Jeff Bagwell: Presenting the next Astros’ Hall of Famer

Aug 15, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros former players Jeff Bagwell (left) and Craig Biggio (right) before a game against the Detroit Tigers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 15, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros former players Jeff Bagwell (left) and Craig Biggio (right) before a game against the Detroit Tigers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

Mr. Jeff Bagwell is going to Cooperstown

The Houston Astros had gone their entire existence without a true Hall of Fame player until two years ago when Astros legend Craig Biggio was inducted. Now just two years later, Biggio has some company. Undoubtedly the most feared hitter in franchise history, Jeff Bagwell torched National League pitching for 15 years along with Biggio. They formed one of the most famous duos Astros fans have ever witnessed.

While the numbers are there, Bagwell played in the ERA where if anyone was a power hitter or a physical specimen, they were speculated of steroids. However, without any evidence, the 7th time is the charm for Jeff Bagwell. The Bagwell haters have had their say this year, but more people checked his name on the ballot this year.

After falling 15 votes shy last year, Jeff Bagwell gained 20 votes from returning voters (as of last night). He also had 100% of the votes from the new voters to the MLB Hall of Fame. This information was via Ryan Thibodaux. Many voters have changed their minds with the help of @Bags4HOF. He received 86.2% of the votes and will be inducted in July.

The Killer Bees

The term “The Killer Bees” surrounded the Astros for the greater part of 15 years, referring to Biggio, Bagwell, and later, Lance Berkman. Biggio ended up surpassing 3,000 hits and Bagwell 400 long balls, forming one of the best duos in the history of baseball. Now they are together again, this time in Cooperstown.

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Breaking Down the Numbers:

Jeff Bagwell played a total of 2150 games in 3 different uniforms, with everyone reading “Astros” across the front. Bagwell amassed a total of 449 home runs, 1529 runs batted in, 1517 runs scored, 202 stolen bases, 1401 walks, .297 average, and .408 on-base percentage. If you break these numbers down to a 162 game season, Bagwell would have averaged: 34 home runs, 115 runs batted in, 114 runs scored, 15 stolen bases, 106 walks, .297 average, and .408 on-base percentage. The last person to match those numbers? Jeff Bagwell – 1999.

Along with gaudy numbers, Bagwell has the hardware.

  • 1 MVP (6 top 10 finishes)
  • Rookie of the Year
  • 1 Gold Glove
  • 3 Silver Sluggers
  • 4 All-Star Games

*Fun Fact Alert*

In Bagwell’s MVP season (2004) he only played in 110 games. If he had kept up the pace he was on, he would have finished with a stat line of… wow this is crazy…:

57 home runs, 171 runs batted in, .368 average, .750 slugging percentage

That is insane.

Obviously, Bagwell didn’t need the last 52 games to lock up the award, but he was on a historic pace. It’s fun to be the “on pace” guy now and then. The MLB Player’s Association decided to go on strike right after Bagwell’s injury, wiping out the rest of the season and postseason. Had the season not been cut short, Bagwell would not have won the MVP that season.

The WAR argument.

One thing we don’t have to project is Bagwell’s place in the history books. He holds many Astros record; you name it. Career/Season/Game/Month, I think the record he holds that would make Greg Amsinger (MLB Network Analyst) the most excited is WAR. These days, WAR (Wins Above Replacement) seems to be the ultimate testament to how good a player is, as well as who is more valuable than someone else. If we were to buy into this, Bagwell has been the best Astro ever, and it isn’t even close. With a WAR of 79, Biggio is the only Astros within 15 (64).

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There have been some great players to come through the Astro’s organization, but none has ever done with the lumber quite what Bagwell has. No matter what angle you approach it, he is a top 3 player in the history of the Astros, and now he lives on forever. While the Killer Bees are long gone from Houston, you can now find them both in Cooperstown.

***Written with the help of Blake Permenter***

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***