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The New Haven Register sports department is celebrating our 200th birthday by sharing 200 of the most interesting stories relating to sports in Greater New Haven over the past 200 years. Check back daily for historical updates.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jeff Bagwell: Star began shining at Xavier

Dan Gooley took over as baseball coach at the University of Hartford in 1988, and inherited a fairly decent third baseman out of Killingworth — a sophomore named Jeff Bagwell. It didn’t take long for Gooley to discover he had a special player.

During a game early in Gooley’s tenure, Hartford went into extra innings. The opposing team brought in a reliever to face Bagwell. Kneeling in the on-deck circle, Bagwell watched the new pitcher warm up.

Gooley, recounting what happened next, provides visual aid. He gets down on one knee, a bat on his shoulder, and turns his head.

“(Bagwell said) ‘Hey Skip’,” Gooley recalls. “‘It’s all over.’”

Bagwell then stepped into the batter’s box and crushed a walk-off home run that might still be going.

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