IT SURE SEEMS WEIRD WATCHING THE ASTROS THESE DAYS WITHOUT JEFF BAGWELL IN THE LINEUP.
For so many years he’s been such a force in the batting order and on the field. Even when he struggles at the plate, he helps you win games. I’m not prepared to write him off, but if the upcoming surgery doesn’t do the trick and he is unable to return in a meaningful way he will be sorely missed. There has been a fair amount of debate lately as to whether Jeff is a Hall of Famer or not. I believe he is. As a matter of fact I think he should be a first ballot guy. Consider that he played his first 9 seasons in the Astrodome. If he spent those years in a more neutral park, he’d likely be at 500 plus home runs which would all but guarantee enshrinement. 1991 rookie of the year, ’94 MVP [only the third player in NL history to be the unanimous pick for MVP]. He is the only 1st sacker in Major League history with at least 400 long balls and 200 stolen bases. He is one of 7 first basemen in ML history to drive in 1500 and score 1500. His lifetime average is just a notch below 300. Generally considered among the best fielding first basemen in the game, he won a gold glove in 94 and probably deserved a couple more. His baseball instincts are as good as anyone I’ve played with or watched in the last 20 years. And one other thing. He is exactly the kind of player you want your young players to model when they come to the big leagues. Smart, accountable and ultimately professional. If he spent his career in NY, LA or ironically Boston there would be no debate.