HOUSTON -- One of the greatest players in Astros history, slugging first baseman Jeff Bagwell will soon take his place among the game's all-time legends.Bagwell earned induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Wednesday, meaning he'll join longtime teammate
HOUSTON -- One of the greatest players in Astros history, slugging first baseman Jeff Bagwell will soon take his place among the game's all-time legends.
Bagwell earned induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Wednesday, meaning he'll join longtime teammate Craig Biggio -- inducted in 2015 -- as the only players enshrined with an Astros logo on their plaques.
:: 2017 Hall of Fame election coverage ::
"I don't even know how I'm supposed to react," Bagwell said. "It's been a whirlwind. It's been fun and exciting. My family is very, very excited for this thing. ... I could not be more excited. It's a weird thing to be a Hall of Famer. I wrote it on a ball tonight, and it was kind of crazy. So it was cool."
Bagwell will be enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 30 in a class that will also include Tim Raines, who played most of his career in Montreal, former Rangers, Astros and World Series champion Marlins catcher Ivan Rodriguez, longtime Braves general manager John Schuerholz and former MLB Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig.
The Astros will hold a free public rally for Bagwell at 5 p.m. CT Monday in Union Station at Minute Maid Park. The list of special guests planning to attend includes former teammates Brad Ausmus and Lance Berkman, former managers Larry Dierker and Phil Garner and owner Jim Crane.
"Throughout his career, Jeff worked extremely hard to become a great player," Crane said in a statement. "He was a winner and an outstanding representative of the Houston Astros and of the City of Houston. We were thrilled when Craig Biggio was voted into the Hall two years ago, and now we are ecstatic that Jeff will be joining him this year. This is an exciting day for the Astros and for our great fans."
Bagwell, in his seventh year on the ballot, received 86.2 percent of the votes (75 percent is needed). Raines had 86 percent and Rodriguez 76 percent. Bagwell will be the 50th player in history to be inducted having played with only one team, joining longtime teammate Biggio.
:: 2017 Hall of Fame election results ::
"I'm very excited," said Biggio, who was inducted in 2015. "I'm excited for him and I'm excited for his family, I'm excited for his teammates, the Astros' organization and obviously the fans. You play with somebody for 15 years and it becomes synonymous where you mention Bagwell, you mention Biggio; you mention Biggio, you mention Bagwell. Now to be able to mention Bagwell and Biggio in the Hall of Fame, I can't tell you how happy I am for him and his family."
Bagwell spent the day at home with his family and agent, Barry Axelrod, awaiting the call from the Hall. He was soon whisked to the airport for a news conference before flying to New York for a full day of activities on Thursday.
"Man, it's kind of weird, man," Bagwell said. "I don't even know, I'm still kind of in shock. .... I'm excited and I'm happy. It's just very cool, I guess."
Bagwell, with his unmistakable crouched batting stance, won the 1991 National League Rookie of the Year Award and the 1994 NL Most Valuable Player Award during the strike-shortened season. He hit .297 with 2,314 hits, 449 homers, 1,529 RBIs, 1,517 runs scored and a .408 on-base percentage in 15 seasons in Houston (1991-2005). He was a four-time NL All-Star, won a 1994 NL Gold Glove Award and three NL Silver Slugger Awards.
He posted eight seasons with at least 30 home runs, 100 runs scored and 100 RBIs, tying him for eighth on that list all-time with Willie Mays and Jim Thome. Six of those seasons came in a row for Bagwell (1996-2001), making him one of just six players to reach that mark. He is one of only 11 players in MLB history with at least 440 home runs and 200 stolen bases.
"There's certain things I've done I'm proud of, like playing my entire career with the Houston Astros, the relationships I've made in the City of Houston," Bagwell said. "To play an entire career -- my numbers are where they are and you can look at them and decide what to think -- but I'm just proud I played my entire career with the Houston Astros, with Craig and enjoyed my time."
Born in Boston, Bagwell grew up a Red Sox fan, idolized Carl Yastrzemski and was drafted by the Red Sox in 1989. The Sox dealt him to the Astros at the Trade Deadline in 1990 for reliever Larry Andersen in one of the most lopsided trades in history. A skinny Minor League third baseman when he was traded, Bagwell started at first base for the Astros in 1991 and became a fixture there for 15 years and turned into one of the game's most feared sluggers.
Still, he had to wait a dozen years after his final game to get his Hall of Fame recognition.
"I don't have all the ability in the world -- I had a ton, I guess, of God-given talent, but not like crazy stuff," he said. "So there was only one way to play it. I grew up watching Carl Yastrzemski, and I just went after baseball the way I thought it was supposed to be done. I was very, very fortunate in my career that I got to be with Craig Biggio, Ken Caminiti, guys like Steve Finley and Luis Gonzalez. That's just how we played, man. That's just the way I knew how to play baseball, and that's the way I went after it."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.