In the Heyman Hall of Fame post, I talked about how memory doesn’t always serve us well. About how Heyman’s “you just had to be there” and multiple references to “impact,” in support of Jack Morris’ Hall of Fame case weren’t persuasive to me. An excellent counterexample of all of that comes in the form of Jeff Fletcher’s column explaining his thought process on voting for Jeff Bagwell:
Applying the eyeball test to Bagwell, which is usually all I do with players before it’s actually decision time, my instinct was that he was not a Hall of Famer. I don’t remember at any time through Bagwell’s career thinking that this was a guy who deserved to be enshrined with the likes of Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron … When I began digging into the numbers, my guess was that Bagwell would probably wind up falling short. But I dug nonetheless.
And when he dug he realized that his memory had failed him. Or perhaps he just hadn’t really appreciated Bagwell at the time seeing as though no one outside of Texas watched every Astros game back in the 90s. It didn’t take an exploration of esoteric metrics and annoyingly-acronymed statistics. It merely took a pair of fresh eyes taking a fresh look at the record which Jeff Bagwell complied at the moment Bagwell first became eligible for consideration.
Not really hard, was it?