That was a tough title to write. I love Craig Biggio. I do. He was everything you could ask for in a ballplayer. But he was not as great as the man who enters the Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday, Jeff Bagwell.
Look at the Astro single season records held by Bagwell:
- Highest BA – .368 (1994)
- Highest OBP – .454 (1999)
- Highest SLG – .750 (1994)
- Highest OPS – 1.201 (1994)
- Most Runs scored – 152
- Most Home runs – 47 in a season (1994)/13 in a month (June 1994) – Including most in one season at Minute Maid – 28 (2000) in the Astrodome 23 (1994) and on the road – 30 (1999)
- His 449 HRs are 123 (38% more) than second place Lance Berkman
- His 1529 RBIs are 354 (30% more) than second place Biggio
- Most walks with 1401
- He trails Biggio in hits, 2Bs, runs, because injuries cut short his career and he played in 700+ less games and had 3100+ less ABs than his buddy
- His career .297 BA is behind Altuve and his .408 OBP, .540 SLG and .948 OPS are a tad behind Lance Berkman. Of course his numbers were over a much longer time and included his late decline
Intangibles and others
- Rookie of the year – 1991
- MVP -1994
- Was an All-Star 4 times, though he failed to make the All-Star team in two seasons when he was top 10 MVP and one year when he finished with 124 runs, 34 HRs and 111 RBIs
- Just by the eyeball test, even though he was not the swiftest Astro by a long shot he was one of the best base runners in the game, rarely making a mistake on the bases, taking extra bases often and he stole more than 30 bases as a 1B twice in his career.
- Again by eyeball he was one of the best right handed fielding 1Bs in the game due to his roots as a 3B and he perfected the art of charging the bunt and gunning the lead runners down.
Great Core Years
They often talk about how true Hall of Famers have a big core of years when they were truly great.
If you look at Jeff Bagwell’s core 10 seasons from 1994-2003, here are his numbers.
He averaged 116 runs scored, 36 doubles, 37 HRs, and 115 RBIs. Remember that 9 of his 15 seasons were in the cavernous Astrodome. He also would have had even higher numbers, if he had not lost about 100 games in 1994 and 1995 to two HBPs to his hands.
During those 10 seasons he averaged .301 BA/,419 OBP/.574 SLG/.993 OPS. One season like that would have been what most players would love to have on their resume.
Bags was the greatest Astro to play for the team. He did not have the longevity of the man he will always be linked to Craig Biggio. He did not have the playoff success of the only other man who was a great hitter and power hitter for the team. Lance Berkman. And he may one day get displaced by a Jose Altuve or Carlos Correa for greatest Astro ever.
But as he enters the Hall of Fame Jeff Bagwell can proudly wear the cap of the Astros as the greatest player to ever wear that cap to date.