The fine baseball writing gentlemen of the Chicago Tribune published their Hall of Fame ballots Saturday, and what a job they did. All seven of the voters agreed that Roberto Alomar was a Hall of Famer, yet not a one picked Jeff Bagwell.
And what’s especially brilliant is not a one would admit docking him for believing he was a steroid user. Phil Rogers didn’t think “his resume was quite strong enough.” Several declined to mention him at all.
Bagwell, of course, needs to be named on 75 percent of ballots to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. The current guess is that he’ll be lucky to clear 40 percent. That’s not so bad; most players who debut at 30 percent or higher eventually are elected. However, if Bagwell doesn’t make it this year or next, he’s going to be knocked down in 2013 and 2014 by the glut of strong candidates set to debut.
So, yeah, barring some eventual evidence of steroid usage, Bagwell will be a Hall of Famer. But while his production justifies a first-ballot induction, all signs point to a long wait.