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Thread: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

  1. #1
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    How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    I was just comparing them on baseball reference. I really didn't realize how good they were for so long!

    Just consider for comparison:

    Jeff Bagwell over 15 years had career numbers of .297/.408/.540
    Frank Thomas over 19 years had career .301/.419/.555
    both better than
    Ken Griffey Jr over 22 yrs had .284/.370/.538

    Granted Griffey added gold glove defense at a premium position. But how can Bagwell and Thomas be kept out of the hall with those career offensive numbers?

    Interesting fact: they were both born on the same day in 1968

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  3. #2
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    Both were incredibly good hitters. I am absolutely positive that Bagwell will have more trouble than Thomas in terms of getting votes because of the steroid suspicions.

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    Member kheidg-'s Avatar
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    Re: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    Yeah, agree with Doug. Frank has been outright that he was screwed out of at least one MVP because of steroids.

    Bagwell has the question marks but really no substantial evidence.

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    post hype sleeper cincinnati chili's Avatar
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    Re: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    You can make an argument that Bagewell's 1994, played in the cavernous Astrodome and in a strike-shortened season, was the best season in the history of baseball by anyone not named Bonds, Ruth, or Williams.

    Gold glove, 110 games, 479 plate appearances, .750 slugging percentage, .451 on base percentage, 39 homers, 300 total bases.

    Both of those guys had 10-year peaks that exceed those of most hall of famers. For some reason, the voters think Frank is a no-brainer, but that Bagwell is a "brainer." I don't get it. They both should get in, and if you were starting a team and had to choose one of the two, you'd probably pick Bagwell because of his glove.

    Griffey's 10-year peak coincides with Thomas's (91-00). He was more valuable by a mile because of his defense, but if we're talking strictly in the batter's box, Thomas was better.
    How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids

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    Member Norm Chortleton's Avatar
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    Re: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    Quote Originally Posted by cincinnati chili View Post
    Both of those guys had 10-year peaks that exceed those of most hall of famers. For some reason, the voters think Frank is a no-brainer, but that Bagwell is a "brainer." I don't get it. They both should get in, and if you were starting a team and had to choose one of the two, you'd probably pick Bagwell because of his glove.
    Bagwell hit 6 HRs in 4 minor league seasons, which spanned 859 plate appearances. 6 HRs! Then he got traded to HOU, teamed up with noted chemist Ken Caminiti (god rest his soul, I loved him), immediately gained about 150 pounds of muscle and started hitting dingers and doubles all over the place.

    I had MLB Network on in the background the other day while I was working and I believe it was Joel Sherman who said this is why he would never vote for Bagwell. And that from a guy who IIRC has been voting for confirmed juicers Bonds and Clemens. I guess his reasoning is they were HOFers before the PEDs, but Bagwell's HOF qualifications are all due to PEDs, in his opinion.

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  10. #6
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Norm Chortleton View Post
    Bagwell hit 6 HRs in 4 minor league seasons, which spanned 859 plate appearances. 6 HRs! Then he got traded to HOU, teamed up with noted chemist Ken Caminiti (god rest his soul, I loved him), immediately gained about 150 pounds of muscle and started hitting dingers and doubles all over the place.

    I had MLB Network on in the background the other day while I was working and I believe it was Joel Sherman who said this is why he would never vote for Bagwell. And that from a guy who IIRC has been voting for confirmed juicers Bonds and Clemens. I guess his reasoning is they were HOFers before the PEDs, but Bagwell's HOF qualifications are all due to PEDs, in his opinion.
    Bagwell played 1.5 minor league seasons. 1989, the year he was drafted (half of a season) and 1990 (full season). His other "two seasons" were less than 20 PA each on rehab years later at age 27 and age 37.

    Let's dive into that. In 1990, he played in New Britain. He had 34 doubles, 7 triples and 4 home runs. On the surface, that looks solid, but unspectacular. Of course, only two other guys on the team topped 20 doubles and the team leader in home runs had a grand total of 5. Yes, 5 home runs led that entire team. The next year the New Britain team leader had 8 home runs and only one other guy on the team had 5. In 1989 three guys topped the 3 home run mark for New Britain with the leader being Mo Vaughn at 8.

    I don't have park factors for those years, but something tells me that it was really tough to hit for power in that park.

    How about his first year when he was drafted. Well, it came in the league that is still known as the worst hitting environment in the minors, the Florida State League. The entire league had five players hit 10+ home runs that season.

    Look, I get it if you want to believe that Bagwell used. But using his minor league numbers in 1.5 seasons where he very clearly played in very tough power environments doesn't do it for me.

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    Re: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    Thanks for the info; it puts the numbers in perspective.

    I'm uncomfortable about keeping a guy out of the Hall without real evidence that he used, and even then, I don't know. For years baseball wasn't even trying to keep players from using. I have the feeling that if we knew the name of every player who used, we'd all reevaluate our perspectives.

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  14. #8
    Member Norm Chortleton's Avatar
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    Re: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    Doug, were you around when Bagwell came up? He weighed about a buck fifty, soaking wet. And immediately bulked up to become one of the more-muscular players in the game. And, unlike Bonds, Bagwell is back to his slight build now that he is no longer playing.

    A lot of HOF voters think he used, as do many of his contemporaries, as do I. And you know what? I don't blame him. Baseball basically condoned PEDs in those days.

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    Re: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Norm Chortleton View Post
    Doug, were you around when Bagwell came up? He weighed about a buck fifty, soaking wet.


    Nope. Let's put that to bed.

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    Re: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    Agree with Norm on Bagwell here.

    As for Thomas, I don't see how he gets left out. Guy was as good a hitter as you could ever want to see in his prime. Really the guy I think of first when it comes to the new breed of slugging guys with a great OBP. And he was always big. Not suspicious of him at all.
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  18. #11
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    Re: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    Well, since no one has quantified how much of a difference PEDs actually made, then does it really matter? Not to me.
    numbersinthereds.blogspot.com I actually made a post on 7/4/14. I promise.

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    Re: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    Quote Originally Posted by marcshoe View Post
    Thanks for the info; it puts the numbers in perspective.

    I'm uncomfortable about keeping a guy out of the Hall without real evidence that he used, and even then, I don't know. For years baseball wasn't even trying to keep players from using. I have the feeling that if we knew the name of every player who used, we'd all reevaluate our perspectives.
    I think you touch on the most important piece to this debate - MLB turned its back on the use of PED's, first and foremost, I believe because it was pulling fans in after the cancelled season debacle. The power surge resurrected baseball. It made the owners a boatload of money after the public detested them for the repeated labor strife. Now that baseball and the union have found religion, if you will, any modicum of suspicion holds back a player from this accolade seems cynical. The HOF is going to have to figure out how to deal with this particular era. I'm sort of in the Buck O'Neil camp on this one - he said there was no question had they existed back when he played, they would have used. They were always looking for anything that would make you better. PED's are a blackeye on sports, but it's one that the owners were happy to have because it saved their tailends.
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  21. #13
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    Both are HOF players IMO.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Re: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Norm Chortleton View Post
    And, unlike Bonds, Bagwell is back to his slight build now that he is no longer playing.
    Bonds pic from Summer 2012. He's slimmed down since his playing days.


    For the record, I don't like BB and Bags was one of my favorites of all time. They should BOTH be in HOF IMO
    Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.

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  25. #15
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    Re: How good were Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell?

    Bagwell was arguably the greatest first baseman in National League history before Pujols arrived. That alone should cement his plaque in Cooperstown, but the writers seem to have other ideas.

    Based on recent trends, it's looking like a massive chunk of deserving players are going to be left out (including more than just alleged 'roid users).
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