Tag: Craig Biggio

After Being Unfairly Forced to Wait, Craig Biggio Finally Gets Earned HOF Nod

The 2015 MLB Hall of Fame class has officially been announced, as it will be a four-player class of Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio earning enshrinement in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown this year.

The three pitchers are each first-ballot selections and deservedly so, as they were among the greatest to ever toe the rubber. But for Biggio, it took three tries to finally gain induction.

To be blunt, the fact that Biggio did not breeze in on his first ballot is nothing short of ridiculous.

So let’s dive into the numbers and show just how deserving a Hall of Famer Craig Biggio really was, looking at his candidacy from a few different angles.

For some people, a Hall of Famer is someone who compiles impressive overall numbers throughout the course of a lengthy and productive career. Biggio certainly did that.

Do you know how many members of the 3,000 hit club were not first-ballot Hall of Fame inductees?

Excluding the three players not enshrined (Pete Rose, Rafael Palmeiro, Derek Jeter) and guys who were part of the inaugural ballot, only Paul Waner was forced to wait for his ticket to be punched.

The 500-home run club is understandably not the same accomplishment it once was, but 3,000 hits still speaks volumes to a player’s productivity and longevity, and it’s a feat accomplished by just 28 players in the history of the game.

That accomplishment alone is enough to make him a first-ballot selection in my book, but if that’s not enough for you, let’s go further.

As a leadoff hitter for most of his career, Biggio was counted on first and foremost to get on base, and he did that a ton.

Between his 3,060 hits, his plus eye at the plate and his uncanny ability for getting hit by pitches, Biggio was on base an impressive 4,505 times in his career, good for the 18th on the all-time list.

Those frequent trips on the base paths, coupled with 414 career stolen bases, helped him score 1,844 runs, good for 15th all time.

However, he was far from just a table-setter, as he also cranked out the sixth-most doubles all time with 668 to go along with 291 home runs and 1,175 RBI.

To put it simply, he was a well-balanced offensive threat who could hurt you in a number of ways, and he compiled some impressive career numbers to prove it.

While lofty career numbers are nice, others are more interested in where he stacked up among his contemporaries.

Was this player one of the greats of his generation and an elite talent at his respective position?

The biggest contenders for the title of top second baseman during the era in which Biggio played are Roberto Alomar, Jeff Kent and to a lesser extend Ryne Sandberg.

Let’s take a look at how those four guys stack up from an offensive standpoint.

Most would give Alomar the nod for top second baseman of that era, thanks to his elite mix of offensive production and defensive ability, but there is something to be said for the defensive transformation Biggio underwent during his career.

A catcher for his first four seasons in the league, Biggio shifted to second base in 1992 and by 1994 he was a Gold Glove winner, kicking off a streak of four consecutive Gold Glove wins.

He then moved to center field as a 37-year-old in 2003 to make way for the aforementioned Kent, and while defensive metrics don’t paint him as a plus defender there, it’s an impressive transition nonetheless.

To be honest if I’m building my All-1990s team, Alomar probably gets the nod at second base, but it would be an incredibly tough decision to make, and it’s because Biggio was one of the best that era had to offer.

You could make the argument that Biggio did not deserve to be a first-ballot guy since it took Alomar two tries to earn induction.

However, Alomar‘s spike in vote total from 73.7 percent to 90.0 percent shows a first-ballot talent who was being punished by the voters for some indiscretions during the course of his career, so that argument doesn’t hold much weight.

At the end of the day, Craig Biggio is officially in Cooperstown where he belongs, as there is little question he is one of the greatest and most productive second basemen the game has ever seen.

It’s a shame he was forced to wait three years to gain baseball’s highest honor, but let’s take this chance to reflect on just how impressive his career was, as opposed to focusing on just how broken the Hall of Fame voting system is.

Now let’s hope the voters get it right next year and his longtime teammate Jeff Bagwell joins him in Cooperstown.


All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference, unless otherwise noted.

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Carlos Beltran Nears Exclusive 300-300-2,000 Club

One St. Louis Cardinal is rapidly making his way toward a rather exclusive club this season. Carlos Beltran is within hitting distance, no pun intended, of the 300-300-2000 club.

This status is reserved for players who have hit 300 home runs, stolen 300 bases and amassed 2,000 hits over their career. Lots of talk has floated about Beltran hitting 300-300, but the 2,000 hasn’t gotten much attention.

As of Tuesday, June 12, 2012, Beltran has 320 home runs, 299 stolen bases and 1,977 hits. Barring a major injury, he will make the club in 2012 without breaking a sweat.

Following are the few players who have made the club, including a few near-misses.

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MLB All-Stars at Each Position by the Letter ‘B’

This is the second article in a twenty-some volume series selecting players at each position by the beginning letter of their last name. Some letters such as I, O, Q, U, Y and Z will probably not field a time. I haven’t researched them yet so I can’t say for sure. It is a fun list, a conversation starter and I hope I can get it finished. I was actually inspired to do this list from author Sue Grafton’s Mystery Alphabet Series.

I decided to us a modified 1961 Topps look for this particular letter. I hope you enjoy it.

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Houston Astros: Power Ranking the Team’s Top 5 Catching Prospects

At first glance, identifying the five best catching prospects in the Houston Astros’ system is like deciding which Jersey Shore cast member to invite to your niece’s Christening. It’s a quandary, really*. Your options are pretty bad across the board.

Scouring the Houston system for promising catchers wasn’t easy; in fact, it was darn near impossible. Truth be told, I was tempted to just start and end this list with the words “Craig Biggio” and hope everyone reading was 45 or older. Fortunately, my better judgment won out; the last thing I need is all 12 Astro’s fans mad at me**. I’ve never messed with Texas, and believe me, I don’t plan on starting now.

But seriously, as Astros fans flock to the ‘net in need of baseball info, it’s our job at Bleacher Report to try our best to make the best of a bad situation, so I’ve compiled a list of the five most promising catching prospects in the Houston system.

Proceed with caution: you’re about to miss Brad Ausmus more than you ever thought you could.  

(Author’s note No. 1: Any Jersey Shore aficionado knows the clear answer to this question is Vinny. If a question is ever aimed at determining which of the Seaside gorillas is the most normal, acceptable, or redeemable, the answer is always Vinny.)

(Author’s note No. 2: Kidddingggggg…)

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A Turn for the Worst: What Happened to the Houston Astros?

The Houston Astros are just five years removed from their lone World Series berth.

From their inception in 1962 as the Houston Colt .45’s, the Astros have achieved little in terms of establishing an identity as a storied franchise. Whether to due with lack of superstar power or rare postseason success, the Astros have at times been a team on the cusp of success only to falter the following year.

After clinching the National League Wild Card with an 89-73 record in the 2005 season, they defeated two of Major League Baseball’s winningest franchises in recent memory, the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals, to complete their improbable trip to their first-ever World Series.

Although they were swept by the World Series Champion Chicago White Sox, many expected the Astros to possibly become a contender in the National League.

However, after four years of alternating winning and losing seasons, the Astros proved to be inconsistent and missing one or two key players that could change the complexion of the franchise.

Flash forward to this season, the Astros boast a National League worst 15-27 record and already 9 ½ games behind the division-leading Cardinals.

So what is wrong with the Houston Astros?

With the retirement of Jeff Bagwell in 2005 and of Craig Biggio in 2007, the Astros definitely lost two of the best pure players in team history.

But that is where the problems only begin.

During the first 40 games of this season, the Astros have been unable to produce on the offensive end, averaging less than three runs per game. The Astros are also ranked either last or second-to-last in every major offensive category. Due to lack of run support, the pitching is also of tremendous importance.

Houston’s rotation of Roy Oswalt, Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Felipe Paulino, and Bud Norris are having to limit opposing teams’ offensive output as much as possible, to help keep them in games.

SP Roy Oswalt, despite having a 2.66 ERA, only has a 2-6 record to show for it, in large part to lack of offense. This may be the biggest reason as to why Houston’s starting ace wants a trade.

If the Astros could perhaps get some young talent, they may begin building for the future. However, if an Oswalt trade is in the works, this essentially eliminates any chance of Houston contending for the playoffs.

Their offensive woes could be in large part to the inconsistent play of LF Carlos Lee and 3B Pedro Feliz. Even though they have showed flashes of their offensive prowess, it has been only on occasion.

They were brought to Houston, in 2007 and 2010 respectively, to help boost the hitting and scoring of the Astros, something that has not worked in Houston’s favor.

If Houston does want to build for the future, now is the time, as they have key players that would generate interest, as well as provide value, from other teams. Lee, Roy Oswalt, and perhaps, even, Lance Berkman could all be on the move during this season.

The team could start rebuilding around Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, and start to develop young players. Prospects, as well as trading for young role players, could form a strong nucleus that could bring the Astros back into contention as soon as next season.

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