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Jeff Bagwell

By

Jeff Bagwell

Jeff Bagwell bats in a 2004 game in Houston.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Updated November 29, 2012

Vital Statistics:

Born: May 27, 1968

Hometown: Middletown, Conn.

Height: 6-0

Weight: 195 pounds

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

Family: Wife, Ericka; daughters Bryce and Blake

Primary position: First baseman

Before the bigs:

  • Also a standout soccer and basketball player in high school, he then attended the University of Hartford, playing third base and left the school as the all-time leader in batting average (.413), RBI (126) and home runs (31).
  • Drafted in the fourth round in the 1989 draft by the Boston Red Sox, he batted .310 in 64 games for single-A Winter Haven, then .333 in 1990 for Double-A New Britain before he was traded to the Houston Astros on Aug. 30, 1990 for relief pitcher Larry Andersen. Andersen pitched well down the stretch for the Red Sox, but they failed to advance past the 1990 ALCS against the Oakland A's, and Bagwell became a star in Houston. It's considered one of the worst trades in baseball history, though it made sense at the time because Boston had Scott Cooper at third base and Mo Vaughn at first base.

Career Highlights:

  • Bagwell spent his entire 15-year career with the Astros and had a .297 career batting average with 449 home runs and 1,529 RBI. He's the team's all-time leader in home runs and RBI. His No. 5 uniform was retired by the Astros in 2007.
  • Shifted to first base in Houston because the Astros had Ken Caminiti at the position and he became a four-time All-Star.
  • Made an immediate impact in 1991, winning NL Rookie of the Year honors after hitting .294 with 15 home runs and 82 RBI.
  • Home run totals increased in each of the next three years, and had a monster year in the strike-shortened 1994 season, batting .368 with 39 home runs and 116 RBI in just 110 games. He led the NL in runs, RBI, slugging, OPS and total bases, and was unanimously selected NL MVP. Also won his only career Gold Glove that season. He was the first NL player to finish in the top two in batting average, home runs, RBI and runs since Willie Mays in 1955.
  • Broke his hand after being hit by a pitch and was held to 110 games in 1995, hitting .290 with 21 homers. Rebounded to hit .315 with 31 homers and 120 RBI in 1996, and led the NL in doubles with 48.
  • Set career-highs in home runs (43) and RBI (135) in 1997 and he became the first full-time first baseman to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in a season. He also led the Astros to the playoffs for the first time as they won the NL Central. Finished third in MVP voting behind Larry Walker and Mike Piazza. Astros returned to the playoffs in 1998, 1999 and 2001, but Astros lost in the first round each time.
  • Went 30-30 in homers and steals again in 1999, and finished second in MVP voting behind Chipper Jones. Bagwell hit .304 with 42 homers and 126 RBI and led the NL with 149 walks.
  • Belted a career-best 47 home runs in 2000.
  • Hit for the cycle on June 18, 2001.
  • Helped lead the Astros to a playoff victory for the first time in 2004, batting .266 with 27 home runs at age 36 and hitting two home runs in an NLDS five-game victory over the Braves.
  • Helped lead the Astros to the World Series in his final season. He missed most of the season with an arthtritic condition in his shoulder and limiting his throwing ability. He was limited to pinch-hitting duty and was the designated hitter in the World Series against the Chicago White Sox, which the Astros lost in four games.
  • Signed a five-year contract extension with the Astros in 2001, and made more than $128 million in his career, icnluding $19.3 million in his final season. The Astros made an insurance claim on Bagwell after the 2005 season that covered the final year of his contract. He was bought out of his contract for 2006 and officially retired a month later.
  • Was a teammate of Craig Biggio for his entire career.

After retirement:

  • Was the Astros' hitting coach for the second half of the 2010 season, but did not return in 2011.
  • Failed to make the Hall of Fame on his first two years on the ballot, getting 41.7 percent of the vote in his first ballot and 56.0 percent in his second.
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