'It was definitely worth the wait'
Despite loss, Bagwell, Biggio enjoyed their first Fall Classic
HOUSTON -- Less than a week ago, the focus of the World Series centered largely on Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, two Houston Astros lifers who had 33 years of big league experience between them, but had never been to the big show.
On Wednesday, following the Astros' 1-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox in Game 4 that finished off a Fall Classic sweep, the attention turned back to the two possible future Hall of Famers, who fell short of the ultimate goal of bringing a World Series championship to Houston, their adopted home.
The overall mood in the clubhouse was somewhat somber, but not funereal. Bagwell and Biggio focused on the good things about their World Series experience. Like the fact that this team got there at all.
"I'm more proud of this team than any other team I've been a part of," Biggio said. "You consider where we came from, to get to the World Series ... that speaks volumes about the guys in this clubhouse. Getting to the World Series is something I'm most proud of."
The most poignant moment for Biggio occured in the minutes leading up to Game 1 at U.S. Cellular Field. Standing on the white chalk foul line, Biggio realized he had arrived when he heard his name during the elaborate pregame introductions.
"You realize you're the only two teams that are playing," Biggio said. "It was definitely worth the wait."
The soon-to-be 40-year-old admitted his age and experience helped him appreciate what a privilege it is to play in a World Series. He and Bagwell, teammates since 1991, spent their entire careers pining for this moment. Biggio mentioned several times over the years, "I'm not greedy. I just want to go to one."
Biggio did his best to take a mental picture of every moment of the experience, as did Bagwell, who sped up his rehab so he could be a part of the postseason.
"We don't have the fortune of being like Derek Jeter, who got to go [to the World Series] so early in his career," Biggio said. "I believe he appreciates it just as much as anybody. The goal that we talk about every year is to get this city and organization to the World Series. It's a big thing. I'm glad that we were both part of it."
Bagwell had limited role in October, serving as pinch-hitter and, for two games at U.S. Cellular Field, the designated hitter.
As he has for 15 years, he spoke on behalf of the team for the droves of media that invaded the Astros' clubhouse after Game 4. But he was quick to say that he hurt more for his teammates than for himself.
"I'm very disappointed we lost," Bagwell said. "I said before the series, 'Someone's going to be unhappy at the end.' And I'm unhappy.
"I wanted to win for these guys, probably more than I did for me. These are the guys that did it. It wasn't me. I feel bad for Brad [Ausmus], I feel bad for Bidge. And I feel bad for Willy Taveras. I feel bad for everybody. It was such a great team effort.
"But I will look back on this and I will be happy that I had an opportunity to get here."
Bagwell and Biggio realize the 2005 team wasn't the best one they've played on, by any stretch. The pitching was stellar, of course, but the offense was a far cry from the slugging teams of the late 1990s.
That's the biggest reason Bagwell and Biggio are so proud of this year's team.
"Some of us were laughing, saying it's the Miracle of Minute Maid," Bagwell said. "It was a heck of a season. As crazy as 2004 was, this was even crazier. But it shows what a terrific bunch of guys we have, guys that don't quit, guys that no matter how they get kicked in the teeth, they find a way to put it back together and go out the next day."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.