In Houston, Biggio (Class of 2015) and Bagwell (2017) are joined at the hip, a beloved duo that spent more than a decade patrolling the right side of the infield regularly at two ballparks -- first, the Astrodome, and then, in their later years, Minute Maid Park.
On Monday night, Biggio and Bagwell were finally inducted into a hall of fame, together. The annual Houston Sports Awards ceremony that honors grand moments and superstars across the entire Houston sports landscape also includes an induction ceremony into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame. The evening’s “Diamonds in the Rough” theme dovetailed with honoring the two most celebrated position players in Astros history.
“This is my home,” Bagwell said to a crowd of around 550 socially distanced patrons in an outdoor setting at Carlton Woods golf club in The Woodlands. “It’s where my kids were born, they live here, I live here. I live here because I love Houston and I love the people of Houston.”
“Our story is long, and I'm grateful to be recognized with you,” Biggio said to Bagwell. “We worked hard together, and hopefully we made a difference together in the game.”
Bagwell and Biggio were two of five inducted into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame. The other honorees were Guy V. Lewis, the legendary University of Houston men’s basketball coach who led the Cougars to five Final Fours; Bill Yeoman, the longest-serving football coach in UH history, who was instrumental in integrating college athletics in the South; and Andre Johnson, the former Texans wide receiver who was the first honoree inducted into the team’s prestigious Ring of Honor.
Houston native and UH alum Jim Nantz, a three-time Emmy Award winner and five-time National Sportscaster of the Year, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement award, and three sports figures received individual accolades: Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (sportsmanship award); women’s tennis trailblazer Gladys Heldman (inspiration award) and women’s tennis legend Billie Jean King (inspiration award), who beat Bobby Riggs in the infamous “Battle of the Sexes” match at the Astrodome in 1973.
Each Hall of Famer was presented with a ring and a Hall of Fame jacket, and they were introduced by someone close to them during their athletic careers. Former Astros outfielder Moises Alou introduced Bagwell, while former Astros catcher Brad Ausmus presented Biggio.
“Before I came here [to play for Houston], I looked forward to playing against the Astros, because they played the game the right way,” Alou said. “And one of the reasons was Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio. They taught everybody how to play the game the right way. I'm very proud to be here tonight.”
Ausmus talked about Biggio’s superstitious approach to a game day, which was a bit of a running joke among teammates over the years.
“You probably didn’t notice it, but he would always take the same number of steps along the same seam in the AstroTurf at the Astrodome,” Ausmus said. “I think of Craig and I think of the pine tar on his hat. I think of the dirt on his jersey. Sometimes I think he put dirt on his jersey before the game even started.”
On a more serious note, Ausmus pointed out the longevity that partly defined Bagwell and Biggio’s careers.
“I think mostly what stands out is that Craig and Jeff played together in one uniform in this city, and then made this city their home,” Ausmus said. “This is their home. And that doesn't happen anymore. It just doesn't happen in pro sports.”
Playing in Houston, and staying in Houston, was a theme of both players’ acceptance speeches.
“We have amazing new stadiums, the best fans and very successful franchises,” Biggio said. “Rockets championships, the Texans' consistent playoff successes and, my personal favorite, an Astros World Series.”
“People ask me, ‘Do you miss playing?’” Bagwell said. “I don't miss playing. Playing is almost kind of like a job and it's fun, but it's the people that you meet, the lives that you can impact, the lives that impact me and my family. That's just what it's all about.
“I look at Houston. I see people in this audience that I kind of grew up with. You guys are in different sports, whether it's football, basketball, soccer, all the major sports. … We've all grown up together. I feel like Houston, this is family. We're all family here. We all root for each other.