the best-hitting catcher in the history of professional baseball, one can't help but believe Piazza would have been inducted on the first ballot had he played in a different era.
Piazza finished with a career batting average of .308 for the third-highest average of any catcher with at least 5,000 plate appearances. He also hit 427 home runs, 38 more than the next leading catcher, and ranks fourth at his position in RBI with 1,335.
I'm still waiting for a rational reason as to why he wasn't inducted in 2013.
Piazza was a 12-time All-Star, a 10-time Silver Slugger and the 1993 National League Rookie of the Year. He also hit above .300 in nine consecutive seasons, clubbing at least 30 home runs in nine years and topping 100 RBI in six.
That's what you call a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Position: Starting pitcher
Experience: 20 seasons
Career Statistics: 436 GS, 3261.0 IP, 83 CG, 20 SHO, 216-146, 3.46 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 3116 SO
Pitchers of this era and the previous era are not as glamorous as they were in the early to mid-1900s, when virtually every outing was a complete game. No one will match Cy Young's 749 complete games or Walter Johnson's 110 shutouts.
Regardless of that, we shouldn't be punishing players like Curt Schilling for a previous generation's brilliance or the steroid-related mistakes of their peers.
Schilling picked up 216 career victories, throwing 83 complete games and tossing 20 career shutouts. He also ranks 15th with 3,116 strikeouts and is one of the greatest postseason pitchers in MLB history.
Three World Series titles and the 2001 World Series MVP award offer enough evidence to back that claim.
From the infamous bloody sock game to Schilling's work shutting down the New York Yankees' dynasty in 2001, he's done it all. With six All-Star Game appearances and three seasons with at least 20 victories, Schilling is a true legend.
It's unjust that he's still waiting on a Hall of Fame nod after receiving just 221 votes in 2013.
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