A Favorite Jeff Bagwell Moment

Jerry Witte, 1B, 1951 Houston Buffs Jeff Bagwell, 1B, 2001 Houston Astros Enron Field, Houston August 3, 2001

Jerry Witte, 1B, 1951 Houston Buffs
Jeff Bagwell, 1B, 2001 Houston Astros
Enron Field, Houston
August 3, 2001

 

As we await the 5:00 PM 2016 word today on Jeff Bagwell and the Hall of Fame, aggressive snoopers on early voting among the new BBWAA members suggest that Jeff is hovering in the “.70s” on his need for the 75% total voter approval for induction this time into the Baseball Hall of Fame this coming summer.

Five o’clock? – Or is this plan another of those nuclear secret, Price-Waterhouse protected pieces of information that gets leaked at noon by some anonymous inside source? It doesn’t matter. Even if the patience of those of us who are pulling for former great Astro Jeff Bagwell this Wednesday, January 6, 2016 are going to he holding fast to our electronic instruments of the digital-quick early truth all day. Maybe there remain a few confidential processes out there that are still safe from invasive seekers of the truth ahead of schedule.

My personal favorite Jeff Bagwell moment was not even the November 2004 banquet evening in Houston when the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame inducted both Bagwell and Biggio into the state Hall of Fame. It happened during the time I served as Executive Director and Board Chair for the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame – and that one was major in my limited first-hand contact with our two Astros-local greats. I will never forget the smiles on both their faces when I turned from the speaking podium that night to say: “Craig and Jeff, we members of the TBHOF administration thought that you guys deserved this little dress rehearsal for the big Hall that awaits both of you a few years down the road.”

Well, it didn’t turn out to be that simple, and it won’t happen now as the doubleheader induction we hoped it would be, but nothing factual has happened since 2004 to change the performance arguments for both these great stars. What’s happened is the taint that has fallen so unjustly upon almost every player who worked out, worked hard, and performed with power during the so-called steroids era in MLB. In a very real way, Jeff Bagwell has become the poster boy for what happens to anyone who has been tainted by a level of distrust by association and there’s no way to prove available to you to show that you did not do what some suspicious minds think because of the general stink of the era in which you played.

We Jeff Bagwell supporters are hoping for his HOF induction as a statement of both justice and vindication. And we shall have our answer by five o’clock today – or sooner.

That being said, my favorite Jess Bagwell moment occurred at Minute Maid Park (or whatever it was being called on that night) on Friday, August 3, 2001, a night that I had accompanied old friend and now late, great Houston Buff slugging first baseman Jerry Witte to MMP to throw out the first pitch. The occasion was scheduled to honor Jerry Witte and the Houston Buffs on the 50th anniversary of their 1951 Texas League championship.

As it turns out, the Astros arranged for Jeff Bagwell to be the catcher for Jerry Witte on that special evening in which two great slugging Houston team first baseman shared a moment together – as men who played a half century apart.

Whenever it concluded, Jeff Bagwell gave Jerry a signed ball – and Jerry gave Jeff Bagwell a signed personal bat from his own playing days.

To read more about that evening, here’s a link to the column that we much later wrote about t for The Pecan Park Eagle:

https://bill37mccurdy.com/2009/09/30/jerry-wittes-last-ballgame/

Good Luck, Jeff! We are hoping that this is the year the BBWAA gets it right. If not, we will all stay on them until they do.

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Witte-Bagwell-02

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LATE NEWS ON THE VOTE

Griffey & Piazza In; Bagwell Near Misses the 75% Minimum

  1. Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.3%)~ Only 3 failed to vote for Junior. They should be fired.
  2. Mike Piazza (83.0%)
  3. Jeff Bagwell (71.6 %) ~ missed by 15 votes to reach the 330 votes  (75%) level

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WTNYBLOG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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