01/07/13 12:38 PM ET
Biggio hopes to get call in first time on HOF ballot
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- He's considered by many to be the greatest player to wear an Astros uniform, and Craig Biggio will learn soon if he'll take his place among the game's all-time greats.
Biggio, who retired from the Astros in 2007 after amassing 3,060 hits, will find out Wednesday if he had the credentials to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first time on the ballot. He's part of a star-studded group of ballot first-timers that includes 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 was the face of the franchise for two decades. He helped turn the Astros into perennial postseason contenders in the height of his career, and he always played the game with passion and determination. Biggio appears to have the numbers to reach Cooperstown, but will he have the votes?
A candidate must receive 75 percent of the vote from eligible Baseball Writers' Association of America members to gain election to the 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.
"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.
"It's hard to play the game," Biggio said. "I would have played it for free if that's what I had to do. I just enjoyed the game for what is was -- the opportunity to go out there and compete day in and day out, go out there and compete against some of the best players in the world. It never was trying to do anything to get yourself in the Hall of Fame."
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 at 1 p.m. CT Wednesday, 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 postseason teams. Biggio holds NL records for leadoff home runs with 53 (ranks second 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.
A Hall of Fame person could soon be a Hall of Fame player.
"We don't know what's going to happen, but if you're able to get in the first time, that would be great," Biggio said.