Hall Nominees Mirrored in History
You'll find two names on this year’s 2014 baseball Hall of Fame (HOF) ballot that are similar in many ways other than being right-handed slugging first-basemen during the 1990’s.
Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas.
They both deserve to get elected to Cooperstown.
Their careers are virtually identical. So much so, it makes the reading of the Atuk script look like open mike night at a local college pub.
It all started with the day they were brought into this earth. Although, nobody could mistake them for twins separated at birth.
- Both players were born 27 May 1968: Bagwell in Boston and Thomas in Columbus, Ga.
- Both were drafted in 1989: Bagwell by his hometown Red Sox and Thomas by the White Sox.
- Bagwell signed his first professional contract on 10 June 1989 and Thomas signed just one day later
- Both were named league MVP’s in 1994, and Bagwell was unanimous.
- In the strike-shortened 1994 season, both players led their respective leagues in runs scored, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, and both earned Silver Slugger awards.
- Both players were selected to their league's all-star team in 1994, 1996, and 1997.
- In 2005, the Astros and White Sox met in the World Series, but Bagwell and Thomas didn’t really factor in the games due to injury.
- According to baseball-reference.com, the most similar player to Frank Thomas is Jeff Bagwell; however, the most similar player to Jeff Bagwell is Gary Sheffield with Frank Thomas listed second.
As you can see, both players' careers paralleled each other nicely, they're not just both Geminis, and it's fitting that they both appear on this year’s HOF ballot together.
Will they add one more bullet point on their résumés as members of the 2014 Hall of Fame class?
They should, and it would be even more fitting if their plaques were displayed next to each other in the gallery at Cooperstown.