11/28/12 12:24 PM ET
Biggio's big number -- 3,060 -- goes to Hall voters
Career-long Astro among newcomers on ballot for enshrinement in Cooperstown
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- When you consider the remarkable numbers Craig Biggio amassed during his 20 seasons in an Astros uniform, it appears to be only a matter of time before he's enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Biggio, who retired from the Astros in 2007 after getting 3,060 hits, is on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year, joining former teammates Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, as well as sluggers Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and Mike Piazza.
Several players who have spent parts of their careers in Houston have reached Cooperstown, but Biggio or teammate Jeff Bagwell, who's on the ballot for the third time, would represent the first Hall of Famers who spent their entire careers with the Astros.
Biggio and Bagwell are joined at the hip and considered the two greatest players in team history. Biggio broke into the Major Leagues before Bagwell and played two years longer than Bagwell, whose degenerative shoulder condition forced him to retire after the 2005 season.
Some believe it would only be fitting to see Bagwell and Biggio get enshrined together.
"You cross your fingers and hope for the best," Biggio said. "You hope you get that phone call. I played the game because I loved it and tried to get to the World Series and stuff like that. If it's to happen, I couldn't think of a better story than giving it back to the people of Houston and the community. The Astros organization is my family, too. We'll cross our fingers and hope for the best."
An All-Star at catcher and later at second base, Biggio ranks 21st all-time in hits and has more doubles (668) than any right-handed hitter in Major League history. He's 15th all-time in runs scored (1,844), 10th in plate appearances (12,504) and first in hit by pitch (285) in the modern era.
Biggio also hit 291 home runs with 1,175 RBIs and had a .281 career average in 2,850 games played.
A candidate must receive 75 percent of the vote from eligible Baseball Writers' Association of America members to gain election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Longtime Reds shortstop Barry Larkin was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012, receiving 86.4 percent of the vote a year after getting 62.1 percent.
Starting pitcher Jack Morris (66.7 percent) and Bagwell (56 percent) are the top returning vote-getters from last year's ballot. Results of the 2013 election will be announced on Monday, Jan. 9, with the Hall of Fame inductees getting enshrined on July 28.
A first-round selection by Houston in the 1987 First-Year Player Draft out of Seton Hall, Biggio became the first Astros player to reach the 3,000-hit plateau with a seventh-inning single against Colorado's Aaron Cook on June 28, 2007. Biggio's No. 7 was retired by the Astros in 2008.
His 20 seasons with Houston are a franchise record, and he also made a club-best 19 consecutive Opening Day starts. Biggio is also the only player in Major League history to reach all of the following milestones: 600 doubles, 250 home runs, 2,700 hits and 400 stolen bases (414). Biggio and Cal Ripken, Jr. are the only middle infielders (only 13 players all-time) to collect 3,000 hits and 1,000 extra-base hits.
Biggio was named to a franchise-record seven National League All-Star teams, received five Silver Slugger Awards, four Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and was a member of six Astros playoff teams. Biggio holds NL records for leadoff home runs with 53 (ranks 2nd all-time) and for hits in Interleague Play with 201. He also led all players during the 2005 postseason with 18 hits.
Additionally, Biggio was the 2007 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award, a prestigious honor bestowed upon one player each season by Major League Baseball and the Clemente family recognizing community service. Biggio has been actively involved with the Sunshine Kids throughout his career, a support organization for children with cancer and their families.
He's served as a special assistant to the general manager since his retirement, while serving as head baseball coach at St. Thomas High School in Houston, leading the Eagles to a pair of TAPPS Class 5A state titles in 2010-11. Biggio's oldest son, Conor, plays for Notre Dame, and his youngest son, Cavan, is a senior at St. Thomas who has committed to Notre Dame. Biggio and his wife, Patty, have a 13-year-old daughter, Quinn.