Bagwell’s Road to Cooperstown: Swung Through Cape Cod Baseball League

By: CCBL Public Relations Office
01/19/2017 11:13 AM -

(CAPE COD, MA – JANUARY 19, 2017) – Before Houston Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell broke into the Majors, he gave Cape Cod Baseball League fans a preview of his Hall of Fame career to come.

     In the summers of 1987 and ‘88, Bagwell played for the Chatham A’s (now the Chatham Anglers). A Boston-native, he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1989 before being traded to Houston in 1990. Yesterday, league officials learned that Bagwell, who retired in 2005 after 15 seasons with the Astros, had been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

     “On behalf of the entire Cape Cod Baseball League community, we extend our congratulations to Jeff Bagwell and his family. 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,” Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) Commissioner Paul Galop said.

     While playing for Chatham in 1987, Bagwell initially struggled with a .208 batting average. But, when he returned the following summer, he posted a .315 batting average with a .449 on-base percentage. That summer, Bagwell was selected to be the starting third-basemen to represent the East in the Cape League annual All-Star Game – a game in which he went 4-4 with a home run.

     He also played in the Boardwalk and Baseball Tournament that featured a Cape League team competing against four teams from other summer college leagues. In that tournament, Bagwell helped lead the Cape League team to victory, the only team in the tournament to use wood-bats.

     Bob Whalen, head coach at Dartmouth College and also Bagwell’s Cape League coach recalled the impression Bagwell left on him then.

     “I had the pleasure of watching Jeff play in high school and at Hartford University and I had the distinct privilege of coaching him in Chatham in the summer 1988,” Whelan said. “He was a terrific player that had a great presence about him wherever he went.”

     “I realized two things about him right away: First, he did not want to be good, he wanted to be great, in every aspect of the game. Second, he made the commitment to becoming a Major League player every day. Many kids enjoy the competition and status of being in the Cape League but Jeff showed up for early work-outs every day to work at getting better. Jeff is one of the most loyal and hardest working players I’ve ever coached. He put the numbers up and earned this distinction on his own. I’m very happy for him and his family,” Whelan said.

     While Bagwell isn’t the first Cape Leaguer to eventually be elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame – Pie Traynor, Craig Biggio (Bagwell’s teammate in Houston) and Frank Thomas are the other former Cape Leaguers to earn that distinction – he is the first Cape League alum to go on to hit over 400 home runs in the Big Leagues.  

     Whenever a former Cape League player reaches the pinnacle of the sport, it’s exciting for league officials, volunteers and fans, Galop said, “because 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?”  

Sean Gonsalves, Regan Communications
(508) 420-5566 ext. 118 (w) 617-308-8393 (c)

About Cape Cod Baseball League:
     The premier collegiate summer league in the nation, the Cape Cod Baseball League attracts players from across the country, representing all college divisions to play in the 10-team loop. Tracing its roots back to 1885, the Cape League embarks this June on one of its most exciting slates to date, featuring a 44-game regular-season schedule and an action-packed postseason. Among the highlights will be the 2017 Cape League All-Star Game on Saturday, July 22 at Spillane Field, home of the Wareham Gatemen. As the league celebrates its 132st year, it counts more than 1,100 all-time alumni performing at all levels of professional baseball with a record number (292) former Cape Leaguers on Major League rosters. For more information visit


Search Archive »


Browse by Year »

Browse by Month »
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
December 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
August 2003
July 2003
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
November 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000