At Last! Hall Calls Bagwell
Pudge Elected Too. Clemens, Others Miss Mark

Bagwell: Looking up again
(c) Associated Press
It took most of a decade to get Jeff Bagwell into the Baseball Hall of Fame but, on Wednesday, the call finally came and the slugging first baseman was voted in by the baseball writers with 86.2% writing in Jeff on their ballots. Montreal speedster Tim Raines (86.0%) and top catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez (76.0%) will also be enshrined in Cooperstown on July 30th. Rodriguez was an Astro for much of the 2009 season towards the end of a spectacular career.

Bagwell spent all of his career with the Astros, having been acquired from Boston for reliever Larry Andersen as a third baseman but, rather than being blocked by Ken Caminiti, chose to switch to first base and the rest was history. His unique batting style and famous crouch belied a feared hitter who had arguably the best single season in Houston history when he won the 1994 MVP with a .368 average, 39 homers and 118 RBIs in just 110 games.

He and his longtime teammate Craig Biggio, who was enshrined two years ago, were the heart of the "Killer B's" that buzzed National League pitchers from 1991 to 2005 until Bagwell's arthritic shoulder simply couldn't work any longer.

Critics argued that Bagwell couldn't hit on the big stage but here in Game 6 of the 2004 NLCS, Jeff brought Houston within a run of their first pennant.

The Astros will hold a free public rally on Monday the 23rd at Union Station next to Minute Maid Park beginning at 5 p.m. Central time to give fans a chance to thank Jeff again for his fabulous career.

A few other former Astros were also on the ballot but fell short of enshrinement although all will get another chance next year. Pitcher Roger Clemens, facing more of a PR problem than an eligibility problem, finished with 54.1%. Pitcher Curt Schilling, with a different sort of PR problem, received 45%. Infielder Jeff Kent was on 16.7% of the ballots while reliever Billy Wagner was kept alive by 10.2% of the voters.

We at Astros Daily salute the 2017 Hall of Fame class, except former commissioner Bud Selig who banished our fine National League franchise to the American League in a truly brazen power grab. We're thrilled for the players and the franchise and only wish the spotlight didn't have to be shared with someone who has arbitrarily harmed our city's ballclub more than once.

- Bob Hulsey