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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Bryan-College Station Regional participants announced
Ian Curtis, Sports Writer • May 27, 2024

For the second time in three seasons, No. 3 national seed Texas A&M baseball will host the Bryan-College Station Regional, where it’ll...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Transcending legend

 
 

The writing is on the wall for the Houston Astros’ icon and legendary first baseman Jeff Bagwell. Though his retirement is not certain, Bagwell has been moved to the disabled list for the start of this season, and concedes that it would take “a miracle” to return. For fans of the Astros, his looming retirement is the end of an era for Houston baseball. It is during this time that he should be remembered for his contributions to the Astros’ ball club.
It is impossible to address Bagwell’s situation without first addressing the controversy surrounding him and the franchise’s wish to recoup $15.6 million worth of insurance money. Sadly, there will be no winners from this situation. It’s reasonable to argue that Bagwell should recognize his deteriorating numbers and walk away with dignity. It’s also reasonable to argue that Bagwell’s value to the franchise cannot be measured with a monetary yardstick, and he should be given special consideration given his 15 years of loyalty to Houston.
It’s difficult for this lifelong fan of Bagwell to accept the jaded view that his desire to play is selfish and damaging to the team. It’s sadly ironic that fans will demand loyalty from their athletes, and then turn on them like a pack of coyotes scenting blood when the players don’t deliver. Bagwell was belting home runs back when most students were still in elementary school. Bagwell and Craig Biggio put Houston on the map when it comes to baseball.
Players like Bagwell should be given that last chance to play. He has made it clear that he doesn’t want an unearned position: “I’m not going to be this kind of distraction and this broken-down first baseman over here that can’t throw it to the infielders. I said, ‘That’s enough, and I have to go in a different direction,'” said Bagwell, in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.
How the Astros’ management and fans treat such a class act will reverberate throughout the baseball community, one that largely respects Bagwell. The far-reaching implications will have an impact on future recruitment and reputation. It will be hard to justify what has been done to Bagwell ten years from now. At the end of the day, baseball is business to some, but a game of transcendence to many of the fans. Players who express that rarest of rarities – hometown loyalty – are heroes to the community. Bagwell is one of those players; he transcends the sport.
Statistically, he is one of the best, if not the best, players to have ever worn the Astros uniform. He holds the franchise record in home runs and RBIs. He’s the only first baseman in history to collect more than 400 home runs and 200 steals. He was the 1991 National League Rookie of the Year, and was the unanimous selection for the 1994 National League MVP. With his career numbers, he’ll likely be a first round Hall of Fame candidate.
And though these numbers are nothing short of incredible, it’s his 15 years of unflinching service to the Astros that means the most to fans. The 115 second standing ovation he received at the season opener is indicative of this.
Bagwell’s impending retirement will be one of the toughest times of his life. It is during this time that his accomplishments should be recalled. Remember him for his “invisible bench” batting stance, his reserved and classy manner or his devastating power – but most of all, remember him.

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