Results tagged ‘ Jeff Bagwell ’

La Russa goes to bat for Bagwell, Biggio

Three-time World Series champion manager Tony La Russa, who’s going into the Hall of Fame this year, spent a decade battling the Astros led by Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio as manager of the Cardinals in the National League Central.

La Russa has an immense amount of respect for the Killer B’s and said on Friday that both Bagwell and Biggio should get into the Hall of Game. Biggio came up two votes shy of reaching Cooperstown, N.Y., this year in his second year on the ballot in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Bagwell has been on the ballot four years and has yet to crack 60 percent.

“There’s no doubt that Craig’s going to be a Hall of Famer. It’s going to happen,” said La Russa, who’s a special assistant to Commissioner Bud Selig. “He almost got in the first time and didn’t get in the second time. I’m sure he gets a little impatient, but I’m sure it’s going to happen for him, and when he does it will be well deserved.”

La Russa, who was in Kissimmee, Fla., on Friday for a meeting about instant replay, said he enjoyed battling yearly with the Minnesota Twins while he was manager of A’s in the 1990s, and he said he had a similar rivalry with the Astros when both were in the NL Central.

“Houston, in our division, Bagwell, Biggio and [Lance] Berkman, they had good surrounding characters the couple of years you had [Carlos] Beltran and [Jeff] Kent,” he said. “So I saw Bagwell as a huge influence, not just on the field but off. One of the best players of our generation.”

La Russa said he doesn’t understand the criteria members of the BBWAA use to vote for the Hall of Fame.

“Otherwise Jack Morris would be in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “The new metrics have a real important place, just don’t exaggerate them, and I think they get exaggerated at times. Like with Jack Morris, and maybe Bagwell.”

Will Hall call Bagwell?

Jeff Bagwell will find out today if he’s received enough votes to make the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The results of the voting by eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will be revealed during an MLB.com simulcast of the announcement on MLB Network live at 1 p.m. CT.

The vote was conducted by the BBWAA this past December. Because of the least-imposing first-year group of eligible players in recent memory, former Reds shortstop Barry Larkin seems to be the lone possibility for election.

Bagwell appeared on 41.7 percent of the ballots in his first year of eligibility last year and will need to get 75 percent to get elected. It’s unlikely he’ll make that kind of jump this year.

Bagwell probably would have been a slam dunk to make the Hall of Fame had he reached 500 home runs. He fell just 51 shy of that mark when a degenerative shoulder ended his career early, but his numbers across the board appear Hall of Fame worthy. Sure, there will be those who will hold it against him that he played in era when many sluggers were under the suspicion of performance-enhancing drugs, but Bagwell has been clean of any allegations. There’s no reason to believe he didn’t do everything the right way.

Those same voters who are inclined to take into account such intangibles should remember Bagwell played most of his career in the cavernous Astrodome, which surely took several home runs away from him. And if you look beyond the gaudy numbers, the voters should remember Bagwell was a terrific defensive player and base runner.

“I’m pulling for him,” long-time Astros teammate Craig Biggio said. “You know my feelings about him. To me, he’s a Hall of Famer. He had 40-something percent last year and you hope the number keeps climbing and gets to that 75 percent. He was a tremendous player and did a lot of great things on the baseball field. To me, there’s no doubt about it – he’s definitely a Hall of Fame baseball player.”

Of course, Biggio will be on the Hall of Fame ballot next year as part of a star-studded class that includes former Astros pitchers Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, along with Mike Piazza, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Biggio said. “These last four years went by super-fast.”

Biggio, of course, seems to be a lock to reach Cooperstown, considering he reached 3,060 hits and has more doubles than any right-handed hitter in history. Bagwell didn’t play as long as Biggio, but his numbers are equally as impressive.

During Bagwell’s 15 seasons, the Astros had their most successful run in franchise history, qualifying for the postseason six times while finishing at .500 or above 13 times. The Astros had the third-best winning percentage (.531) in the NL from 1991-2005.

In 1994, Bagwell became just the third player in history to win the NL Most Valuable Player Award by a unanimous vote after hitting .368 with 39 home runs, 116 RBIs, a .750 slugging percentage, .451 on-base percentage and a career-high 1.201 OPS.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star, earned three Silver Slugger Awards, a Rawlings Gold Glove Award and remains as the only first baseman in NL history to reach the 30-30 club in home runs and stolen bases in a season, which he did twice in his career.

Here are some of Bagwell’s accomplishments (entering 2011 season):

HOW BAGWELL MEASURES UP ALL-TIME

  • .948 career OPS ranks 22nd in Major League history and 10th among right-handed hitters. Four of the nine right-handed hitters ranked ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame, while four others are not yet eligible for induction.
  • .408 career on-base percentage ranks 15th all-time among right-handed hitters and ninth all-time among first basemen (3rd among RH first basemen).
  • is one of just 12 players in baseball history to hit at least 400 home runs while compiling a .408-or-higher onbase percentage.
  • is the only first baseman in NL history to reach the 30-30 club in home runs and stolen bases, and the only first baseman in ML history to reach this milestone twice in a career.
  • is the just the eighth player in ML history to win both the Rookie of the Year (1991) and Most Valuable Player (1994) awards.
  • is the only first baseman in ML history and one of 12 players all-time to reach 400 home runs and 200 stolen bases.
  • is one of five players in history to collect 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored in six consecutive seasons (1996-2001). Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Albert Pujols are the others.
  • is the only player in history to record 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, 100 runs scored and 100 walks in six consecutive seasons (1996-2001).
  • .297 career average ranks 18th all-time among players with 400 home runs, and 10th all-time among righthanded hitters with 400 home runs.

AMONG HIS PEERS (1991-2005)

  • 1,529 RBIs ranked second in the Majors and first among right-handed hitters.
  • 1,517 runs scored ranked third in the Majors.
  • ranked third in the Majors in hits (2,314), walks (1,401) and extra-base hits (969).
  • ranked fifth in the Majors in home runs (449) and games played (2,150).
  • reached 100 RBI eight times, 100 runs scored nine times, 30 home runs eight times, 100 walks seven times, 1.000 OPS four times, .300 batting average six times.
  • finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting five times.

SOLID DECADE

  • from 1994-2003, led all first basemen in hits, runs, walks, extra-base hits, doubles and stolen bases, ranked second in games and RBIs and third in home runs.

Bagwell falls short in Hall of Fame voting

The Astros will have to wait for a Hall of Famer to call their own.

Jeff Bagwell, the Astros’ all-time leader in homers and RBIs, fell short of being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, garnering 41.7 percent of the vote on his first time on the ballot in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven were the only two players to make the Hall this year.

Players need 75 percent of the votes to be elected and can stay on the ballot for as long as 15 years as long as they receive at least five percent of the vote.

Several voters who have made their Hall of Fame selections public have questioned whether Bagwell used performance-enhancing drugs during his career. Bagwell has routinely denied using any kind of drugs and hasn’t been linked to any juicing, but some voters remain skeptic.

Bagwell would appear to have a better chance to get elected next year when a thin group of first-timers are eligible, but the list of 2013 Hall of Fame eligible players includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Craig Biggio, Sammy Sosa and Mike Piazza.

Six former Astros have reached the Hall of Fame, but neither has worn an Astros cap: Nellie Fox, Eddie Mathews, Joe Morgan, Robin Roberts, Don Sutton and Nolan Ryan.

Bagwell, 42, last appeared in an Astros uniform during the 2005 World Series, the crowning achievement in a career that included the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1991 and the club’s only NL Most Valuable Player Award three years later.

Bagwell made four All-Star Game appearances, had 2,314 hits, 449 home runs, 1,529 RBIs and six trips to the playoffs. He was forced to retire after a degenerative shoulder condition made it impossible for him to throw a baseball and nearly impossible to swing a bat.

I still believe Bagwell will get in at some point, but in my mind he’s a classic case of a borderline Hall of Fame player. I say that as a guy who has extremely high standards for the Hall of Fame. I certainly can’t fault anyone for not voting for him because of his performance on the field.

Here’s the entire vote: Roberto Alomar 523 (90.0%), Bert Blyleven 463 (79.7%), Barry Larkin 361 (62.1%), Jack Morris 311 (53.5%), Lee Smith 263 (45.3%), Jeff Bagwell 242 (41.7%), Tim Raines 218 (37.5%), Edgar Martinez 191 (32.9%), Alan Trammell 141 (24.3%), Larry Walker 118 (20.3%), Mark McGwire 115 (19.8%), Fred McGriff 104 (17.9%), Dave Parker 89 (15.3%), Don Mattingly 79 (13.6%), Dale Murphy 73 (12.6%), Rafael Palmeiro 64 (11.0%), Juan Gonzalez 30 (5.2%), Harold Baines 28 (4.8%), John Franco 27 (4.6%), Kevin Brown 12 (2.1%), Tino Martinez 6 (1.0%), Marquis Grissom 4 (0.7%), Al Leiter 4 (0.7%), John Olerud 4 (0.7%), B.J. Surhoff 2 (0.3%), Bret Boone 1 (0.2%), Benito Santiago 1 (0.2%), Carlos Baerga 0, Lenny Harris 0, Bobby Higginson 0, Charles Johnson 0, Raul Mondesi 0, Kirk Rueter 0.

 

 

A closer look at Bagwell HOF candidacy

Jeff Bagwell is one of those players who probably should be in the Hall of Fame, but his case is certainly one that will be heavily debated. Bagwell was one a handful of new players on the ballot for election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and will now have to wait until Jan. 5 to find out if his name is called.

Bagwell probably would have been a slam-dunk to make the Hall of Fame had he reached 500 home runs. He fell just 51 shy of that mark when a degenerative shoulder ended his career early, but his numbers across the board appear Hall of Fame worthy. Sure, there will be those who will hold it against him that he played in era when many sluggers were under the suspicion of performance-enhancing drugs, but Bagwell has been clean of any allegations. There’s no reason to believe he didn’t do everything the right way.

Those same voters who are inclined to take into account such intangibles should remember Bagwell played most of his career in the cavernous Astrodome, which surely took several home runs away from him. And if you look beyond the gaudy numbers, the voters should remember Bagwell was a terrific defensive player and base runner. 

During Bagwell’s 15 seasons, the Astros had their most successful run in franchise history, qualifying for the postseason six times while finishing at .500 or above 13 times. The Astros had the third-best winning percentage (.531) in the NL from 1991-2005.

In 1994, Bagwell became just the third player in history to win the NL Most Valuable Player Award by a unanimous vote after hitting .368 with 39 home runs, 116 RBIs, a .750 slugging percentage, .451 on-base percentage and a career-high 1.201 OPS.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star, earned three Silver Slugger Awards, a Rawlings Gold Glove Award and remains as the only first baseman in NL history to reach the 30-30 club in home runs and stolen bases in a season, which he did twice in his career.

Here are more Bagwell stats, courtesy of the Astros: 

HOW BAGWELL MEASURES UP ALL-TIME

  • .948 career OPS ranks 22nd in Major League history and 10th among right-handed hitters. Four of the nine right-handed hitters ranked ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame, while four others are not yet eligible for induction.
  • .408 career on-base percentage ranks 15th all-time among right-handed hitters and ninth all-time among first basemen (3rd among RH first basemen).
  • is one of just 12 players in baseball history to hit at least 400 home runs while compiling a .408-or-higher onbase percentage.
  • is the only first baseman in NL history to reach the 30-30 club in home runs and stolen bases, and the only first baseman in ML history to reach this milestone twice in a career.
  • is the just the eighth player in ML history to win both the Rookie of the Year (1991) and Most Valuable Player (1994) awards.
  • is the only first baseman in ML history and one of 12 players all-time to reach 400 home runs and 200 stolen bases.
  • is one of five players in history to collect 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored in six consecutive seasons (1996-2001). Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Albert Pujols are the others.
  • is the only player in history to record 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, 100 runs scored and 100 walks in six consecutive seasons (1996-2001).
  • .297 career average ranks 18th all-time among players with 400 home runs, and 10th all-time among righthanded hitters with 400 home runs.

AMONG HIS PEERS (1991-2005)

  • 1,529 RBIs ranked second in the Majors and first among right-handed hitters.
  • 1,517 runs scored ranked third in the Majors.
  • ranked third in the Majors in hits (2,314), walks (1,401) and extra-base hits (969).
  • ranked fifth in the Majors in home runs (449) and games played (2,150).
  • reached 100 RBI eight times, 100 runs scored nine times, 30 home runs eight times, 100 walks seven times, 1.000 OPS four times, .300 batting average six times.
  • finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting five times.

SOLID DECADE

  • from 1994-2003, led all first basemen in hits, runs, walks, extra-base hits, doubles and stolen bases, ranked second in games and RBIs and third in home runs.

Thompson in running to be Astros hitting coach

Milt Thompson, who spent more than five seasons as the hitting coach of the Phillies before being let go in July, has interviewed for the Astros’ hitting coach position that became vacant when his former teammate, Jeff Bagwell, decided not to return.

Astros general manager Ed Wade said Wednesday that Thompson, who was in Houston on Monday to meet with Wade and manager Brad Mills, was one of a handful of candidates the team has interviewed either in person or by phone. Wade confirmed Thompson interviewed, but stopped short of naming any other candidates.

“He’s one of several people we’ve talked to over the last three days,” Wade said. “We hope to get to a point of making a decision by the end of next week or the early part of next week.”

Thompson, 51, played for the Astros in 1994-95 as part of a 13-year career in which he had 1,029 hits with six different clubs, all in the NL. He hit .313 with six RBIs in the 1993 World Series and set a Phillies record with five RBIs in Game 4 against Toronto.

He took over as hitting coach in 2005 and helped the Phillies finish second in the NL in scoring in 2005, first in 2006 and 2007, second in 2008 and first again in 2009. This year, the Phillies were second in the NL in runs scored behind Cincinnati, but Thompson was let go following a rough stretch offensively in the middle of the season.

Thompson has also interviewed as hitting coach with Seattle.

The Astros relieved hitting coach Sean Berry of his duties at the All-Star break and gave the job to Bagwell, the franchise’s all-time leader in homers and RBIs. The team improved offensively in the second half, and Bagwell was offered a two-year contract to return. But he told the Astros last month the commitment to the job would take him away from his family too much.

Berry relieved of duties, Bagwell hired

The Astros have relieved hitting coach Sean Berry of his duties, general manager Ed Wade announced today.

Berry will be replaced by former Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell, who has been serving as a special assistant to the general manager since his retirement in 2006. Berry, who had been the Astros hitting coach for the past five seasons, has been offered an opportunity to remain in the Astros organization.

Bagwell, who will not be in uniform for today’s 1:05 p.m. game, will begin his duties as hitting coach after the All-Star Break.

As part of his role as a special assistant, Bagwell has spent time working with minor league and Major League hitters in Spring Training and has visited several minor league clubs during the regular season to provide additional instruction. Bagwell has also assisted the baseball operations staff with player evaluations and minor league player development programs.

During his Astros career (1991-2005), Bagwell set franchise records with 449 home runs and 1,529 RBI. A four-time All-Star, Bagwell won National League Rookie of the Year honors in 1991 and the N.L. MVP Award in 1994.

 

Bagwell fond of Bud Norris

Astros icon Jeff Bagwell, who is a special assistant to the general manager as well as a television analyst for Saturday home games, has had a chance to see several of the up-and-coming players in the Minor Leagues the last few years. And Bagwell likes what he has seen from Bud Norris, who won a spot in the Astros’ rotation this year but was roughed up in his debut Friday.

“I expect a lot from Bud Norris,” Bagwell said. “Bud has great stuff, he’s got a personality that maybe even his teammates don’t like. But I love him. Anybody that really loves baseball would love it. Bud is off the wall. He’s not arrogant, but he believes in his ability and he’s got tons of ability.

“He’s got a chance to be in our organization pitching first or second in the rotation for years to come, and so I’m excited about that. I truly love him, and I think he’s going to do great. I really do. That’s a nice thing for us for the future.”

Bagwell said developing pitching is crucial these days considering how expensive pitchers are on the open market.

“I remember back in 2001 our young kids coming up, we had Roy [Oswalt], Wade [Miller], Carlos [Hernandez] and Tim [Redding], and I remember sitting here talking to [Craig Biggio] and saying we have a chance to be good for while,” Bagwell said. “In today’s game it’s very hard to go out and pay for pitching because pitching costs so much money. You can get a 10-10 guy and you have to pay him $11 million and he has an ERA of 4.50. If we develop our own guys, we have time to keep them in our own nest.”

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Here’s what Astros general manager Ed Wade had to say Saturday afternoon about the club’s 0-4 start:

“You’ve got to come out and play,” Wade said. “We’ve got a good ballclub and I know the guys that are struggling right now are going to hit. It’s not seven rookies we’re counting on to come through. There are guys with some pretty good track records who are struggling right now, so it’s an adjustment they’re able to make on their own, but part of it is breathing through your eyes and relaxing and let it flow.

“As opportunities present themselves and guys are struggling, as is usually the case people begin to press a little bit and it becomes, ‘Are we going to win a game before we leave town? Are we going to win tonight?’ They’re hearing it at the grocery story and every place else they go, and it’s human nature to press a little bit.

“They just have to prepare and play, and that’s normally what they’ve done every game I’ve been around these guys. They prepare well and put their best foot forward.”

 

Brocail, Bagwell and Manny on prowl in LA

Relief pitcher Doug Brocail was back on the road with the Astros on Thursday, which meant the clubhouse scene was a little more jovial. Brocail took pride in finishing a crossword puzzle and then welcomed reporters to get into the box against him.

That’s because Brocail will be throwing a simulated game Friday. He’s been on the disabled list since May 4 with a strained left hamstring and was giddy over getting back on the mound to face hitters and field his position.

Depending on how he does Friday, Brocail could be close to setting a schedule for a Minor League rehab assignment.

“I need to get in the situation of breaking to first [base],” Brocail said. “You can’t really get that until you get in the game. As much as I hate rehab assignments, this one is going to be a necessity only because if I over-stride or if I move too quickly, I’ve got to know what it’s going to do.”

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Astros manager Cecil Cooper said he will approach pitching to Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez during this weekend’s series in Los Angeles the same way he has pitched to Cardinals All-Star Albert Pujols.

“If there’s a chance to walk him when he has a chance to hurt you, you have to walk him,” Cooper said. “The only way to do that is you have to get the guys out in front of him. Will he change the strategy? Not a whole lot. But you can’t let him beat you.”

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Jeff Bagwell, the Astros’ all-time leader in home runs and RBIs and a special assistant to the general manager, is making a rare road trip with the club this weekend in Los Angeles.

“I think he’s here more to visit with [Dodgers catcher Brad] Ausmus than he is with us,” Houston manager Cecil Cooper said.

Actually, Bagwell will remain with the big club through the weekend before heading to the Astros’ Single-A affiliate in Lancaster next week to check some of the organization’s prospects.

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