There are moments for which you prepare yourself mentally for a while; but that didn’t help us at all today. When you deal with a situation as emotional as Jeff Bagwell announcing his retirement, all the words you had prepared for it suddenly are erased and you are left speechless.
It isn’t enough just to thank him for the class, respect for the fans and the fine way he behaved on and off the field. Just to think that a ballplayer was able to stay throughout his whole career with a single ball club, in these times of free agency and inflated markets. He did not just manage to stay there, but also become a franchise symbol.
There is no doubt in our mind that Jeff Bagwell is one of the great baseball players of all time. Five years from now, we shouldn’t be having a lot of discussions regarding his merits for a Hall of Fame berth. He sure has them. In the meantime, we’re glad to see he’ll remain in the organization in an active role.
And it couldn’t be any other way. He IS the Houston Astros. His image will always be synonymous with this organization. And those who are involved in any way with the Astros thank him for becoming such a huge example and a blueprint for the way we do things. He showed us that great things can be done with hard work, a lot of effort and class along the way.
Thank you so much, Jeff.