Baseball Hall of Fame induction: Jeff Bagwell thanks Craig Biggio, Astros fans

Crowd Gathering for Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

There may be no crying in baseball, but likely there will be a tear or two shed during the speeches on induction day at the Hall of Fame.

After the ceremony concluded, Bagwell along with the rest of the 2017 induction class which included commissioner emeritus Bud Selig, long time baseball executive and GM John Schuerholz, Ivan Rodriguez and Tim Raines, took turns answering questions for the media in a short availability following their enshrinement.

It was a picture ideal Sunday for fans who came out for the induction ceremony.

Selig never realized his childhood dream of replacing Joe DiMaggio in center field for the New York Yankees - he couldn't hit a curve ball - but he left a large imprint during more than 22 years as the leader of the game. He was instrumental in the approval of interleague play, the expansion of the playoffs, splitting each league into three divisions, instituting video review and revenue-sharing in an era that saw 20 new ballparks.

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Always humble, Bagwell has said that didn't expect to be honored with a spot in the Hall of Fame, but at least one of his former teammates knew that he was destined for Cooperstown. "I wanted to kind of be like you and he finally accepted and I followed".

Jeff Bagwell, who played his entire 15-year career for the Houston Astros, just wanted to be able to play pro baseball one day. Raines played the first half of his career with the defunct Expos, and Bagwell was born in Boston and grew up in CT, attending college at the University of Hartford.

"Without Andre Dawson there's no telling where I'd be", Raines said. Elected in his seventh year on the ballot, Bagwell is the only first baseman in history with 400 career home runs and 200 stolen bases.

Bagwell retired after the 2005 season, in which the Astros reached the World Series for the first and only time. You brought me to love this game of baseball.

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"I can't believe there are so many people from Houston", he said. For a little guy with not much speed, I truly appreciate that. "But I'm insanely glad that we have him to hang onto". Pudge was named the National League Championship Series MVP, helping the Marlins win the World Series that season. He credited divine providence and fate for his good fortune, starting with a case of German measles that left him deaf in his right ear at age five, which he said forced him to be more attentive.

Bagwell, a very stoic and stone faced guy during his playing career, still displayed that same even keel demeanor during much of his speech on Sunday.

"The message was delivered", Schuerholz said.

With Schuerholz calling the front-office shots, Atlanta won a remarkable 14 straight division championships. Selig, Schuerholz, Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez each carved his own niche in major league baseball, and on Sunday they will receive the game's ultimate reward _ induction into the Hall of Fame. They say they're a bundle of nerves.

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Raines won the support of 86 percent of the sports reporters who cast ballots.

Also in the audience are Phil Garner, Jose Cruz, Jose Guzman, Larry Dierker, Willie Randolph, Bob Uecker, and golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez.

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