If the end of the line for Jeff Bagwell isn’t here, it’s getting really close.
Conceding that it might take “a miracle” for him to play again, Houston Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell went on the disabled list Saturday in a move that could signal the end of his major-league career.
The franchise’s all-time leader in home runs and RBIs is considering surgery to remove the bone spurs in his shoulder in a last-ditch effort to salvage his career, and the Astros will start a season without him on the roster for the first time in 16 years.
“I said I wasn’t going to embarrass myself,” said Bagwell, 37. “I felt like this was a joke. I couldn’t throw it to the infield. I could not get the ball to the infielders, and they were on the grass. And God bless my teammates. I mean, even (when I had to throw the ball back to the pitcher), they come to get the ball from me. It’s amazing how great they’ve been through this.
“I just could not get it to them. I said, ‘This is not what I want. I’m not going to continue to do this.’ We’re defending our National League championship this year. … And 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.’ ”
We all understand now why the Astros tried to collect on that insurance policy by claiming he was physically unable to play, right?
Bagwell was a great player and a class act. He’ll be the first career Astro to enter the Hall of Fame, and he’ll deserve all the plaudits he’ll get for that. I’m sure this wasn’t how he wanted to go, but sometimes there’s no choice in the matter. Kudos to him for recognizing the inevitable.
Whatever happens from here, I say Thank You to Jeff Bagwell for everything. The team, this city, and fans everywhere will miss seeing you on the field. Good luck and godspeed to you.