Look, I’d be excited about any of the Astros I grew up watching making Cooperstown. I was ecstatic about Biggio two years ago, for example. But Jeff Bagwell is a different matter all together.
I went to my first games at the Astrodome when I was three or four. We sat behind first base, so for little!me it was natural for Bagwell, the first baseman, to become my favorite player. I went to games whenever I visited my grandparents in Houston during the season, and we kept sitting there, both at the Astrodome and later at Minute Maid. We kept sitting there, and Baggy kept playing first base for the Astros.
Those short bats for kids with signatures stamped on then? I have one with his signature. I have two stuffed animals (from different uniform eras) that bear his name and number. I have a 2005 World Series baseball that he signed. I don’t have memorabilia for any other player. Just Baggy. Even a decade after his retirement.
I’ve been waiting over the past few years, hoping, desperately wanting him to make the Hall of Fame. So when it became real today, it was not just the excitement I’d felt for Biggio. This was personal. It was a reminder of the little girl I was, playing a baseball-like game in the living room while wearing a dress, the Bagwell bat in my hands. This was the man I grew up watching more than any other player, a player who was a key part of me falling in love with the Astros and with baseball.
I almost cried trying to find these words.
Congrats, Baggy. I loved watching you play.