Chatham baseball fans planning future trips to Cooperstown will want to be on the lookout for a new team member in the storied Hall of Fame. Jeff Bagwell, who played for the A's back in the late 1980s, was elected to the Hall of Fame last week.
Bagwell, a Boston native, played for the then Athletics (now the Chatham Anglers) in 1987 and 1988 before being drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1989. In 1990 he was traded to the Houston Astros, retiring in 2005 after 15 seasons with the team.
According to a Cape Cod Baseball League press release, Cape League Commissioner Paul Galop was thrilled with the news of Bagwell becoming part of the Hall of Fame.
“On behalf of the entire Cape Cod Baseball League community, we extend our congratulations to Jeff Bagwell and his family,” Galop said. “We not only celebrate a career worthy of enshrinement in Cooperstown, we are grateful for having had the chance to see what a Hall-of-Famer-in-the-making looks like up close.”
Bagwell's first summer saw him emerge with just a .208 batting average, but the following season he swung into a .315 average with a .449 on-base percentage. He was chosen to be a member of the East All-Star team that summer, going 4-for-4 with a home run in the game.
Bagwell also participated in the Boardwalk and Baseball Tournament, which featured a CCBL team competing against a quartet of teams from other summer college baseball leagues. Bagwell ultimately led the Cape team to victory.
Bagwell joins fellow Cape Leaguers Pie Traynor, Craig Biggio, and Frank Thomas in the Hall of Fame, and is the first CCBL alumnus to hit more than 400 home runs in the Major Leagues.
Galop said the honor generates much excitement within the league.
“You go into the upcoming season here, see the best college baseball has to offer, and wonder, 'Which one of these guys is the next Jeff Bagwell?'” he said.
The 2017 season of the Cape Cod Baseball League is slated to start June 14.