Craig Biggio: Highlights from a Hall of Fame Career

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Apr 1, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros former players Craig Biggio (left) and Nolan Ryan (right) wave to the crowd before a game against the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Are you still pumped up over the Hall of Fame results from yesterday? I am ecstatic that Craig Biggio is officially a Hall of Famer. We all knew it. It just took the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) a few years to finally acknowledge that “Mr. Astro” was worthy of enshrinement in Cooperstown.

I remember Craig Biggio coming to the plate against the Mets during his first season, watching the Astros play on Channel 20 (back when you could watch a game on TV without cable) in Houston, and listening to the announcers talk about the young guy who had just been called up. He instantly became my favorite player to wear the orange-and-blue uniform.

Biggio would go on to become a fan favorite for his play on the field and his actions off it. He was a class act all-around. He played 3 different positions to benefit the team. He is the national spokesman for a charity that helps children fighting cancer! 3060 hits! 7 All-Star appearances! 5 Silver Sluggers! 4 Gold Gloves! 20 seasons with one team! What is not to like about Craig Biggio?

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But you all knew that.

As a tribute to #7, here are 7 memorable moments from Craig Biggio’s career:

The Dirty Helmet

This isn’t really a moment, but a whole career dedicated to the dirtiest helmet I’ve ever seen. Coated with pine tar and dirt, Craig Biggio’s helmet looked kind of cool and kind of disgusting at the same time. It was the kind of helmet you’d expect from a baseball player that was more concerned with hustle and getting on base than someone who cared about how good he looked when he stepped into the box. I’m not sure if the helmet is in Cooperstown, but it should be.

Hit-by-Pitch

Craig Biggio is the MLB all-time leader in hit-by-pitch counts with 285. One hit-by-pitch isn’t necessarily memorable, but when you are a record holder, people remember you for it. But why does this matter? After all, it just means that he was unlucky, right?

Not exactly. Getting hit by a pitch is an automatic pass to get on base, which means that you have an easier chance to score. Biggio was the Astros’ leadoff hitter for most of his career and the leadoff hitter’s job is to get on base, no matter how it gets done. Have you ever been plunked by ball going 80+ miles-per-hour? It hurts. And it takes some guts to stand in that box when that ball is coming at you.

Biggio was no dummy, though. He wore an armor plate on his left elbow to protect himself from the pain and injury. And he often got a free pass down the first base line.

1998

Craig Biggio had arguably his best statistical season in 1998. The second baseman hit a career best batting average of .325, slugging percentage of .503, and 50 stolen bases. He set the franchise record for hits with 210, and led the league in doubles. He became only the 2nd player in MLB history to hit 50 doubles and steal 50 bases in a season (Hall of Famer Tris Speaker was the other in 1912). Not to mention that he helped lead the Astros to their second consecutive division title.

Hitting for the Cycle

Hitting for the cycle (Single-Double-Triple-HR in one game) is a rare feat. Craig Biggio did it on April 8, 2002, to become just the 6th player in Astros history to do so. It’s an amazing accomplishment, and of course, Biggio completed it by hitting a double.

2005 World Series

Craig Biggio finally got to showcase his talents on the biggest stage when the Astros played the Chicago White Sox in the 2005 World Series. It was the only time in his career that he got to play in the championship series. It’s too bad the outcome wasn’t better, but at least we got to see our guys get there.

Mister 3000

On June 28, 2007, Craig Biggio stepped to the plate one hit away from a milestone (he went 4-5 that night). He would go on to collect 60 more hits, but the most memorable is crossing that 3,000 mark because it is a benchmark for many Hall of Fame careers. Though he didn’t get his signature double, this was a good one. You have to love how Biggio busts out of the batter’s box and hustles all the way through. That was the type of player he was. Biggio is now ranked 20th in all-time hits for Major League Baseball. Enjoy Milo Hamilton’s call:

Hall of Famer

Again, we all knew that our #7 was worthy of the Hall of Fame. In case you missed it, here is Biggio discussing what it means to him (from My Fox Houston):

This list is not definitive or all-inclusive. What is your favorite memory from Craig Biggio’s career?

Next: AstrosChat: Biggio Deserves the HOF

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