2017 Hall of Fame Selectees Press Conference
WFUV Sport's Video coverage of the selectees press conference can be found at the bottom of this article.
NEW YORK, NY-- A lot can happen in 24 hours. Just ask Jack Bauer. Problems that could seem world-threatening could rise and fall in that one days worth of time. In the northeast, 24 hours could mean two completely different seasons of weather. But nothing can quite change in 24 hours as much as they can in the world of sports. Trades, injuries, rallies, firings, retirements, and any number of personal player issues or triumphs. In this case, let's take a look at the 24 hours that Jeff Bagwell, Tim Rains, and Ivan Rodriguez had for themselves this week. I'm talking of course about their being selected to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. As the sport's highest honor, it of course places them among baseball's most premire players. And with that, it is one of the highest honors any athlete can receive, and it was bestowed upon three new players on Wednesday, January 18th. Less than 24 hours after being told of their election into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the three players found themselves in route to the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan to meet with and react to the very same press that elected them into The Hall.
The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame features an electric base stealer and an all time scrappy player in Tim Raines, a stubborn and as-gritty-as-it-gets catcher in Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, and a fan favorite powerhouse in Jeff Bagwell.
Tim Rains was the top story of the day for most as he made it in his last year of eligability to be elected into the Hall. And it was no coincidence that it took until his final chance to charge into Cooperstown. A large amount of writers were only tipped off to Raines' qualifications after stat-geeks proclaimed his worth despite his lack of prominance in other golden categories such as career hit totals or homeruns, but instead rose above the crowd through newer, lesser revered stats such as WAR (wins above replacement) in which he had a phenomenal 86 games, or in his base-stealing success percentage for which he posted a number that speaks for itself at 84.7% over his 23-year career. Tim Raines expressed his gratitude and humbleness in being elected in his final year of eligibility, especially after climbing to the point of receiving 86% of the vote after debuting in the selection process in 2008 with a steamy 24.3%.
But even though Raines rose from the deepest depth, Jeff Bagwell edged him out in the vote totals mounting a victory over his fellow hall of fame selectee by 0.2%, also known as 1 vote more. Bagwell, like Raines, had just missed election during last year's powerhouse selection which featured the ultra-deserving Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey Jr. It wasn't quite his last turn, but Bagwell found himself slipping on the Cooperstown jersey in his seventh year of eligibility following his 15 year career. That decade-and-a-half of baseball was spent in it's entirety with the Houston Astros for which he brought the team to one Wolrd Series, and collected personal acheivements like the 1991 NL Rookie of the Year, as well as the 1995 NL MVP. Through it all, Bagwell 449 career homeruns, a career slugging percentage of .540, over 2300 hits, and a WAR of 79.6 (shoutout Tim Raines + baseball geeks).
Unlike the two very patient players he was selected alongside, Pudge Rodriguez made his way into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. And this was most likely due to not only his statistical qualifications, but also for having a well refined "Hall of Fame moment". This moment, taking aside his 21 years crouched behind a plate for six different clubs, forgetting his 2800 hits, and parking his unmatched ability to gun down potential baserunners, many baseball writer's and fans think of Pudge and his one-season effort in leading the Florida Marlins to victory in the 2003 World Series. The 2003 career defining postseason where Pudge hit .321 and recorded 17 RBIs.
And while it was about a 24 hour journey from selection to the Hall of fame to the press conference, I'm sure the players would say the process and pride are not bottled into that 24 hour time frame, but instead are located all throughout their career defining moments, time spent with their teams, wins, loses, and everything in between.
Now the waiting period to induction day during Hall of Fame Weekened in the promised land begins. Cooperstown awaits Jeff Bagwell, Tim Rains, and Ivan Rodriguez. Festivities resume this summer on Friday July 28th, with the induction occuring that Sunday. Baseball legends will welcome home their newest teammates.
WFUV Sport's coverage of the selectees press conference can be found below this article.