Raines, Bagwell, I-Rod Elected To Hall of Fame
The Baseball Hall of Fame will admit three new members in July: Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez. This year was Raines' final year of eligibility, while Rodriguez cleared the 75 percent barrier on his first try. This was Bagwell's seventh time on the ballot.
Raines, who retired in 2002, was one of the best players in all of baseball during his years as a Montreal Expo in the '80s. He was an All-Star every year from 1981 through 1987 and was widely regarded as the best leadoff hitter in the National League. The owner of a career .385 on-base percentage, Raines ranks as one of the best base stealers of all time. He swiped 808 bags and was only caught 146 times, a lifetime 85 percent success rate, making him one of the most effective base thieves the game has ever seen.
Bagwell, who spent his entire 15-year career as a Houston Astro, was one of the most dominant hitters of his era. He won the 1991 N.L. Rookie of the Year, then claimed the league MVP award three years later, the strike-shortened 1994 season in which Bagwell still managed to hit 39 homers and drive in 116 runs -- in just 110 games. He was known as an excellent defender at first base, as well as an extremely durable player. Four times he played the full 162 games in a season.
Rodriguez was one of the game's best catchers over the course of his career, which lasted from 1991 until 2011, a stunningly long stretch for a full-time backstop. He becomes only the second catcher, following Johnny Bench in 1989, to be elected in his first year of eligibility. Pudge was an excellent hitting catcher, tallying 311 home runs, but he was known best for his defense. He won 13 Gold Glove awards, along with the 1999 American League MVP and a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins in 2003.
Just missing out on election were Trevor Hoffman, who fell just five votes short (out of 442 ballots submitted), and Vladimir Guerrero, who was 15 shy of induction. Both are good bets to reach election next year. The full list of players receiving votes is below: