Jeff Bagwell

Jeff BagwellMost certainly the best player in baseball history who absolutely stunk in the post-season so many times. In 33 post-season games, Bagwell had six extra-base hits, and four of those came in the 2004 Division Series against the Atlanta Braves. Bagwell was right smack dab in the middle of the lineup for the Astros in eight playoff series (in ’05 he was coming off the bench) and he managed just 13 RBI. The Astros were 9-24 in the 33 post-season games that Bagwell played in.

Bagwell grew up in the Boston area as a huge fan of Carl Yastrzemski, and then he was drafted by the Red Sox. But on August 30, 1990, when he was still a minor league prospect (highly touted) he was traded by Boston to the Houston Astros for journeyman relief pitcher Larry Andersen. Andersen had a 1.23 ERA for the Sox that season, helping the team to a division title. However, obviously the Astros ultimately got the better of the deal.

Art Howe deserves credit for switching Bagwell from his natural position (third base) to the first base spot. The reason was Ken Caminiti, who was entrenched at third. Bagwell and Caminiti became best friends in their four seasons together with the ‘Stros. Caminiti was implicated in steroid use, but it appears as if he used the illegal substance after he went to the San Diego Padres. It’s impossible at this time to know whether Bagwell also used steroids. At the age of 26, Bagwell’s power numbers jumped dramatically, but many players hit their prime at that age. However, Bagwell’s production seems suspect.

Four times in his career, Bagwell reached base 300 times in a season: 1996, 1997, 1999, and 2000. Among Astros, only Lance Berkman (2004) and Craig Biggio (1997) have also reached base 300 times in a season.