Three players were elected to the Hall of Fame today by the BBWAA. None of the three played for the Boston Red Sox, although one did play in the minors for them. Nevertheless, I enjoyed watching all three players. Jeff Bagwell was a terrific hitter and first-baseman, and of course the questions of what might have been were always present. I will count down my favorite Bagwell cards in my collection later in the post. Ivan Rodriguez was a terrific defensive catcher, and could hit a little bit too. Finally, I missed the best of Tim Raines, but he was still a decent player with the White Sox, and was one of the few Yankees I actually liked.
The representatives of the Boston Red Sox did not fare as well. Here is a quick rundown, in descending order by vote total:
ROGER CLEMENS (239 votes)
Clemens took a big step forward and received 54.1% of the vote. It now looks likely that he will be inducted in the next couple of years or so.
CURT SCHILLING (199 votes)
Schilling's mouth got him in a whole bunch of trouble and he saw a 31 vote decrease this year. It may be a one-year thing, hopefully. His political opinions and his Twitter comments, neither of which were at all related to his baseball performance, seem to have rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.
LEE SMITH (151 votes)
It was Smith's final year on the BBWAA ballot. Next stop: Veteran's Committee.
MANNY RAMIREZ (105 votes)
Manny's biggest problem is the fact that he tested positive for PEDs twice at the tail end of his career. Nevertheless, he did reasonably okay on his first ballot. Time will tell if he can build enough momentum to make it in. Strictly based on stats, he should be in.
BILLY WAGNER (45 votes)
Wagner was a terrific closer who has a better case than a lot of people realize. Is he a Hall of Famer though? I guess time will tell.
EDGAR RENTERIA (2 votes)
His two votes mostly recognize the fact that he had the World Series-clinching hit in two World Series. He will no longer be on the ballot.
JASON VARITEK (2 votes)
I predicted one or two votes for my all-time favorite player and I was apparently right on point. His numbers do not measure up, though there is an increase in appreciation for his defensive skills such as pitch-framing. He was an elite pitch-framer. He drops off the ballot as well, though I am not surprised by this.
TIM WAKEFIELD (1 vote)
I am surprised by the one vote Wakefield received. He will always be a favorite of mine, but his chances at the Hall of Fame were always slim to none.
J.D. DREW (0 votes)
Drew was a much better player than his reputation. He deserved a little more of a look.
FREDDY SANCHEZ (0 votes)
He won a batting title in a terrific 2006 season with the Pirates. Like Bagwell, he was part of a bad trade, but he was never going to make it to the Hall.
ORLANDO CABRERA (0 votes)
Cabrera will always be remembered as the shortstop on the 2004 Red Sox World Championship team. That is good enough.
MATT STAIRS (0 votes)
Stairs was a lot of fun to watch, mostly because he did not look like a professional baseball player, but he was not getting in.
MIKE CAMERON (0 votes)
Cameron is another player that I think should have gotten a few more votes. He was a pretty good player for quite awhile. He was a fantastic defensive outfielder who had some pop. No, I don't think he should have gotten in, but I am surprised he received no votes at all.
The biggest surprise among players that dropped off the ballot in their first year was Jorge Posada. I really thought that he might stick on the ballot for several seasons and possibly build some support. He received just 17 votes.
Now, as promised, my countdown of my favorite Jeff Bagwell cards in my collection:
Not much to say about this one. I kind of like the border on it, but this is as generic as they come.
Slightly less generic than the first one, though the border is annoying. He looked very young at this point, and even has a wisp of a mullet.
Of course the reason that Bagwell never appeared in a Major League game with the Red Sox is all because of this guy: