HOUSTON -- It's been nearly a dozen years since Jeff Bagwell last put on an Astros uniform as a player, and it appears he certainly hasn't lost his popularity among Astros fans.Bagwell, who will find out in two weeks if he will gain election into the National Baseball Hall of
HOUSTON -- It's been nearly a dozen years since Jeff Bagwell last put on an Astros uniform as a player, and it appears he certainly hasn't lost his popularity among Astros fans.
Bagwell, who will find out in two weeks if he will gain election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, welcomed a throng of eager fans to Pluckers Wing Bar on Wednesday night to participate in the team's weekly radio show, Astroline.
The former Astros slugger has kept a relatively low profile since his playing days ended following the 2005 season, but he's back in the spotlight with the results of the Hall of Fame balloting approaching. The 2017 Hall of Fame class will be unveiled Jan. 18.
"I guess I'm anxious," Bagwell said. "I just want to get it over with. This is the first year I've kind of been keeping track of it and just looking. I'm excited about it."
Bagwell, in his seventh year on the ballot, has appeared on 92.2 percent of the 160 ballots that have been made public and compiled by Ryan Thibodaux through the Twitter account, @NotMrTibbs. That's roughly 38 percent of the ballots that will be submitted by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Players need 75 percent to gain induction.
"I have a lot of people that are keeping track for me, sending me texts and stuff like that," Bagwell said. "That's a small percentage of votes. They really don't know who gets in until that day. All the ballots are cast, and you wait and see things."
Bagwell, who played with the Astros from 1991-2005, visited Cooperstown, N.Y., as a kid to tour the Hall of Fame, and was there again in 2015 when longtime teammate Craig Biggio was inducted. Bagwell said joining Biggio would be something special.
"It would be wonderful," he said. "I'm so proud of him when he did it. If I can get in, too, and have two of us there, especially two guys that played together 15 years, it would be very special."
Bagwell said he was taken aback by the number of Astros fans who descended upon Cooperstown two years ago to see Biggio become the first player inducted with a Houston cap on his plaque. He soaked up the moment while looking in awe at the number of Hall of Famers who were there for the induction.
"I've been very fortunate in my career that I had to play with a lot of those guys and actually had relationship with them," he said. "Just to see the magnitude -- and I've told guys this before -- and to watch Craig get in and leaving there and walking down the street and just seeing all the Astros gear and all that, that was pretty cool. Seeing everybody here in town around the country come out and support Craig and the other guys that were up there, it's a pretty amazing deal."
And now Bagwell waits for his turn. He appears to have the support from the BBWAA and the resume, hitting .297 with 2,314 hits, 449 homers, 1,529 RBIs, 1,517 runs scored and a .408 on-base percentage. And he certainly still holds a special place in the hearts of Astros fans, which makes the idea of giving them another Hall of Famer to call their own so special.
"I wore an Astros jersey my entire career," he said. "The only thing I can control is what I did on the field. This other stuff is great. I had unbelievable teammates, a great organization, great fans. It's just the way I am. I really would be excited about it."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.