The 2011 Baseball Hall of Fame class has been announced. A grand total of two players were inducted: Roberto Alomar, a fantastic second baseman with a penchant for spitting on people and apparently giving people the HIV; and Bert Blyleven, a Dutchman. Glaringly absent was Jeff Bagwell, the longtime Astros first baseman who would have likely hit 500 home runs if a late-career injury hadn't prevented him from lifting his throwing arm above shoulder level. Bagwell -- who is in his first year of eligibility -- undoubtedly has Hall of Fame numbers (which would have been even better had his career not been cut short by injuries), and it is baffling that he only received votes from 41.7% of the voters.
Maybe Hall of Fame voters just assume anyone who hit more than 30 home runs at any point between 1990 and 2006 must have been on steroids, but Bagwell has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, never been accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs, and has vehemently denied any association with performance-enhancing drugs. Furthermore, unlike a lot of the juice heads with huge numbers in the Steroid Era, Bagwell's numbers never jumped up or fell off (until the aforementioned injury). His numbers were consistent -- and consistently good -- throughout his career.
I thought maybe my viewpoint is skewed, since I'm an Astros fan, but even the experts agree that he got snubbed.
Hall of Fame voters are historically picky, and for some stupid reason, they seem to like to make otherwise Hall-worthy players sweat it out for a year or so before voting them in. But now, Hall of Fame voters are essentially saying that any power hitter from the past 25 years can't get in on the first ballot. It will be interesting to see what they do with Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey, Jr. -- two other guys with Hall of Fame numbers who have never been close to being accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs. If those guys don't get in on the first ballot, then I will personally find every single person who didn't vote for them and leave a flaming bag of excrement on their respective doorsteps.