Bagwell was originally a Boston Red Sox fourth-round selection from the University of Hartford as a third baseman in the 1989 amateur draft. He was then traded to the Astros in 1990 andl spent his entire 15-year MLB playing career with the Houston Astros.
The National League (NL) Rookie of the Year in 1991, Bagwell then won the NL Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) in 1994, was a four-time MLB All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger winner and a Gold Glove recipient. Forming a core part of Astros lineups with Craig Biggio given the epithet "Killer B's", Houston finished in first or second place in the NL Central division in 11 of 12 seasons from 1994 to 2005. They qualified for the playoffs six times, culminating in Bagwell's lone World Series appearance in 2005.
In 2009, Bagwell received the Bill Shea Distinguished Little League Graduate Award. He was elected to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017.