Biggio in a class by himself



I was thumbing through sports stories offered up to me on varied media outlets.

First it was a poignant Michelle Wie story about how the girls who once was a prodigy is struggling like most of the real folks in the world. Eventhough she is struggling with $10 mil in the bank from recent endorsements.

Then the sad story about the wrestler Chris Benoit who was found dead along with his wife, son. I will pass on that one without comment, I am not cruel.

Tank Johnson cut by the Bears, was another possible story choice. No, I will let that one go as well.

Then I saw a story from an area newspaper saying Craig Biggio did NOT belong in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

“You have got to be kidding me!” I said in my best John McEnroe enraged voice. Let’s examine the Craig Biggio case.

Biggio has 413 stolen bases, 656 doubles, 1,156 RBI and four gold gloves just to mention a few of his accomplishments.

First off, I would vote into the Hall of Fame, just for his class alone. He is a modern, professional, multi-million dollar athlete who happens to be - unself. I know it is so rare, he puts the team before himself, but Biggio is a great player and even better role model.

I am not saying he is a saint or without faults, but don’t do looking for him at nightclubs at 3 a.m. or packing a pistol. First, at 40 he is too old to act a fool, plus he is way too classy.

Biggio has 2,996 hits during his time in Houston. But his hitting is not as impressive as he is as a person and a teammate, his cohorts say.

He had a scrap or two when he first came out of Seeton Hall, but he is a model citizen now. I contend, most modern athletes would not do what he has done and still wear a smile.

Biggio was the rocket-armed catcher who could also his leadoff and lead the league in scoring. So what does Houston do, they make him a second baseman. Well, Houston, a team which traded Joe Morgan not once, but twice, has not always done the smartest thing.

But Art Howe and others convinced Biggio it was the best thing for the team and his knees, so he moved to be a second sacker. Years later, they had lots of good infielder, so Biggio for the good of the team, moved the outfielder. He learned to play Tal’s hill and hit the cutoff mark. All the time he was getting key clutch hits and being a team guy.

Now, in the twilight of his career, his buddy Jeff Bagwell is gone. The Astros are without Clemens and Pettite, but Biggio is still getting hit with his eye on the Hall of Fame.

Biggio said in a recent interview “to just be mentioned in the same breath as the Hall of Fame is a great honor.”

Biggio is a unique and classy man and I am proud to tell my son, also a second baseman, to use Craig Biggio as a role model. I think he can find no other short of maybe, oldies and goodies like Nolan Ryan or Roger Staubach.

Biggio was panned for not being flashy, but he shows up everyday and does his work. More often than not, the steady second baseman is better than the flashy glove man who can’t hit his weight.

Biggio is 5-10, 175 pounds, maybe he is being punished for not being a big and powerful bruiser.

So yes, I will take Biggio on my team. I will drive him to the Hall of Fame if necessary because that is where he belongs.

Biggio does deserve baseball immortality, because he is that good.

I’m honored to say I got to see him play.



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