Welcome to Cooperstown, Jeff Bagwell: The slugger and '90s style icon
When you think of '90s style icons, you probably think of The Spice Girls, The Rachel Haircut and, of course, Ken Griffey Jr.'s backward hat.
There's a name that deserves to be added to that list, and it belongs to a man that earned election into the the Hall of Fame on Wednesday: Jeff Bagwell.
Bagwell was more than just a member of the fabled Killer B's in Houston -- which in itself is a very '90s name -- and he was more than his 449 dingers, too. Bagwell was an icon of those halcyon days.
Move over Rugrats, Tamagotchis and those weird color-changing shirts, because Class of 2017 Hall of Famer Bagwell is the '90s.
The '90s were a period of stance experimentation -- from Tony Batista's wide-open stance to Craig Counsell's attempt to reach the stars. Bagwell exemplified the popular "low crouch" like no one else. His squat was so deep that you can feel the thigh strain simply by looking at it.
In the '90s, dingers were king. If you walked into any restaurant, furniture store or party supply company and proceeded to bash a few dingers out of the parking lot, you would have been hailed as their new leader.
Bagwell hit dingers by the bushel. The only thing that stood between the Astros' first baseman and a career total of 500 home runs was a shoulder injury.
Bagwell even managed two 40-HR, 30-SB seasons. Do you know how many players have done that more than once? Two: Barry Bonds and Bagwell.
The Style Transformation
Like Rachel Leigh Cook in 1999's teen classic "She's All That," Jeff Bagwell had to pull off his own transformation from zero to fashion hero. Just like Cook, Bagwell began as a gawky teen, with feathered hair and a dated uniform:
But he soon emerged in a new outfit and a new look:
Those Astros uniforms are a true relic of '90s baseball. Seemingly lost between the rainbow uniforms and the brickyard pinstripes, the star logo and "Houston" font were ripped straight from a Saturday morning cartoon show.
If modern American style is dominated by thick, lumberjack beards, then the '90s were all about the goatee -- especially in baseball. It seemed to be compulsory, with a clean-shaven player growing the patch of facial hair immediately upon callup.
Bagwell was not only a goatee devotee, but he pushed the goatee to new levels of artistry. Sure, you may see the hanging goatee these days, but Bagwell was the first.
Bethany Heck of Eephus League discovered that the goatee was a full 3 1/2 inches at its peak. Its impact, though? That's immeasurable.
Is there there a more quintessentially '90s photograph? I say no.
Of course, even style icons make a misstep. Bagwell briefly tried to popularize the two pairs of sunglasses trend. Sadly, that didn't take off.
No one can be perfect -- not even a Hall of Famer.