Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Player Profile: Jeff Bagwell

I have 78 cards of Jeff Bagwell. This one is from 1994 Donruss Triple Play.

Playing career: Jeff Bagwell was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1991, and the MVP in 1994. In his 15-year major league career, he hit 449 HR and both drove in and scored over 1500 runs. He was a bit of a bust in the post-season, however, hitting just .226 with 2 HR and 13 RBI in 106 at bats. He has not made the Hall of Fame despite stellar numbers, in large part due to (as yet) unfounded speculation that he used performance-enhancing drugs. This is unfortunate as there would be quite a debate about him without the steroid accusations – the retired players he is listed as most similar to are border-line Cooperstown worthy, either in (Stargell, Cepeda) or out (Delgado, McGriff).

Interesting stories: He is currently involved in a high-profile divorce case in Houston involving a prominent hand doctor who is splitting from his wife, Rachel Brown, who is now dating Bagwell. As part of the divorce proceedings it has been revealed that Bagwell went to rehab for alcoholism last year but failed to complete it, and consumes alcohol in front of his and Brown’s children.

Where he is now: Special Assistant to the General Manager for the Houston Astros.

My memories: As an AL fan I didn’t think much about Bagwell, and was surprised to see such strong support for him for the Hall of Fame. Looking at his numbers he was clearly excellent but only a borderline Hall of Famer, and he doesn’t really have the “beyond the numbers” narrative to boost him in my opinion. Still, if he did make it he wouldn’t be a bad selection, just borderline.

Google Autocomplete results: He is eighth when you type Jeff B, between Beukeboom, defensemen on the Stanley Cup Champion 1994 Rangers, and Jeff Bridges Movies, referring to the actor. There do not appear to be any other prominent Jeff Bagwells.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Stan Bahnsen.

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