Baseball Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell
DENVER, CO – APRIL 24, 2004: Jeff Bagwell of the Houston Astros during a regular season game at Coors Field
(Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images)
Jeff Bagwell was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 30, 2017. This is an incredible honor. It says you are one of the best baseball players ever. Jeff may be the best baseball player ever from Connecticut!
Jeff was born in Boston in 1968. His family moved to Connecticut when he was a toddler. He grew up in Killingworth. Killingworth is a small town in southern Connecticut. Jeff went to Xavier High School in Middletown.
Jeff Bagwell up at bat for the Hartford Hawks. photo: Hartford Athletics, University of Hartford
Jeff Bagwell at third base for the Hartford Hawks. photo: Hartford Athletics, University of Hartford
Jeff went to college at the University of Hartford. He played baseball for the Hartford Hawks. He played third base. Jeff was a strong hitter. During his three seasons, he had 31 home runs. “My college career was great,” he told The New Haven Register.
The Boston Red Sox was his favorite team. In 1989 he was selected to play for the Red Sox! They started him with their minor league team.
During the 1990 season he played for the New Britain Red Sox. At the end of the season, he was traded to the Houston Astros. At first he was disappointed. Texas was far from home. The Astros were not the Red Sox!
In Houston he tried his best. It paid off! In 1991 he was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year. He was name MVP (Most Valuable Player) in 1994. He hit 47 home runs in the 2000 season. The Astros went to the World Series in 2005.
Jeff may be the best player to ever wear a Houston Astros uniform. He played first base for 17 years. During his career he scored 1,521 runs. He hit 449 homeruns. He stole 202 bases. He also helped score 1,529 runs (RBI’s or runs batted in.) He is most proud of his hustle, his dedication, and being a great teammate.
At the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Jeff gave a speech. He said it was very important to thank his parents, teammates, trainers, and even the team secretary. “Baseball is truly about relationships,” he said. “It’s a grind out there, but it’s the relationships you make in the clubhouse that have really and truly given me a unique opportunity to grow as a man.”
Jeff talked about his family. “My father would come home at 6 o’clock, take off his shoes. We’d go outside, play catch, play pepper. Then at 7, we would try to turn on the Red Sox game. We would sit there at the table and watch the games. My dad would talk about his favorite player, Ted Williams. We’d talk about Yaz, talk about Fisk, about Rice, about Boggs. What we were doing was spending quality time together as a family.”
There are only three players born in Connecticut in the Baseball Hall of Fame. They all played more than 100 years ago. We can take pride in our state’s newest member of the Hall of Fame. And Jeff is proud, too. He told The New Haven Register, “To be a Hall of Famer from Connecticut, it’s special.”
Many thanks to Tim DeMarco, curriculum coordinator for East Hartford Public Schools, for this story and to ESPN and the University of Hartford Hawks for use of their images.
“For Jeff Bagwell, Hall Of Fame Career A Family Journey,” The Hartford Courant, July 30, 2017
“Jeff Bagwell Headed to Hall of Fame, Proud of His Connecticut Roots,” The New Haven Register, July 21, 2017.
Baseball Hall of fame, http://baseballhall.org/hof/bagwell-jeff