This weekend, the major league baseball season will be drawing to a close and most teams will be packing up their lockers for the winter. Meanwhile, the career of one of the greatest athletes in Houston history, Craig Biggio, will come to an end.
There have been many times over the course of baseball history, and sports history in general, that players do not get to leave the game on their own terms. Injuries can kill a player’s career before he is ready. Their skill levels taper off, but they are just too proud to call it a career. So they hang around and hang around until no one wants them around period. Biggio made sure that he would go out on his terms.
This Sunday, September 30 versus the Atlanta Braves, will be Biggio’s final game in a remarkable career that may very well see him become the first Houston Astro in the Hall of Fame. Biggio has had a career that spans 20 seasons and 2,845 games. In an age when players often switch teams faster than you can say “Kenny Lofton,” it is rare to see a player so devoted to one city and one team that he would spend his whole career there. Biggio has played in more games, all with one team, than any other active player in the MLB.
Statistically, Biggio is one of the best second baseman of all time and one of the greatest Astros of all time. He became the 27th player in the history of baseball to record 3,000 hits earlier this season. He has 666 career doubles and is nine homeruns shy of 300 for his career. In an age when everyone in baseball is a steroid suspect, one would be hard pressed to label Biggio as a steroid user. His career high in homeruns was 26 in 2005. Biggio is the only player in history with 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases, and 250 homeruns. In 1997, Biggio became the only player in major league history to not ground into a single double play over the course of a 162 game season. In 1998, he became only the second player to have 50 double and 50 stolen bases in one season. He holds the National League career record with 53 lead-off homeruns. Defensively, Biggio is no slouch either, as he boasts four Gold Glove awards in his career.
Biggio has been an iron man in his career, making only one trip to the disabled list back in 2000. Despite that one trip, he is no stranger to pain. Biggio has been hit by more pitches than anyone in the modern era with 285. His single season high for being hit by pitches was 34 back in 1997 and from 1995 through 2005 Biggio was hit by no fewer than eleven pitches a season. Even with being hit so many times, never once in his career has Biggio charged the mound.
Craig Biggio is a role model both on and off the field. He works tirelessly with his charity, The Sunshine Kids, which is a support organization for children with cancer and their families. In addition, he has received numerous awards for his charitable work away from the diamond.
When Biggio recorded his 3,000th hit, none other than his longtime teammate Jeff Bagwell came out on the field to celebrate him. They were teammates together with the Astros for fifteen years, and before them, baseball in Houston was just an afterthought. They really turned Houston into a baseball city. Biggio and Bagwell are two of the classiest guys to ever play the game. The way these two men carried themselves affected everyone in the clubhouse.
The Astros will be hard-pressed to find someone who is loyal to his teammates and plays every game like it is his last as Biggio has done for his Houston team. His hustle and work ethic are second to none and that is why he has the physique of someone half his age.
“You owe it to yourself to be the best you can possibly be – in baseball and in life.
— Pete Rose”
Let’s hear it one more time: B-G-O, B-G-O, B-G-O