Once again, we venture into another Hall of Fame voting process. And this time we hope that one of our own gets the nod to join in his seventh try.
In a way, it would be kind of symbolic to see Jeff Bagwell get into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on his seventh try. You know, the number of another Astros great?
I will be honest that I don’t particularly enjoy writing this article since it seems foolish that Bagwell is still waiting to get into the Hall of Fame. His numbers really do speak for themselves.
And any talk of the Steroid Era and he being a byproduct needs to stop. All of the players for a twenty-plus year period were connected to the Steroids Era one way or another. Some are even in the Hall of Fame today. So, yeah, that excuse unless backed up with damning evidence has to end.
But the best part, for me, as a simple Astros blogger is this: I get to remember how amazing Bagwell was at baseball.
Of all first baseman that played at least 1,000 games, the Astros legend ranks ninth with 449 home runs. By the same criteria, he ranks third in walks with 1,401, trailing only Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx. Eighth in doubles (488). Seventh in on-base percentage (.408). Sixth in runs created (1,788). Seventh in slugging percentage (.540). Ninth in stolen bases (202). The list can go on and on.
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The all-time first baseman holds the team record in numerous categories, including home runs. He also provided the Astros with a hitter that was not only feared at the plate, but also on the base paths. In fact, Bagwell had three seasons of at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a single season. There has only been thirteen seasons from a first baseman who has played at least 75% at the position to accomplish that feat. Just downright impressive.
The numbers, like I previously said, truly speak for themselves.
But the numbers didn’t capture all what Bagwell meant for this Astros franchise for years and years.
For example, he formed the type of clubhouse that competitive franchises do alongside Hall of Famer Craig Biggio throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Before the duo came along, the Astros were not exactly known for consistent success. With Bagwell and Biggio in the fold, Houston experienced a new-found level of success that was never seen before. Or since.
The argument to let Bagwell into the Hall of Fame is tired. Very tired. But that doesn’t make it any less true or fun to remember. This Astros first baseman was truly one of the greats. It is time we remember as such in Cooperstown.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and Play Index**