HOUSTON -- Jeff Bagwell admits he gets a little more anxious with each passing day. He'll find out on Jan. 18 if he is finally elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and there figures to be some growing nervousness between now and then.Bagwell, in a recent interview with
HOUSTON -- Jeff Bagwell admits he gets a little more anxious with each passing day. He'll find out on Jan. 18 if he is finally elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and there figures to be some growing nervousness between now and then.
Bagwell, in a recent interview with MLB.com, said his family is also starting to feel the excitement build toward what appears likely to be a call informing him he'll be inducted into the Hall of Fame -- the crowning achievement in his 15-year career with the Astros.
"Even my daughter, Bryce, started bringing up some of my stats and stuff, and I'm laughing at her. I'm like, 'Really, now you're starting to look at what I did?'" Bagwell said. "It's hard for them because they really didn't see me play. My family is excited. My mother and father are obviously, and my wife. It's going to be interesting."
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Based on early polling, it certainly appears like Bagwell is on a collision course with Cooperstown, just two years after longtime teammate Craig Biggio became the first player inducted with an Astros cap on his plaque.
Bagwell, in his seventh year on the ballot, has appeared on 92.5 percent of the 155 ballots that have been made public and compiled by Ryan Thibodaux through the Twitter account, @NotMrTibbs. That's roughly 37 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'm excited for it," Bagwell said. "This year, if I don't get in, I'll probably be a little disappointed, but before that, more than anything else, I want to hear yes or no. That's the bottom line. Get it over with."
Bagwell tries to stay wrapped up in family activities as much as he can these days. He fashions himself as a regular dad, running kids to and from school and helping with homework. That will change on Jan. 18. He'll painstakingly have to wait all day to find out the results of the balloting that evening (5 CT, live on MLB Network and MLB.com).
"I won't relax," he said. "I'm not a slam dunk like [Ken Griffey] Junior was [last year]. You never know what can happen. Unfortunately, I had to watch Craig not get in for a couple of years and I was shocked by that. You just never know in that situation what people are going to vote for."
Last year, Bagwell appeared on 71.6 percent of the ballots. Sixteen of the 17 players who cleared 70 percent in one year -- while falling short of 75 -- got in the Hall of Fame the next year, setting Bagwell up nicely this year.
As far as the numbers go, Bagwell is among the best first basemen ever to play. He hit .297 in his 15-year career in Houston (1991-2005) with 2,314 hits, 449 homers, 1,529 RBIs, 1,517 runs scored and a .408 on-base percentage. He was the 1991 National League Rookie of the Year, 1994 Most Valuable Player, and his 79.6 Wins Above Replacement ranks seventh all-time among first basemen.
Bagwell is proud of his career -- Hall of Fame or not.
"I'm not going to say it's not going to be cool," he said. "You can't get a bigger thing than this in this game personally. Put it this way, if it does happen, it kind of eases me a little bit. But it's really not going to change me. I would be a Hall of Famer if that happens, but other than that, what's the difference? The next day I still have to worry about the same things I worried about before."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.