Retired baseball player, Jeff Bagwell, was born on May 27, 1968 in Boston, Massachusetts. Bagwell played his entire career with the Houston Astros. After retiring as a player, he joined the Astros as an assistant to the General Manager.
Jeff Bagwell was selected in the fourth round of the 1989 draft by the Boston Red Sox. On August 30, 1990 the Red Sox traded him to the Houston Astros for 36-year old relief pitcher Larry Andersen to gear up for their playoff run.
That trade is now regarded as one of the most one-sided of all time. Although Andersen pitched well down the stretch in 1990 (allowing three runs in 22 innings of relief), and helped the Red Sox win the AL East division title on the last day of the season, Boston was swept in the American League Championship Series and then lost Andersen to free agency in part because of a so-called collusion settlement.
Although Bagwell was considered a top prospect, he was blocked from third base by veteran Wade Boggs. He also had to contend with two other top prospects at the position, Scott Cooper and Tim Naehring. However, both Cooper and Naehring were out of baseball by 1997.
Jeff Bagwell flourished in Houston, becoming one of the best players in the history of the Astros franchise. Bagwell spent his 15-year career in a Houston uniform and, along with teammate Craig Biggio, was synonymous with the Astros throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s.
Bagwell was also considered a strong fielder, winning a Gold Glove award in 1994, and compiling a career .993 fielding percentage. He also exhibited above-average speed and baserunning skills for a first baseman, stealing 202 bases over his career, including two seasons (1997, 1999) in which he stole at least 30 bases, and five seasons (1994, 1996-99) in which he stole at least 15. In 1997, he became the first full-time first baseman to steal 30 bases while hitting 30 home runs.
Bagwell was teammates with Craig Biggio for the entirety of his Major League career. While Derek Bell was on the team from 1995–1999, the trio was sometimes called "The Killer B's." The nickname also sometimes referred to Sean Berry and was later to include Lance Berkman and Carlos Beltran.
In 2001, Bagwell signed a five-year extension with Houston. By 2005, Bagwell was the seventh highest-paid player in the sport, receiving $18 million in the fourth year of the deal. However, shortly after the 2005 season began, a persistent arthritic condition in his shoulder sidelined him for what turned out to be three-quarters of the season. This same condition, which began to affect him in 2001, turned the former Golden Glove winner into a defensive liability at first base, forcing him to "push" the ball instead of throwing it. Teams began taking advantage of Bagwell's defensive weakness caused by the arthritic condition. As the condition worsened, Bagwell's offensive production suffered as well, and pressure mounted on the Astros' managers to bench the perennial All-Star. Although unable to throw, Bagwell was reactivated in September 2005 as a pinch hitter and played a small but symbolic role in the Astros' successful drive to capture the National League pennant. Bagwell was the Astros' designated hitter in the first two games of the World Series versus the Chicago White Sox, and a pinch hitter in the two games played in Houston.
The Houston Astros retired his number 5 jersey on August 26, 2007, prior to the start of a game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bagwell was the eighth player in Astros history to have his number retired. Most recently, Jimmy Wynn's No. 24 was retired in 2005.