The Hardball Times' Chris Jaffe makes the HOF case for our very own Jeff Bagwell, who really doesn't need a case made for his HOF credentials, would it not be for the asinine, irresponsible "journalists" who are out hunting for witches with rubber ducks and fudge rounds.
The 19th-century guys played too far back in a much weaker overall league. Mize was a lot like Bagwell—power, average, walks—but had an even shorter career. Bagwell had fewer homers than McCovey, but more extra-base hits, more times on base and fewer outs. In his New Historical Abstract, Bill James ranks Bagwell the third-best first baseman ever, first among all NL ones.
Personally, I might take McCovey over him due to the difference in eras (McCovey played in the pitcher-happy 1960s), but if there’s a credible case that Bagwell is the best at his position in the history of his league, that’s an argument for induction. His best challenge to the title is the guy who emerged later on, Albert Pujols.