Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame class for 2017 has been announced, with Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez becoming the 317th, 318th and 319th people to join those already at Cooperstown.
The three position players each finished with at least 75 percent of the vote, Bagwell leading the way with 86.2%. Trevor Hoffman and Vladamir Guerrero are among the two biggest names not to get into the hall of fame, though PED users such as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds each saw their percentages increase.
Now 48, Bagwell spent his entire 15-year career with the Houston Astros, finishing with a lifetime .297/.408/.540 slash line. He averaged 30 homers, 33 doubles and 102 RBIs each year, while also finishing with a 1.11 strikeout to walk ratio. Widely regarded as one of the best hitters of his generation, Bagwell was both a Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player, as well as a four-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger and one-time Gold Glove winner for his work as a first baseman.
Making his debut as a 22-year-old in 1991, Bagwell went on to play in six postseason campaigns though he fell agonisingly short of winning a World Series in 2005. Arguably his best season came in 1994 when he hit .368 in more than 400 appearances, leading the majors in RBIs (116), slugging percentage (.750) and OPS (1.201) while also blasting 39 dingers.
Now 57, Raines had been approaching the end of his life on the Hall of Fame ballot but certainly has all the credentials to go to Cooperstown. Raines had a .294/.385/.425 lifetime batting line and averaged 58 walks a season in comparison to 42 strikeouts. He had 2,605 hits across the course of 23 years and finished his career with more than 800 stolen bases.
His 1330 career walks puts him 39th on the list of career leaders, while he’s one of the few on that list who wasn’t regarded as a power hitter. Raines spent the majority of his career patrolling left field, but was also used in center field, right field and at second base at times too. He made seven All-Star appearances while he was a Silver Slugger in 1986, the year he also won the National League batting title. Raines spent 13 years with the Montreal Expos, five with the White Sox, three with the Yankees and one each with Oakland, Baltimore and Florida.
One of the most likeable guys in the game, Rodriguez gets into the Hall of Fame on his first attempt. Signed by Texas as an amateur free agent from Puerto Rico in 1998, ‘Pudge’ made his debut three years later against the White Sox. He finished his career with a .296/.334/.464 batting line, hitting as many as 35 homers and 113 RBIs in a season.
Rodriguez was also regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in the game, throwing out nearly 50% of would-be base stealers during his 21 seasons in the big leagues. ‘Pudge’ began his career with Texas and played there for 13 years including 1999 when he had career highs in homers (35) and RBIs (116). He would also spend five years in Detroit, two in Washington and one with the Yankees, Astros and Marlins. Rodriguez made the All-Star game every year between 1992 and 2001, finishing with 14 nominations. He won 13 Gold Glove Awards, seven Silver Sluggers and was the American League MVP in 1999.
The 2017 induction weekend will take place at the MLB Hall of Fame in Cooperstown between July 28 and 31st. The ceremony will be held at 1:30pm ET on the 31st on MLB Network and will also be streamed on the Hall’s website.