COOPERSTOWN, NY (CBS HOUSTON) – Houston Astros legend Jeff Bagwell is finally headed to Cooperstown. On his seventh year on the ballot, Bagwell the Astros’ all-time leader in home runs and runs batted in joins longtime teammate Craig Biggio as the only players enshrined as members of the Houston franchise when the Baseball Writers Association of America announced Wednesday afternoon that he had exceeded the necessary 75% of ballots required for induction. Bagwell was on 86.2% of the voter ballots
Bagwell joins former Montreal Expos outfielder Tim Raines and another former Astro and long time Texas Ranger Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez in the 2017 Hall of Fame class. Rodriguez was elected on the first ballot.
It’s been a long wait for Bagwell, who won the National League’s MVP award during the strike shortened 1994 season and was a four time all-star. Despite putting up offensive numbers that have very few contemporaries in baseball history, Bagwell was punished for playing in an era in which several players have been suspected or found to have used steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. Despite any clear evidence to implicate him, Bagwell was lumped in with players like Mike Piazza, who entered Cooperstown last year, and forced to sit and wait while others were voted in.
Bagwell was known for his unique low and wide batting stance that looked as if he were sitting on a chair as opposed to someone preparing to launch one of his 449 career home runs into the stands. An incredible power hitter, Bagwell doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the best base runners of his generation and a phenomenal defensive first baseman.
Bagwell was selected in the eighth round by the Boston Red Sox in the 1989 draft, a team he grew up rooting for after being born in Boston and raised in Connecticut. A third-baseman in the Red Sox system, Bagwell would never see the field with his hometown team with Hall of Famer Wade Boggs at third and Mo Vaughn, selected in the first round of the the 89 draft, was the Red Sox first baseman of the future. The Red Sox were looking to acquire relief help for a run at the post season and traded Bagwell to the Astros in exchange for Larry Andersen in what has turned out to be one of the most lopsided trades in Major League History.
Bagwell finished his career with 449 home runs in his career and a .297 career batting average. He won three Silver Slugger awards and was the 1991 National League Rookie of the Year.
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