Welcome to Cooperstown: Raines, Bagwell, and Rodriguez Are Hall-of-Famers

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Welcome to Cooperstown: Raines, Bagwell, and Rodriguez Are Hall-of-Famers

Baseball Is Fun

Today is/was the day that the Baseball Writers Association of America released their newest elected members of the Hall of Fame, and we can add three names to the list:

  • Tim Raines – 86.0%
  • Jeff Bagwell – 86.2%
  • Ivan Rodriguez – 76.0%

Alternatively, finalists Trevor Hoffman (74.0%) and Valdimir Guerrero (71.7%) were oh-so-close, but couldn’t quite reach the necessary 75% threshold (that hurts especially bad for Hoffman, but he has many more years to get in).

Raines, on the other hand, was (finally!) elected into the Hall of Fame with a solid 86% of the vote … and just in time, too. Last year, he finished with 69.8% of the vote, and had he fallen short once again, he would have lost eligibility going forward – so that’s a really positive story, right there.

In his twelve years with the Expos, five years with the White Sox, three years with the Yankees, and three final years split between the Athletics, Expos, Orioles, and Marlins, Raines put up an impressive 66.4 WAR, which ranks 72nd among all non-pitchers in baseball history and 10th among all left fielders.

Three Awesome Facts:

Tim Raines …

  • Stole 808 bases (5th all-time)
  • Walked more (12.8%) than struck out (9.3%)
  • Is 59th in all-time hits (2,605)

The next new entrant is Jeff Bagwell, who came perilously close to the Hall last year (71.6% of the vote) – his sixth time on the ballot – but just missed out. Today, he joins his peers in the Hall of Fame with 86.2% of the vote.

In his fifteen seasons in Major League Baseball (all spent with the Astros), Bagwell recorded an impressive 80.2 WAR, which ranks 36th all time and 7th among first basemen in MLB history.

Three Awesome Facts:

Jeff Bagwell …

  • Walked 14.9% of the time (T-19th among 1B, 60th all-time)
  • Got on-base at .408 clip (10th among 1B, T-32nd all-time)
  • Hit 449 Home Runs (17th among 1B, 38th All-time)*

There’s actually a lot more you can say about Jeff Bagwell’s on-field excellence (top 10 in runs scored, top 12 in SLG, top 20 in RBI all among first basemen), but I found those three to be the most interesting.

Oh look, I worked them in anyway.

And finally, Ivan Rodriguez was narrowly elected into the BBWAA Hall of Fame on his very first attempt with 76% of the votes. While plenty of players have been first-ballot Hall-of-Famers (51 to be exact) before Rodriguez became the 52nd today, it is still an especially impressive feat.

Check out the list of first-timers here at Baseball Reference and you’ll see what I mean.

Rodriguez spent 21 years in the Major Leagues, most of which came with the Texas Rangers (12.5 years), although he later played for the Marlins (1 year), Tigers (4.5 years), Yankees (0.5 years), Astros (0.5 years), Nationals (2 years). During that time he collected 68.9 WAR, good for 65th all-time and third among catchers.

Three Awesome Facts:

Ivan Rodriguez …

  • Hit 311 HRs (7th among catchers all-time)
  • Is the only catcher with > 10,000 PAs
  • Has the most hits of any catcher ever

I know that those three “awesome facts,” mostly relate to catchers, but he does rank well among all positions players too. It’s just that he was clearly one of the most talented offensive catchers of all-time and I didn’t want that to get lost on us today.

So let’s give a warm internet-y congratulations to the three newest members of the Hall of Fame (I assume that means some sort of cat-related .gif). And to those that just missed … better luck next year.


P.S. Having secured just 34.2% of the vote in his 15th time on the ballot (he was grandfathered in), Lee Smith will no longer be eligible to be voted into the Hall of Fame.

*I cleaned up the language in these stats.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami