The Better Deal

Numbers don't lie. Dollar for dollar and stat for stat, the Astros' Jeff Bagwell is worth more than the Rangers' bonus baby, Alex Rodriguez.
Hit Man: Huge offensive production and loyalty too.
Photograph by Robert Seale

In honor of opening day 2001, here’s a quiz for Astros and Rangers fans. Can you name the major league ballplayer who last year hit more than 45 home runs, collected more than 100 RBIs, and scored more than 150 times—a feat equaled in the history of baseball only by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Jimmie Foxx? The answer, as any die-hard Astros fan can tell you, is Houston’s first baseman Jeff Bagwell. Though the Astros had a rotten season last year, finishing 23 games out of first place, Bagwell treated pitchers like they were in Little League. He pounded 47 homers, drove in 132 runs, and scored 152 times.

What he did not do, however, was sign the richest contract in the history of professional sports last December for an unholy $252 million over ten years. That honor belongs

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