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Bagwell, Raines And Rodriguez Are Elected To Baseball's Hall of Fame

Houston Astros longtime first baseman and four-time All-Star Jeff Bagwell is announces his retirement from baseball in 2006. Bagwell was elected to the Hall of Fame Wednesday.
Pat Sullivan
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AP
Houston Astros longtime first baseman and four-time All-Star Jeff Bagwell is announces his retirement from baseball in 2006. Bagwell was elected to the Hall of Fame Wednesday.

Three baseball stars who avoided convincing connection to steroid use during their playing days — Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez — were elected to Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame Wednesday. The stars all received 75 percent of the ballots cast by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Jeff Bagwell, a first baseman who spent his entire 15-year career with the Houston Astros, was named the National League's Rookie of the Year in 1991 and Most Valuable Player in 1994. He was a four-time All-Star who batted .297, while hitting 449 home runs and 1,529 runs batted in. Bagwell is also the only first baseman in history to hit at least 400 homers and steal more than 200 bases. Speculation about steroid use surrounded nearly all baseball stars of his era, but as the Houston Chronicle reports, Bagwell never failed a drug test. But those suspicions might have explained why he made the Hall on his seventh time on the ballot.

Tim Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. Now he has been voted into baseball's Hall of Fame.
Matt York / AP
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AP
Tim Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. Now he has been voted into baseball's Hall of Fame.

Tim Raines, a left fielder who played for six teams between 1979 and 2002, is known as the best leadoff hitter in baseball not named Rickey Henderson. He was a speedster who ranks fifth in career stolen bases with 808. Raines hit .294 over his career and won the 1986 National League batting title. A seven-time All-Star, he played 13 of his 23 seasons for the Montreal Expos. His confession to using cocaine in the mid-1980s may have diminished his appeal. Raines was elected to the Hall of Fame after being on the ballot 10 times.

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez watches a Texas Rangers baseball game in 2014. Regarded as one of the best catchers in the game, Rodriguez was elected to the Hall of Fame his first time on the ballot.
Sharon Ellman / AP
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AP
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez watches a Texas Rangers baseball game in 2014. Regarded as one of the best catchers in the game, Rodriguez was elected to the Hall of Fame his first time on the ballot.

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez was elected on his first appearance on the writers' ballot. He is widely known as one of the best defensive catchers to play the game. He could hit with authority too, with a .296 career batting average, 311 home runs and 1,332 RBIs over 21 years in the majors. Rodriguez was the American League's Most Valuable Player in 1999 and is perhaps best-known for his years with the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers. Rodriguez attracted his share of suspicion about steroid use. When asked about those rumors in 2009, he replied, "Only God knows."

Rodriguez, Raines and Bagwell will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 30.

Two other stars from baseball's steroid era, slugger Barry Bonds and pitcher Roger Clemens, did not make the cut. Both missed the 75 percent threshold for the fifth straight year.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: January 19, 2017 at 12:00 AM EST
A headline on an earlier version of this story misspelled Ivan Rodriguez's last name as Rodriquez.
Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.

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