A couple of hours ago, I had no clue of what I was going to write for the mothership. Then I was stuck by inspiration, wrote 800 words, filed my story, and started surfing the internet and catching up on Twitter. Which is where I found a blog post, written by former Astros third baseman Morgan Ensberg, on the greatness of Jeff Bagwell.
So my readers, you will be extra lucky as I just have to write about this about this blog post.
Ensberg writes about Bagwell from the viewpoint of a teammate. He doesn't write about Bagwell the player. He writes about him as a leader, and as a person. And what he writes makes me wish that Jeff Bagwell were my friend. Yet what he writes makes me realize that I do, in fact, have friends that are like Jeff Bagwell.
Ensberg writes about how he was called up to the team, and about how one of his minor league coaches told him the best thing to do was to just shut up and listen to what the veterans said. And Ensberg writes about how horrified he was to find his locker being between Bagwell's and Craig Biggio's, because that's where all of the action on the team was. Then we meet Jeff Bagwell, the leader of the clubhouse.
Bagwell took Ensberg under his wing -- and we're led to believe that Ensberg didn't get special treatment and that Bagwell treated everybody the same way. Ensberg once brought a round of drinks for his teammates at a party, even though he was a rookie, because he wanted to fit in. Bagwell went up to him and told he never needed to do this again. Bagwell said that it was his job to buy the drinks, and the food, and whatever. He gives more examples, and I don't do it justice, so go read it. But what comes out is that Bagwell is just a great person who loved his teammates and did things the right way.
Bagwell has always been one of my favorite Astros. There was just this way about him. He didn't do things with flash -- he didn't have the torn uniform pants or the dirt on his shirt or the messed up helmet like Craig Biggio. Bagwell just played. I've never seen a smarter base runner. I've never understood why the Astros haven't asked Bagwell to come to spring training and teach the new kids how to run bases because Bagwell never had speed, yet he was never thrown out. He knew how to stretch a single into a double. He could steal bases, and I've never seen another Astros who was at good at going from first to third on a single, or from second to home on a single, than Bagwell.
It was a joy to watch Bagwell play first base, because not only did he have great instincts, but he also did his homework and was great at positioning. Before he hurt his throwing shoulder, he wsa the best first baseman I've ever seen when it came to make the 3-4-3 double play, or making a throw home to get a runner. He knew when to charge on a bunt, and he was deadly at nailing runners trying to advance to second or third on a bunt.
I hope you go read this Ensberg post. I'm sorry I couldn't get to it for the mothership -- maybe next week. It's a well written blog post, and it makes me respect Bagwell more than I already did.