Andrew Gleinser, Contributor
I came of age in a baseball sense in the early and mid-2000s. I only vaguely remember attending a game at the Astrodome once upon a time. So, my Astros fandom was shaped by what I saw during the final half of the Killer B’s era, and in particular, by one player who was a well-deserved face of the franchise: Craig Biggio.
Jeff Bagwell was great to watch too, of course, but there was something about Biggio that made you look up to him. He wasn’t the biggest guy, the strongest or the fastest guy, but he forged a Hall of Fame career anyway. And no matter the situation or the score, he gave 100 percent on every single play. You’d never see him halfheartedly jog to first base on a ground ball, and he set the example for the rest of the team to follow.
He won four Gold Gloves after switching to second base and then, being the ultimate team player, moved to the outfield for a couple of years to accommodate Jeff Kent. He wasn’t the same player in the mid-2000s that he was in the late 1990s, but his importance never diminished. He was as durable as any player can be, and he was always there at the top of the lineup.
The night he got his 3,000th hit was a game I’ll never forget. Bill Brown’s call of that moment — “Line drive right-center field, that’s number 3,000!” — is forever etched in my memory. Biggio turning back the clock and picking up five hits that night was one of the most incredible moments in Houston sports history.
Beyond what happened on the field, he was also an exceptional role model, as his ongoing work with The Sunshine Kids will attest. He was free from scandal and seemingly above reproach, and he represented the city with class and dignity. Biggio was simply an icon, and I’m fortunate to have been able to watch him make history.