JEFF BAGWELL ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT, REACHES PERSONAL SERVICES CONTRACT AGREEMENT WITH ASTROS

Former MVP, Rookie of the Year hit 449 home runs for Houston franchise

HOUSTON, TX ? In a press conference held this morning at Minute Maid Park, longtime Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell announced his retirement.

The Astros also announced an ongoing personal services contract between the club and Bagwell, through the 2009 season.  As part of the agreement, Bagwell will assist the club?s Major League baseball operations staff with its Major and minor league player development programs, the Astros hitting development program, the amateur draft, scouting and minor league team operations and evaluations.  He will also spend time with the club in Spring Training, providing instruction to players and staff and evaluating both Major and minor league players.

Additionally, the annual Astros Jeff Bagwell Elite Hitters Camp in late January will be an opportunity for the club?s young hitters, including some with Major League experience, to refine and work on their game before Spring Training.  The camp will be held at Minute Maid Park each year in conjunction with the Astros Nolan Ryan Elite Pitchers Camp.

Bagwell will also travel with the Major League club on selected road trips and will observe the organization?s minor league clubs during the regular season.  He will also make various promotional appearances during the year, including the annual Astros FanFest and Winter Caravan.

The 38-year-old Bagwell finishes his career as the Houston franchise?s all-time leader in home runs, runs batted in and walks.  A four-time All-Star, Bagwell played in 15 Major League seasons from 1991-2005, winning the National League Most Valuable Player award in 1994 and the National League Rookie of the Year award in 1991.  He is one of only nine players in NL history to win both the MVP and Rookie of the Year awards in a career.

Bagwell played in 2,150 games during his Astros career, trailing only Craig Biggio (2,709) in franchise history.  He hit .297 (2314×7797) with 449 home runs and 1,529 RBI.  Bagwell also hit 488 doubles and 32 triples in his career while stealing 202 bases and scoring 1,517 runs.  He is one of only 10 players all-time with more than 400 home runs and 200 stolen bases and the only first baseman.  Additionally, Bagwell is also one of only six first basemen all-time with 1,500 runs batted in and runs scored.

In 1994, Bagwell was a unanimous choice as the National League MVP after hitting .368 (147×400) with 39 home runs and a league-leading 116 RBI.  He also led the league with 104 runs scored and became the first player to finish first or second in the league in average, runs, RBI and home runs since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

During his rookie season of 1991, Bagwell became the first Houston player to earn Rookie of the Year honors after hitting .294 (163×554) with 15 home runs and 82 RBI in 156 games.

Additionally, Bagwell joins Cal Ripken as the only players to join the Majors after 1972 and hit 400 home runs while playing their entire career with the same franchise.

Bagwell joins Barry Bonds as the only players to record as many as two seasons of 40 or more home runs with 30 or more stolen bases.  Bagwell hit 43 HR with 30 steals in 1997, and his 42-homer campaign in 1999 also included 30 steals.  Bonds accomplished the feat in both 1996 (42 HR, 40 SB) and 1997 (40 HR, 37 SB).  There have been only 10 instances all-time of players recording a 40 HR/30 SB season.  Bagwell?s 1997 season also represents the only season of at least 30 homers and 30 steals for a first baseman in Major League history.

The last Major League game played by Bagwell was Game 4 of the 2005 World Series, the first Fall Classic for the Astros in franchise history.  Bagwell contributed a key pinch-hit single in Game 2 of the Fall Classic at U.S. Cellular Field against the White Sox, scoring on a pinch-hit single by Jose Vizcaino that also scored Chris Burke to tie the score in the ninth inning.

Bagwell earned three NL Silver Slugger Awards at first base (1994, 1997, 1999) and a Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 1994 for the Astros.  He collected 30 homers, 100 RBI and 100 runs scored in six consecutive seasons from 1996-2001, and at the time, he joined Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth as the only players all-time to accomplish that feat

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