Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bagwell Underrated in All-Star Ballots

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bagwell Underrated in All-Star Ballots

Article excerpt

Jeff Bagwell's modesty - and patience - are being tested this season.

So far, both remain intact.

The Houston Astros' first baseman is very reluctant to trumpet even his most obvious triumphs - like Friday night when he went four for five with three home runs, including two in one inning, continuing an MVP-type season that has been lost on the All-Star voting fans.

It would have been a good time to brag on himself and rail at the injustice of the All-Star balloting format, which allows fans to pick the starters.

But Bagwell - in the top 10 of 14 NL offensive caterogies, yet fifth in the voting for first base - will have none of that.

"What am I supposed to say that I'm the greatest player ever?" he asked. "That's just not how it is. Baseball is the most humbling game there is. You can hit three home runs tonight and tomorrow go 0 for four.

"You don't get too high or two low. You enjoy the moment. At midnight, that day is gone and you start over again. Tomorrow can be a different day."

Most of Bagwell's days have been the same this season. He hasn't hit below .323 this season (on May 27) and was hitting .353 following a one hit in four at-bats in a 5-4 loss to Los Angeles on Sunday. He remained second in the NL behind San Diego's Tony Gwynn.

Bagwell leads the NL in RBIs, total bases, slugging percentage and extra-base hits.

With fans in larger markets casting more ballots, Bagwell forgives Astros fans for his low All-Star votes.

"We haven't won anything yet so people don't fill the stands everyday and because of that you don't get the votes, but I don't care," he said. "You could stick Barry Bonds, well maybe not him, but a couple other guys in here and they wouldn't get the votes either.

"That's not ragging on the city of Houston. That's just the way it is. We haven't won anything yet."

Bagwell's verstatility at the plate amazes manager Terry Collins. "He can hit this pitch (up) and he can hit this pitch (down and away)," Collins said. …

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