Thursday, June 5, 2014

#227 Jeff Bagwell

About the Front: Topps did quite a job of portraying the up-and-coming Jeff Bagwell as a slack-jawed yokel with their photo choice.

About the Back: The Red Sox have been oft-derided over the years for trading Bagwell for a rental of reliever Larry Andersen in mid-1990, but as you can see he didn't discover his home run swing until arriving in Houston.

Triple Play:

1. Is Jeff Bagwell the unlikeliest multiple-time 30-30 player? In 1997, he slugged 43 home runs and swiped 31 bags. Two years later, he had 42 homers and 30 steals.

2. I love the coincidental parallels between Jeff Bagwell and fellow powerful first baseman Frank Thomas. They were both born on May 27, 1968 and drafted in 1989. Each won his league's MVP award in 1994. Though their teams met in the World Series in 2005, both were limited to less than 40 games that season due to injuries. Bagwell played in the Fall Classic, but not well (.425 OPS, 0 RBI in 10 PA); the Big Hurt was inactive.

3. Anyone who doesn't believe that Bagwell belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame can go soak their head. .297/.408/.540 (149 OPS+) over 2,150 games. 1,517 runs. 488 doubles and 449 home runs. 1,529 RBI.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I've never seen anything quite like Bagwell's wide-legged deep crouch while batting.

Bill James Said: "If I were to draw up a list of five players with the best chance to be National League MVP in 1994, Bagwell would certainly be on the list." Take a bow, Billy.

On This Date in 1993: June 5. Seattle's Erik Hanson holds the Orioles to three singles through six innings before losing his touch in the seventh. Clinging to a 2-0 lead, Hanson gives up a leadoff double to Mike Devereaux and a game-tying homer to Leo Gomez on consecutive pitches. An inning later, Devo clubs an Earl Weaver special: a three-run, go-ahead home run. The visiting Mariners fall to the Orioles 5-3, with Gregg Olson picking up the save after a Ken Griffey, Jr. home run chased rookie reliever and winning pitcher Brad Pennington. Hanson is saddled with an eight-inning, complete-game loss.

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