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06/29/07 1:32 AM ET

Biggio could be first Astro in HOF

Craig Biggio is not only the first Houston player to reach 3,000 hits, he could also become the first to go into the Hall of Fame wearing an Astros cap unless former teammate Jeff Bagwell, who retired earlier this year, beats his old buddy to Cooperstown.

That Biggio will make it to Cooperstown is a given. Every member of the 3,000-hit club who is eligible for induction is in the Hall of Fame. And Biggio's case for enshrinement rests on more than his hit total.

Of the 17 second basemen in the Hall of Fame, Biggio has more career hits than all but three of them -- Eddie Collins (3,315), Nap Lajoie (3,242) and Rod Carew (3,053) -- and Carew actually played more games at first base.

Biggio, a leadoff man for most of his career, has more career RBIs (1,181) than all but seven Hall of Fame second basemen: Collins, Lajoie, Rogers Hornsby, Charlie Gehringer, Frankie Frisch, Bobby Doerr and Tony Lazzeri, though Biggio can pass Lazzeri by driving in 11 more runs. Biggio's 413 career stolen bases trails only Collins, Frisch (419), Joe Morgan (689) and Bid McPhee (568).

No second baseman in the Hall of Fame scored more runs than Biggio, who has 1,821 -- counting the run he scored Thursday night.

Biggio, a seven-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, has more hits, homers, runs and RBIs than Hall of Fame second basemen Ryne Sandberg, Jackie Robinson, Red Schoendienst and Joe Morgan.

Biggio is the only player in Major League history to record 600 doubles, 250 home runs, 2,700 hits and 400 stolen bases. He's also the only player in Major League history to make the All-Star team as a catcher and second baseman.

Biggio's impact on the Houston franchise won't hurt his Hall case, either.

Without Biggio and teammate Jeff Bagwell, the Astros might not be in Houston today. Without those two, the Astros likely wouldn't have won three consecutive division titles in the late '90s and made six playoff appearances during 1997-2005. And without those playoff appearances, the referendum that narrowly passed to get a new ballpark might not have succeeded, which would have meant no Minute Maid Park and no 30-year commitment to keep the team in Houston.

And now Biggio is the 27th member of the 3,000 hit club, which should make his Hall of Fame candidacy a no brainer.

Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.