07/02/07 7:17 PM ET
Biggio honored after reaching milestone
Astros veteran notches 3,000th hit, named NL Player of Week
By Jeff Lutz / MLB.com
Biggio went into Thursday night's game against Colorado needing three hits to become the 27th Major League player to reach 3,000 hits. Biggio got the three he needed and didn't stop there, collecting two more after reaching the milestone, which made him the first player to reach 3,000 hits in an Astros uniform.
"I couldn't have scripted it any better," Biggio said the night of his 3,000th hit. "As a baseball player, the way the fans treated me. ... I've said for a long time, I love these guys, I love this city, I worked hard here and they appreciated that."
The hit came in Houston, where Biggio has spent all 20 seasons of his Major League career. Hit No. 3,000 came in the seventh inning against Colorado starter Aaron Cook during an 8-5 Houston win. Biggio was thrown out trying to stretch the hit to a double.
Several of Biggio's former teammates were on-hand to witness his achievement, including Jeff Bagwell, who spent 15 seasons as Biggio's teammate in Houston. Biggio invited Bagwell onto the field, and the two embraced as the game stopped to give Biggio the spotlight.
Bagwell was forced to retire before this season because of a chronically injured right shoulder which had rendered him unable to play a full season since 2004. The pair, known as the "Killer B's," helped Houston to six postseason appearances and one World Series berth from 1997-2005.
"It was important to me to bring Baggy out on the field. I was so proud of that, I was so happy for him to be out there one more time, because he wasn't able to end his career the way he wanted," Biggio wrote in a blog on MLB.com. "Hopefully, I can write my own story and leave when I want to leave, but he didn't have that choice. So for me, that night, I wanted to really make my family No. 1 and he was No. 2.
"I wanted him to be out there between the lines with me one more time, to enjoy it and for the fans to say, 'Hey, Baggy, we love you and thank you for everything you've done for thie city.' That night was just a magical moment."
Biggio became the first player to collect five hits on the same night he got to 3,000. The mark had previously been held by George Brett and Tony Gwynn, who each had four hits on their historic evenings.
The chase for 3,000 seemed to rejuvenate Biggio. Though he's batting just .251, he preceded this week by notching three hits at Texas on June 24, leaving him four short of 3,000. After getting one hit in two games at Milwaukee, Biggio returned home to the Minute Maid Park to make history in front of the fans who have adored him for two decades.
Biggio has five games of at least three hits since May 31. Before then, he had two.
"I tried to stay focused, but you get a standing ovation every single time up there, it's a nice appreciation," Biggio said on Thursday. "I'm very grateful, really thankful, for a lot of things. A lot of things have happened here over the course of my 20-year career, but tonight, I think was the best. I'm just glad we finally got it done."
Biggio is the ninth player to collect 3,000 hits while playing for one team. Though he wasn't named to the National League All-Star team on Sunday, he has been named seven times, the first three as a catcher.
Biggio received a call from former President George H.W. Bush on Thursday night. After offering congratulations, Bush handed the phone to his son, the current President, George W. Bush. The eldest Bush is a longtime Astros fan who still attends games at Minute Maid Park. The youngest is the former owner of the Texas Rangers. Biggio has met both before.
"Forty-one [Bush Sr.] has always been special to me," Biggio said on Friday. "I know he was the President of the United States, but he's been so nice to me, to my friends and obviously all my teammates. And 43 [Bush Jr.], I kind of knew him when he was with the Rangers. It was nice that they were both there and that they called."
During the week, Biggio had eight hits in 18 at-bats for a .444 average with two runs and one RBI. He beat out teammates Lance Berkman (.286, four homers, nine RBIs) and Carlos Lee (.320, three homers, nine RBIs) for the award, along with nine other players, besides Lee, that were named to the NL All-Star team on Sunday.
Biggio had another multi-hit game on Saturday, knocking two hits against the Rockies. Since June 11, when an 0-for-4 performance left his batting average at .219, Biggio is 24-for-67, raising his average to .251. None of the 23 other hits, though, was nearly as big as No. 3,000, which almost certainly made Biggio a sure-fire Hall of Famer.
"We've had some good weeks and some bad weeks," Biggio said Thursday night. "But to finally get there, get over the hump and get somebody from this organization finally on that list. ... This is a proud day for the Astros."
Jeff Lutz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.