56 percent of the vote
Jeff Bagwell struck out in his second attempt at making the Baseball Hall of Fame, through little fault of his own.
The all-time Houston Astros great fell almost 20 percentage points short of the votes needed for entrance into baseball's most exclusive club, getting named on 56 percent of the ballots in his second-year on the ballot.
Bagwell received 41 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility, so this is a step forward. A player needs 75 percent of the vote to get into the Hall.
No matter what era Bagwell's numbers in are put in, they'd stand out. What more do you want?
Barry Larkin — the Cincinnati Reds shortstop who made the All-Star team 12 times — is the lone player who was elected, drawing 86 percent of the vote with the results announced live on the MLB Network Monday afternoon. Larkin called it "an almost out of body experience."
Bagwell deserved that experience. Why make him continue to wait?
The Baseball Writers Association of America — the same group that almost universally ignored steroids in baseball for years — is apparently punishing Bagwell for unfounded rumors of performance enhancing drugs use. Bagwell's repeatedly denied using steroids and there's never been Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens smoking gun type evidence tied to him.
But even if someone wants to assume that Bagwell used because he looked muscular in an era when almost everyone used steroids, the unspoken scolding becomes almost comical.
No matter what era you put Bagwell's numbers in, they'd stand out. A .297 lifetime batting average, 449 home runs, more than 1,500 RBIs, that MVP Award (when he drove in 116 runs in only 400 at-bats), a 30-30 season for a first baseman. What more do you want?
Next year Bagwell will be joined on the ballot by fellow Killer B Craig Biggio. And oh yeah, Clemens, Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mike Piazza will be first-time eligible too. Think steroids will be a topic?