Former first baseman Jeff Bagwell, catcher Ivan Rodriguez, and outfielder Tim Raines were inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York on Sunday. Former commissioner Bud Selig and executive John Schuerholz were also enshrined via the Veterans Committee.
Bagwell, 49, earned 86.2 percent of the vote in his seventh year on the ballot. Over parts of 15 seasons, all with the Astros, he hit .297/.408/.540 with 449 home runs and 1,529 RBI. He won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1991 and the NL Most Valuble Player Award in the strike-shortened 1994 season. Defensive stats, particularly during his playing days, aren’t very illuminating, but Bagwell was viewed as one of the best defensive first basemen during his career. He also had surprising speed for a first baseman, stealing 202 bases in his career, including 31 in 1997 and 30 in ’99. Bagwell was famously traded when he was a prospect back in 1990 from the Red Sox to the Astros in exchange for reliever Larry Andersen. Bagwell mentioned Andersen in his speech, saying, “I thank Larry for being such a great reliever that the Red Sox wanted you.”
Rodriguez, 45, received 76 percent of the vote in his first appearance on the ballot. The 14-time All-Star played 13 of his 21 seasons with the Rangers, while spending five with the Tigers, two with the Nationals, and one each with the Yankees, Astros, and Marlins, winning the World Series in 2003 with the Marlins. Across those 21 seasons, Rodriguez hit .296/.334/.464 with 311 home runs and 1,332 RBI. He won the 1999 American League MVP Award, helping the Rangers reach the postseason. Rodriguez was one of the most feared catchers against whom to run on, as he threw out 46 percent of attempted base-stealers.
Raines, 57, got 86 percent of the vote in his 10th season on the ballot. He received increasing support as the public and sportswriters grew to accept Sabermetrics. Jonah Keri has famously been Raines’ most ardent supporter, having argued his case for most of the past decade which helped increase awareness both of Sabermetrics and of Raines’ production. Over parts of 23 seasons, 13 of which were spent with the Expos, Raines hit .294/.385/.425 with 808 stolen bases, the fifth-most in baseball history. He made the All-Star team seven times and won the 1996 World Series with the Yankees.
The 2018 Hall of Fame ballot will bring back Trevor Hoffman, Vladimir Guerrero, Edgar Martinez, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez, Larry Walker, Fred McGriff, Jeff Kent, Garry Sheffield, Billy Wagner, and Sammy Sosa. Newcomers include Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Scott Rolen, Andruw Jones, Johan Santana, Johnny Damon, and Omar Vizquel.