Craig Biggio Gets Houston into the Hall of Fame


Saturday, a friend of mine from St. Louis asked what it meant to me to see Craig Biggio go into the Hall of Fame. Suddenly, I was transported to the Astrodome watching Biggio streak around first in his Blue and Gold ‘Stros uniform.  I remember the feeling that Houston never got the respect it deserved as a baseball town, and I remember my brother and father being right next to me the whole time.  I told my friend that Biggio’s induction was like we, as fans and Houstonians, were all getting in as well.

Jul 26, 2015; Cooperstown, NY, USA; Hall of Fame Inductee Craig Biggio plague is brought out for installation into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Houston has a bit of an inferiority complex.  It hurts to say, but it’s true.  It seems that most other fan bases around the country have already experienced the joys of world championships and Hall of Famers.  As long as major sports have been around in Houston, those experiences have eluded us.

A prime example of our lack of success nationally is the fact that Houston fans have only been able to celebrate two major championships in their history.  The 94 and 95 Rockets teams are the only ones to stand on top of the mountain while our beloved Astros and Oilers/Texans have been an exercise in futility.  What Biggio was able to deliver as a career achievement is Houston’s first major triumph since Hakeem’s Rockets.

Growing up as an Astros fan, it had always seemed we were the underdogs.  I was too young to really experience the 1986 Western Division team.   In fact, it was the period following that team where I became aware of baseball and the Astros.  Those teams weren’t great.  They had good players and were always fun, but were never the best.  However, along the way, Houston saw some glimmers of hope.  They added a young core of young players starting in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Among them was a young catcher named Craig Biggio and a first baseman named Jeff Bagwell.  Together, the two of them would transform Houston into a town with a proud baseball history.

My family and friends watched as the young, and unspectacular Astros of the early 90s became a perennial playoff competitor at the historic Astrodome.  The Astros would move downtown into a new ballpark to revitalize the center of our city and continue to win.  Finally, Craig Biggio and his teammates would even deliver a pennant in 2005.

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Still, coming into 2015, the Astros had no Baseball Hall of Fame representation, no World Championship Rings, and a recent history of play on the field that would make any fan base cringe.  When Craig Biggio was elected to the Hall on January 6th of 2015, it signaled the first step of a revolution for Astros fans.  Houston now has a Hall of Fame history and could be well on its way to adding a championship history as well.

I watched Craig Biggio play for my hometown team for 20 years.  When you watch someone play that long, you almost begin to take them for granted, that is until they retire, of course.  He was the type of player I could emulate.  He wasn’t the biggest guy, but he was tough and wanted to win.  Hell, he and he even went to the same church as me.

There is only one name on that newly hung plaque in Cooperstown, but for a generation of baseball fans in Houston, and my family in particular, we all got into the Hall with Craig Biggio on Sunday.  For that, I say “Thank you, Craig!”

Next: Astros Hall of Famer Craig Biggio: Memorable Video Moments

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