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Astros Hall of Fame Profile: Craig Biggio

Homegrown players who retire with the same team that signed them are nearly a thing of the past. One of those rare feats was executed with vigor by our next Houston Astros, and Major League Baseball, Hall of Famer, Craig Biggio. For twenty seasons, from 1988 to 2007, Biggio played with a Houston Astros logo emblazoning his jersey. Only once did he contemplate another team. Following the 1995 season, Biggio eschewed offers from the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals, but took a deal to stay with the Astros. 

Craig Biggio: Hall of Fame Profile

From the Beginning

Craig Biggio graduated from high school in Kings Park, New York, and was a talent at every sport he suited up for. While there were numerous options to pursue, Biggio turned down football scholarships to play baseball for Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. There, he would play with other future major league stars including John Valentin and Mo Vaughn. As a Pirate at Seton Hall, his coach moved the infielder to catcher out of necessity. He would go on to play collegiate summer ball in the Cape Cod Summer League before being drafted in the first round by the Houston Astros in 1987. He graduated as and remains Seton Hall’s leader in triples, second in runs scored, and places in the top ten in 18 other categories. The school inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 1996, followed by his number 44 being retired in 2012.

The Show

Biggio didn’t waste much time getting to the majors. During his short minor league career, he was batting .344, and midway through the 1988 season, he got the call. The following season, Biggio earned the right to be the team’s starting catcher. That same year, he picked up the Silver Slugger Award. In addition, his speed on the basepaths led to the team platooning him part-time in 1990, in order to lengthen his career and ease the damage done behind the plate. 

The Killer B’s Arrive

Just before the start of the 1991 season, the Astros picked up minor-league first baseman Jeff Bagwell from the Boston Red Sox. Bagwell was a power hitter with an acute ability to find his way on base. Bagwell picked up 15 years of his own on the field, playing his entire career with the Astros, overlapping completely with Biggio. The pair of hitters became known as “The Killer B’s” a frightful duo throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s. Together, they would appear in nine All-Star Games, win a combined five Gold Gloves (Biggio won four, Bagwell one), and help the Astros to the postseason six times. While it was the duo of Biggio and Bagwell that struck fear into pitchers and fielders, other later Astros “B”-named players would join the club including Carlos Beltrán, Lance Berkman, Sean Berry, and Derek Bell

Biggio to Second

Biggio moved to second base during the spring training of 1992. It was initially thought of as an odd move. Biggio had made the National League All-Star team at catcher just the year before. However, he took the difficult task and made it look easy. He made the All-Star team again in 1992; the first player to earn that spot as both catcher and second baseman, and picked up four consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1994 to 1997. His hitting was also picking up. Already strong at the plate, manager Larry Dierker slid Biggio up a slot in the order, moving the reliable hitter into the leadoff spot. From 1994 to 1999, he led the NL in doubles three times, runs scored twice, and once in stolen bases. 

Later Career

Until August 1, 2000, Biggio had not visited the disabled list in 1,800 games. That day, he suffered a season-ending knee injury, tearing both his ACL and MCL. While he rebounded the following year, he slumped throughout 2002, hitting for only a .253 average. The following year was another down year, but the biggest change came when the Astros signed free agent second-baseman Jeff Kent, another All-Star. To make room for him, Houston moved Biggio to center field, and then to left to make room for the signing of Carlos Beltrán halfway through the 2004 season. Despite the numerous changes, Biggio was returning to form at the plate. That year, they made the postseason, beating the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series, but losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games during the Championship Series. 

The World Series

The 2005 season saw Biggio return to second base upon the departure of Jeff Kent to the Los Angeles Dodgers, It was a boon for Biggio, as he would set a new career high in home runs with 26. The team would eke into the playoffs, eventually edging the Philadelphia Phillies for the lone NL Wild Card spot. They then beat the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS. During the NLCS, the Astros revisited the Cardinals, defeating them and making it to the World Series. It would be the first and only trip to the Fall Classic for both Bagwell and Biggio, as the Chicago White Sox swept the Astros. Biggio and Bagwell book-ended their season with some handsome awards. In February, the year kicked off with their induction into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Following the season, they both received Baseball America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. 


Less common than staying with a team for your entire career are the number of records and milestones a player breaks or reaches. On June 28, 2007, Biggio joined the 3,000-hit club, becoming only the 27th player in MLB history to do so. In anticipation of the feat, the Astros installed a digital counter just left of center that would update with each hit. Facing Aaron Cook that day, Biggio smacked a single off the Colorado Rockies pitcher. As he rounded first, attempting to stretch the hit into a double, he was tagged out, drawing in a run to score. Following the play, the game was stopped for a celebration. He was the first Astro to secure a spot on the list, notching it with his third hit of the game and following it up with two more that night.


In addition to joining the exclusive hitter’s club, Biggio has picked up several other milestones. He ended his career in 2007 with 668 doubles – fifth place all-time, the most doubles by a right-handed hitter, and is the only player in history with 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases, and 250 home runs. In fact, he fell just nine home runs shy of joining the illustrious 300 HR-300 SB club, to become the seventh player to do so. If he had, he would have been only the second player to have accomplished 3,000 hits, 300 home runs, and 300 stolen bases, along with Willie Mays


Shortly after the All-Star Break, on July 24, 2007, Biggio announced that he would be leaving the game following the end of the season – his 20th with the Astros, another team record. In that game, he hit a grand slam in the 6th to cap off the announcement. In his penultimate game, the former catcher suited up and knelt behind the plate to start and play two innings as the team’s catcher. The next game saw a sellout, record-breaking crowd at Minute Maid Park. On that September 30, 2007 night, Biggio got a double in the first inning and scored his final career run a few hitters later. In his final at-bat, he barely got nabbed at first on a throw from third baseman Chipper Jones. He exited the game in the top of the 8th to a rousing standing ovation.  

Since Retirement

 After retiring, Biggio has served as a special assistant to the general manager since 2008. He has worked with the baseball operations staff, helping with instruction, the draft, scouting, and talent evaluation. On May 23, 2008, during a pre-game ceremony, Biggio received an award from for their This Year in Baseball’s 2007 Moment of the Year (his 3,000th hit). A month later, on June 28, the team announced they would retire his number 7 on August 17, 2008, becoming the ninth Astros player to earn that honor. In 2013, Biggio first appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot. He barely missed out in his first two years, eventually making it in his third year of eligibility. 


Photo Credit: © Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports


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