Trip to Cooperstown a thrill for Jeff Bagwell's high school friends

Friends of Bagwell from high school join him in Cooperstown

Cooperstown, NY – Jeff Bagwell got the call for the Hall of Fame after six long years of waiting. There was no doubt the crowd in Cooperstown would be filled with the familiar orange and blue of the Houston Astros.

There was also no doubt that a group of three of Bagwell's classmates from Xavier high school in Connecticut would be a part of that celebration in upstate New York.

David Sizemore, Brenden Beckstein and Jeff Alexander were classmates of Bagwell's at Xavier in the mid-80's.

They knew him long before he was the Astros famous number five. They knew him when he wore number nine and played soccer and was very good.

They shared the field with Bagwell. But only Beckstein shared the baseball diamond with Bagwell, while all three played soccer with Jeff, where he was a star.

Yes, Bagwell, the Hall of Fame first baseman was a star soccer player in high school. In fact his soccer jersey, number 9, is retired at Xavier high school 

"He scored 35 goals one season, including at least one in every game, that's a record that will probably never be broken," Sizemore, who is now the Academic Dean at Xavier high school said. "He was the same guy in high school that he is today."

"This was a great opportunity for us to get together and be a part of something special for Jeff," Sizemore added.

"He's such a humble guy," Beckstein said. "Even back in high school, he always low-keyed it. That's the way he played it in the big leagues.You see how he's handled everything this weekend with deference to the fans and his teammates and the greats that got here before him."

"You know I'm so happy that they're going to be here," Bagwell said of his high school teammates and friends.

"Xavier high school was obviously a big part of my life," Bagwell added. 

"It was a great soccer team, we had a lot of fun. That's the fun thing. These people have been in my life for a long, long time and there still here, so that means a lot."

"It is unfathomable to think that a guy that we knew, that we played with," Sizemore said.

"Just to be in this holiest of holy places here in terms of from a baseball perspective. It's a little head-scratching."