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Batting Around with Jeff Bagwell

Batting Around with Jeff Bagwell

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The Vitals: 6-0, 200

DOB: May 27, 1968 In: Boston, MA

Childhood Hero: "Carl Yastrzemski. I met him in 1994 in Houston. Had a picture taken with him, he sent it back to me, signed and all that kind of stuff. He was very nice to me."

Nicknames: "Bag, Baggie."

Early Baseball Memory: "Playing pepper with my father after he got home from work. The things that meant a lot to me -- since I could walk -- he played catch, threw batting practice ever since I was old enough really."

Childhood Dream: "Honestly, to be a professional baseball player. Growing up in Connecticut, being a Red Sox fan, I wanted to be a shortstop."

First Job: "Forklift operator in a heating equipment plant in Old Saybrook, CT [age 16]."

First Car: "1980 orange Mercury Capri [laughs]."

Funny Baseball Memory: "I saw Tuffy Rhodes, a guy on our team a few years ago who used to sleep all the time -- we thought he was a narcoleptic. And one time he was sleeping on the plane -- with his head back and his mouth open. One of the guys put a cigarette in his mouth and he was actually smoking a cigarette while he was sleeping [smiles]."

Pre-Game Feeling: "I'm nervous the first time I get up there. As soon as I step in the batter's box, I'm all right. [Do you visualize?] Always -- me hitting home runs [laughs]. But things change during at-bats. Say to myself, 'Stay back, get a strike and hit it hard.' I appreciate every chance I get to play this game. I had arm surgery a few years ago. You never know when it's going to end. So I just look forward to every at-bat."

Greatest Sports Moment: "Opening Day 1991. My first game in the big leagues, in Cincinnati. The national anthem -- we just came back from the war in 1991. Playing the defending World Series champions, being 22-years-old and in the big leagues, it was unbelievable. I went 0-for-3, but I got my first hit the next game [against Jose Rijo]."

Most Painful Moment: "Breaking my hand in 1995 ... for the third time. In '93, when I broke it the first time, I was like, 'Oh man!' In '94, it was my best year but we went on strike the next day and never played again, so '95 was the worst, got hit by a fastball [by Brian Williams]."

Favorite Meal: "Steak, potatoes, with red wine."

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: "Raisin Bran."

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: "Chocolate."

Favorite Movies: "Godfather, Field of Dreams, The Natural."

Musical Tastes: "I like everything, diverse. Metallica."

Favorite Athletes To Watch: "Michael Jordan. Charles Barkley -- entertaining, very emotional. He had fun playing the game. I know Charles from when he played in Houston, he's a great guy, very candid. He's awesome. I love him, one of my favorite athletes ever. Barry Bonds -- watch him hit late in a game. Rollie Fingers. Mark McGwire. Mike Tyson. Roy Jones Jr."

Closest Baseball Friends: "Craig Biggio. And I'd have to say Ken Caminiti, Darryl Kile were very close friends."

Toughest Competitors: "Biggio -- 15 years together. He'll do whatever it takes for the team to win. Jeff Kent -- He's very intense on the field, cares only about winning. I like his approach. Rob Dibble -- pitched for the Reds in the early '90s. Albert Belle. Lenny Dykstra."

People Qualities Most Admired: "People that never give up, people that are very persistant at what they do. People who are not satisfied at being adequate, always want to be better. Seen too many players come into this game, have tons of ability, but never go anywhere. That bothers me."

Future Ambitions: "To win a World Series with Houston. That's it. I felt we had some great opportunities. In '98, I thought we might be able to beat the Yankees that year. In '99 and 2001 we had good teams, we just couldn't get by the first round. It's been frustrating. But we have a good team now with good pitching. We have a chance."

Scoop Malinowski is a contributor to MLB.com. He created the Biofile interview feature in 1992. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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