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Craig Biggio

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Craig Alan Biggio

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2015

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[edit] Biographical Information

Craig Biggio (pronounced BIDGE-ee-o) retired at the end of the 2007 season with the longest term of service with the same club in Major League Baseball. He had played with the Houston Astros since 1988, beginning as a catcher, but switched to second base during the 1992 season. He remains the only player in baseball history to be named to an All-Star Game as both a catcher and a second baseman. He would later also play two seasons as the team's centerfielder. At the time of his retirement, he had played 20 seasons with the same team.

Biggio was orginally signed as a 1st round pick in the 1987 amateur draft by the Astros and scout Clary Anderson. He made his major league debut just over a year later.

Craig Biggio-2303.jpg

In 1998, Biggio became the first player after Tris Speaker to hit 50 doubles and steal 50 bases in a single season. In 2005, he became the modern all-time leader in being hit by pitches, with 273, breaking Don Baylor's previous record of 267. Although Biggio is the modern leader, the all-time leader is Hughie Jennings with 287. Biggio fell just two short of that mark. Biggio is just one of three players all time with more than 2,500 hits, more than 500 doubles, more than 400 stolen bases and more than 250 home runs. The others are Barry Bonds and Rickey Henderson. Biggio also is the all-time National League leader in leadoff home runs, with 53.

While the public did not think of Biggio as a big star, it is almost certain that he will get into the Hall of Fame. Every player with his level of runs scored (1844) and every player with his level of doubles (668) is in the Hall of Fame. He is the all-time career leader in doubles among right-handed hitters. Although he has never won an MVP award, he finished in the top 5 twice. Biggio got his 3,000th hit on June 28, 2007 and 3,000 hits virtually assures him admission to Cooperstown. Biggio became the first player to reach 3,000 career hits during a five-hit game (Derek Jeter matched that feat in 2011). Known for his hustling style, Biggio was thrown out trying to stretch one single into a double that day. It sparked the usual slew of articles after a 3,000th hit - some people saying that the old-time cut-offs for the Hall of Fame were now meaningless while others commented on how unappreciated and unrecognized Biggio had been. The first set of boilerplate articles got a boost because Frank Thomas hit his 500th home run on the same day.

The most similar player to Biggio through age 40 was Joe Morgan, with the others in the top five being Paul Molitor, Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson, and George Brett.

Biggio was the top vote-getter among candidates on the BBWAA ballot for the Hall of Fame in 2013; he received 388 votes, representing 68.2% of all ballots. As 75% was required for election, no one was elected that year. In 2014, he finished fourth on the ballot behind three first-timers who were elected (Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas), but a mere two votes shy of election: he received 427 of 571 votes, with 429 needed for election. He again finished behind three first timers in 2015 - pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz - but his vote total increased to 82.7%, enough for him to gain election to Cooperstown.

Since 2008, Biggio has been Special Assistant to the General Manager for the Astros (as of 2013).

Biggio's son, Cavan Biggio, was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 29th round of the 2013 amateur draft. Cavan continued on to the University of Notre Dame where he played baseball alongside Craig's other son Conor. Conor was drafted himself in the 34th round of the 2015 Amateur Draft.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 7-time NL All-Star (1991, 1992 & 1994-1998)
  • 4-time NL Gold Glove Winner (1994-1997/2B)
  • 5-time NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1989/C, 1994/2B, 1995/2B, 1997/2B & 1998/2B)
  • 2-time NL Runs Scored Leader (1995 & 1997)
  • 3-time NL Doubles Leader (1994, 1998 & 1999)
  • NL Stolen Bases Leader (1994)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 8 (1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001 & 2004-2006)
  • 100 Runs Scored Season: 8 (1995-1999, 2001, 2003 & 2004)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1998)
  • 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 1 (1998)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 2015

[edit] Records Held

  • Hit By Pitch, career (since 1900), 285

[edit] Further Reading

  • Michael Bamberger: "Second Effort: A Work Ethic Instilled by His Father Helped the Astros' Craig Biggio Convert from All-Star Catcher to Gold Glove Infielder", Sports Illustrated, Volume 84, Number 13, April 1, 1996, pp. 102-110. [1]
  • George Castle: "The Dirtiest Helmet in the Game", in Throwbacks: Old-School Baseball Players in Today's Game, Potomac Books, Washington, DC, revised 2005, pp. 215-232. ISBN 978-1574886375
  • Robert Cohen: "Jeff Bagwell / Craig Biggio", in The 50 Most Dynamic Duos in Sports History: Baseball, Basketball, Football, and Hockey, Scarecrow Press, Lanham, MD, 2012, pp. 98-100. ISBN 978-0810885561 [2]
  • Jayne Custred: "Craig Biggio: Catch a Rising Star", Houston Chronicle, June 30, 1991, pp. 1-.
  • Tony DeMarco: "Second Helping: Astros' Catcher Craig Biggio Steps Out from Behind the Plate and Feasts on the Action as an Infielder", Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 28, 1992, pp. 1-.
  • Burt Graeff: "An All-Star at Any Position the Astros Asked Catcher Craig Biggio to Switch to Second Base, and the Hard-Hitting, Slick-Fielding Player Made the Move Look Easy", The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH, June 19, 1997, pp. 1D-.
  • Michael Hart: Biggio: The Final Game, Bright Sky Press, Houston, TX, 2008. ISBN 978-1933979281
  • Bill James: "The Epic of Craig Biggio", Slate.com, February 25, 2008. [3]
  • Todd Jones: "Houston's Heart and Soul: Longtime Teammates Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell Elevate the Astros with Their Gutsy Play and Can-Do Attitude", The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH, October 8, 1999, pp. 07E-.
  • Todd Jones: "Biggio Has Busied Himself to Greatness", Sporting News, Volume 231, Number 23, June 4, 2007, pp. 33-.
  • Richard Justice: "All-out style defined Biggio's Hall-bound career: Astros icon exhibited exceptional drive even from days as catcher at Seton Hall", mlb.com, January 6, 2015. [4]
  • Perryn Keys: "Hall to Beckon?: With His Elbow Pad Already in the Hall of Fame, a Case Can be Made That Craig Biggio Should Get the Call from Cooperstown When He Hangs 'Em Up", The Beaumont Enterprise, July 15, 2005, pp. C1-.
  • Bob Kuenster: "Despite Voters' Failure, Craig Biggio Is a Hall of Famer", Baseball Digest, Volume 72, Number 2, March/April 2013, pp. 4-.
  • Josh Lewin: "Craig Biggio", in You Never Forget Your First: Ballplayers Recall Their Big League Debuts, Potomac Books Inc., Washington, DC, 2005, pp. 16-17. ISBN 978-1574889611
  • Fred McMane: "Craig Biggio", in The 3,000 Hit Club: Stories of Baseball's Greatest Hitters, Skyhorse Publishing, New York, NY, 2012, pp. 160-162. ISBN 978-1613210604
  • Jose de Jesus Ortiz: "Craig Biggio, 3,000 Hits: A Really Big Hit, with a Memorable Five-Hit Night, Craig Biggio Cements His Legacy in Dramatic Extra-Inning Win", Houston Chronicle, June 29, 2007, 1-.
  • Steve Rushin: "Beege and Bags Forever", Sports Illustrated, Volume 98, Number 23, June 9, 2003, pp. 15-. [5]
  • David Scott: "Craig Biggio: What the Second Baseman Provides for the Astros is Nothing Compared to His Impact on Houston-Area Kids", Sport, Volume 90, Number 10, October 1, 1999, pp. 62-.
  • David Siroty: The Hit Men and the Kid Who Batted Ninth: Biggio, Valentin, Vaughn & Robinson: Together Again in the Big Leagues, Diamond Communications, Lanham, MD, 2002. ISBN 978-1888698435

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