Bidge is In! A great day for the Astros and for Houston sports


Bidge is In – A Great Day for Houston Sports By Dan Peschong

I met Craig Biggio once in my life. Years tend to run together, but I think it was 1991, his last year as a full time catcher. They were opening a store called Sports Town out in Sugar Land, which disappeared almost as quickly as it came. The store announced that Craig was going to sign autographs for the first 200 fans and so I took my two oldest sons who were playing little league at the time along with a couple of Biggio baseball cards and went off to meet a real major leaguer.

He came cruising in a couple minutes late, but I have to say. He was great! He did not just sign cards and hand them back, but he asked the kids if they played, what position, how they liked it, etc.  It was a very positive experience and stuck in my mind as we watched him develop into an All Star and then an icon.

Along with his great way with kids, the other thing that struck me about him was his size. He is listed at 5’-11” – but, I doubt it – maybe in his wife’s high heels. There are pro athletes you see and say – that person is such a physical freak – I could never be like him or her. With Biggio – he looked like an altar boy (which I imagine he was once), Beaver Cleaver as an adult, a normal sized everyman.

I’m not going to talk about his stats that helped cement him into the Hall. I want to talk about how he played the game. He was not the biggest, fastest or strongest guy to play the game. But very few players ever played harder than Bidge – he played the game the right way. It is surprising that the infield in the Astrodome and Enron/MMP did not have erosion problems like Galveston Beach after a hurricane with how much dirt he took home every day on his uniform.

It has been a tough year for Houston sports fans. The Astros continued their search for bottom.

Craig Biggio – hard-nosed altar boy, dirty scamp, doubles machine, baseball pin cushion, great Astro — and now Hall of Famer. It is a very great day for Houston Sports.

 

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64 comments on “Bidge is In! A great day for the Astros and for Houston sports

  1. I have to thank Chip for posting this – I wrote it last year thinking that the unthinkable would not happen and keep Bidge it out another season. Well it is all over – the Houston Astro fans finally have a Hall of Famer that they share with no one.

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    • The wife and I went to see Three Dog Night in Hofheinz Pavilion once. If I’m not mistaken, it was their second to last performance. I seem to remember that they smashed all their equipment in Dallas in their last performance a couple of nights later. But that could just be me confusing them with some other group.

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      • That sounds a lot more like the Who – though like most groups at the end – Three Dog Night was probably ready to smash each other’s heads much less the instruments.

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  2. rj – He was not a perfect player – none of them are – but he took everything God gave him talent-wise and wrung that rag completely dry. You could complain that he swung at a few too many low outside sliders but you could never complain that he did not give his all left it all out of the field.

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  3. Are there really still some other old Three Dog Night fans out there? Well, for us this great news. Let’s all sing “Seven is the Fame-iest Number”. This should keep us going until the appointed time comes for us to put on ‘Pieces of April’. As for Bags, well, let’s just say the Hall Voters it is “Easy to be Hard’, and that they apparently think he should have learned a few more lines from “Mama Told Me Not to Come.’ I With they would ‘Try a Little Tenderness’, but at least Astro’s fans don’t have to worry that Bidge will be all alone forever, because “‘Tuve’s Comin”

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  4. Craig and Patty Biggio came to my 12 year old little league team’s end of season party. This would have been in his second or third season of in Houston. They hung out with all of us kids (and parents), gave us a pep talk, and answered all the baseball questions we had. His big advice was that if you want to make the major leagues you should play catcher – they always are looking for catchers who can hit. They got nothing for their time, but were about the nicest couple and most gracious guests you could find. Also, I suspect I have photographic evidence somewhere to Dan’s point about his listed height being embellished a bit.

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  5. It’s a real good day down here, Dad. Yep, our guy Biggio got put in the Hall of Fame.
    What? Yeah, I know, I never saw a catcher who could run like that either. We probably won’t get to see another one. So, I’m guessing you know by now they moved him to second base, huh? Yep, he made All-Star there, too. See ya round, Pop.

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    • I’m betting my dad is having a cold one with yours old pro. He got to see him play 2nd for a few years but never saw him in the World Series.
      He liked Biggio a lot too.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. How can I be so happy and frustrated all at once?

    Congratulations to Craig Biggio. I’m thrilled for him and all Astros fans. Votes and ballots don’t matter now. He is Houston’s Hall of Famer.

    At the same time, I’m stunned at the lack of support for Jeff Bagwell. To be honest, I was always more impressed with Bagwell. He was an amazing hitter. Saw him hit for the cycle one night from 13 rows behind home plate. It was a sight to behold.

    I won’t add what I think about idiots not voting for Tim Raines, who along with Biggio is one of the best lead off hitters not named Henderson.

    Enjoy, Astros fans. Enjoy, Chipalatta crowd. There’s an Astro going to the Hall.

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    • BrianT – It is weird that Bags is considered as suspect while a Frank Thomas was not. Yes – he built up bigger biceps over time – but he did not turn into another species (put on the movie Rookie of the Year and see Barry Bonds built more like Terry Puhl than like JJ Watt). Bagwell got bigger but not overly huge and he was a great hitter from the moment he appeared on the scene with the Astros. It may take awhile for Bags to make it now.
      Rock Raines was a great leadoff hitter – I hope he makes it – after Bagwell.

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      • I can understand the shunning if Clemens and Sosa, but why Bags is treated any different than Thomas (they share birthdays by the way) makes no sense to me.

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    • The more you look at Tim Raines numbers the more you become convinced he us a definite HOFer. He has a career .385 OBP and was the 2nd greatest leadoff hitter ever. I think two things are hurting him. First, he played at the same time as the greatest leadoff hitter, thus making his numbers not appear as daunting. Second, his trouble with cocaine may affect how the voters view him and his character. From a numbers standpoint he should have been elected years ago.

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      • I think it is the cocaine Tim though if they are spending time comparing him to Henderson it would be like comparing power hitters to Babe Ruth back in the day.

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  7. Alright…alright…alright!! This ENTIRE city would be hunting down every writer to
    find out why they didn’t vote Biggio in!! I’m soooo happy I might never stop smiling!
    The HOF is on my bucket list, and our oldest son said he wanted to go with me. Not this year, but soon……….good day for this city, and our very own Hall of Fame second baseman!! Could not get better! Becky 🙂

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  8. Bidge, the icon of the NL Astros, was my all-time favorite player. I witnessed his last game with my 2-year old son, 88 year old grannie, and cousins. I caught a foul ball of the bat of Lance Berkman that day. What a day. What a player. What a great time to be an Astros fan.

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  9. My birthday was Monday the 5th. and I’ll take this as the BEST birthday present EVER! The ESPN guys had some awesome things about Biggio, and now our attention will be on Bags. He was the best 1st. baseman in MLB for a long time!
    NOW……..let’s get back to the business of getting another starting pitcher, and
    a “real” third baseman! You’re on the clock Luhnow.

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    • Happy birthday Becky!! You could not ask for a better day late present.
      And you bring us back to the present with your requests at the end of your comments.

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  10. I am very excited Biggio finally got his call. It is well deserved. I agree with Brian, and this is not to take anything away from Bidge, but I always felt Bagwell is the greatest Astro of all time. He had all the tools, even base running. He wasn’t the fastest guy on the field, but I never saw a smarter base runner in all my years watching baseball. It doesn’t look like he will get in next year. It may be toward the end of his time on the ballot before he gets there, if he does. What a shame if it never happens.

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    • Tim / Brian – I think if they were both from a steroid free era they would both have been in already. It is a shame that Bags seems to be a ways away from making it and it is tough to judge how many writers will never vote for him.

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      • Although Bagwell remains my favorite player of all time, I have to disagree with that assertment. If Bagwell had played in a non-steroid era he probably puts up numbers comparable to Keith Hernandez – lots of doubles and RBI, solid average, extraordinary OBP, but lower HR totals. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying he used illicit chemical enhancements, but rather saying he spent a couple more hours in the weight room than the players that preceded him.

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      • Lots of people suspect BOTH Bagwell and Biggio. One sportswriter even said he left Biggio off the ballot again because he is convinced. There is nothing that can stop the suspicion train from rolling on.

        I think Bags issue goes deeper than suspicion. He played in an era of power guys, monster hitters. When compared to other power guys, McGwire, Sosa, Palmerio, Bonds, even Thomas, Giambi, etc., his numbers are there with them, but not head and shoulders above them.

        Biggio isn’t lumped in as a “power guy,” he is compared to other guys, for his “hall worthiness.” As a result, with the 3000 hits, doubles, etc., he finds himself head and shoulders above alot of them.

        Which is a shame, because Bagwell was so much more than a power guy. You could take him down to 10 homeruns a year, and if you kept the rest of the production in place, he is still a very productive player.

        In the end, I personally suspect Bagwell used, but without proof, I find it hard to say he shouldn’t be in. If I had a vote, he would get it, until I start seeing links. This isn’t court, it doesn’t have to be absolute proof to convict him, but the lack of any smoke, not even a puff, I couldn’t hold my vote back.

        The suspicion about Biggio is more POV. The writer had stated that Biggio two best power seasons were at 38 and 39. He asked how many other guys did that at that age? The rest of his list were almost all steroid users. Personally I think he set those career highs because he could no longer hit anything but fastballs, and was cheating fastballs the last 3 years, so he had become a pull fly ball guy in a park with a small left field. I would argue that a user, i.e. Bonds, not only has his best power seasons at that age, but also just his best seasons period. Biggio’s OBP had fallen off, he wasn’t drawing walks, he basically killed his lifetime BA chasing 3000 hits, because he wasn’t using. Just my take.

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      • Steven – a very good alternate explanation if Biggio’s late career power. And it matches what we saw. He wasn’t suddenly pounding 450 foot dingers over Tals hill, but punching line drives into the first row of the Crawford Boxes

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      • His splits both those years favored home especially 2005 when he hit 19 homers at home and 7 on the road. Must have taken locational sensitive steroids.

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      • Sarge, I am not insinuating he used steroids. I’m saying weightlifting was shunned in baseball until the late 80s and early 90s.

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      • Not only that Dan – but it’s not like the three 20 homer seasons were seriously out of character. He had multiple 20 homer seasons up to that point anyway. He didn’t go from 33 to 73.

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    • Interesting comparison Devin. I would hope that if Jeff had played in that era that he would not have had to be suspended for cocaine use and distribution, like Hernandez was. Or been traded for being a clubhouse cancer like Whitey Herzog did with him at one point.
      I also think that Bags showed a lot of power at the Astrodome – a very tough place to hit a ball out of – so if he had played in a different era but in an easier stadium in the first half of his career he would have been more of a power hitter than Hernandez.

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      • Bagwells problem! It has nothing to do with his play or the era in which he played. If he’d had his career as it stands in Boston, he would have been voted in on the first ballot in 2010. This has nothing to do with what he might have taken or when he played, and everything to do with not playing in the AL East.

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  11. I see where the Angels DFA’d Mark Krause today……..Sherzer and Shields need to pee or get off the pot, I’m tired of all the drama.

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    • Scherzer’s agent is Scott Boras so his drama may go on a long time.
      Shields is 33 – so he may be struggling with his true value at his age.

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  12. Enjoyed the reads above. I would like to add a couple thoughts. If I am ever arrested and tried in court for a major crime, I do not want a single baseball writer on my jury. And Rose, Bonds & Clemens deserve to be in the HofF just off their numbers before steroids became a question mark. Makes you wonder if there should be a sign above the entrance at Cooperstown saying, “You are now entering a Jerk Free Building.”

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    • Astro45 – I’m sure you meant Rose with gambling not steroids – but point understood. They would have to throw some players out of the Hall of Fame (like Ty Cobb) before they put up that Jerk Free sign. Heck they might have to clear the baseball writer’s wing…..

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    • My thoughts on those players tainted with steroids is to consider whether they would have gotten in to the HOF if they hadn’t used steroids. For example, Bonds and Clemens were HOFers prior to getting on the juice, players like Palmiero, McGwire and Sosa, in my opinion would not have been HOFers, or reached the numbers of a HOFer without the juice. McGwire was an average defensive 1B, but all he is really known for is hitting HRs and, with the help of steroids, got more than he would have without. Thus, I wouldn’t put him in the HOF. Same for Sosa and Palmiero.

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      • It always gets to be a bit of a slippery slope in figuring these things out Tim. For instance if Roger started roiding when he turned 34 and was signed by the Blue Jays (as has been assumed) after a poor 10-13 season – would his 191-111 record plus a few more 10-13 seasons have gotten him in the hall? Probably not.
        I think Bonds probably is a better case because I think he was already one of the best players in baseball and got hacked off that Sosa and McGwire were getting such run while roiding – so he jumped in there and ruined his reputation while temporarily ripping up the record books.

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    • I’ve always been of the opinion that Rose should be in the hall just further banned from participating in baseball after his induction.

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      • My feeling has always been that somebody that bets against their club has to be looked at differently than someone who bets on it. A long time ago Paul Hornung and Alex Karras were suspended for a season by the NFL for betting on their own teams against each other. That seemed to make sense to me – punishment – not banishment.

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      • as far as i have ever seen rose never bet against his own team. i may be incorrect about that. however he didn’t use steroids. human growth hormone or any other chemicals to help his performance. and he was absolutely one of the best hitters ever and a hard nosed player who always hustled. i think he should be in the hall, but his materials there should include the negative as well as the accomplishments.

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      • I agree rj – no evidence he bet against his own team. If the Black Sox scandal had never happened – Rose would probably be in the Hall.

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      • I have no issue about “Rose The Manager” not being in the hall and banished or shot at sunrise. However, “Rose The Player” should be a first ballot entry. Should Ted Williams be kicked out because he was a lousy manager? “Tony LaRussa The Player” never made it in.

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  13. From my son Thomas who did meet Biggio that day:
    “And don’t forget the hustle and speed. He turned many singles into those doubles. He also walked and bruised up his elbows to get on base, steal 2nd, and score. There are certain players you feel positive about your odds of generating runs when they are due up next. There are not many that exemplify that more than Bidge.

    Dad, I do remember meeting Bidge but not too much about what he discussed. I feel like that might have been in 1992 but it was definitely in that 1 yr range. Now we just wait for Bags and see if we can call them the HOF Killer Bs.”

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  14. From my son Adam who was too young back then to meet Biggio:
    “That’s what I love about guys like Biggio and Watt. It’s not their talent that sticks out. Everyone at that level is great. It’s the effort. They wore their effort with pride. Watt with his bloody nose. Biggio covered in dirt. They do the job the right way, and we can all learn from them.”

    Liked by 1 person

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