Results tagged ‘ Craig Biggio ’

Biggio arrives in camp, talks Hall snub

The outpouring of support he received from friends and family members made coming just two votes shy of being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame two months ago easier to swallow for Astros legend Craig Biggio.

Biggio, who arrived in Astros camp on Monday for four days, is likely to get elected next year when he’s on the ballot for a third time, but the man who has more hits than any other Astros player (3,060) and more doubles than any right-hander in history was disappointed.

“I really think the way that everybody’s felt really has made it easier for myself, as far as the disappointment that everybody expressed to me,” he said. “It made it easier for me, per say, just from the standpoint of people wanted it to happen. We kind of hoped it would happen, but it didn’t, but we came close. The way that everybody felt about it, it made it easier for me at least, I know that.”

When asked if he would like to see any changes in the voting process, Biggio said he’s not questioning anything.

“I’m grateful that we came really close and hopefully next year it will be a really magical year,” he said. “Like I said before, it’s not for me. It’s for my family number one, it’s for the fans, it’s for the organization, and I’m fourth on the list. It’s true.

“The Astros don’t have a guy in there, and I couldn’t think of something more exciting than be able to hopefully have that happen for them. You couldn’t get any closer. I knew I needed 39 votes or something from the year before, and we got the 39 votes, except they picked up two more writers.”

Biggio will spend time in camp in uniform and working with the Minor League players and big league players. He just came from North Carolina where he was watching his sons play at Notre Dame while scouting players the Astros are eyeing for the First-Year Player Draft. That included North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon, who’s the favorite for the No. 1 pick for the Astros.

“He’s a nice player,” Biggio said.

Rodon pitched Saturday against UCLA in Cary, N.C., and too, the loss despite holding the Bruins to three hits and three walks in seven innings while striking out eight batters. Rodon is 1-2 with a 2.14 ERA in three starts, striking out 23 batters in 21 innings.

His next start will come this weekend against Notre Dame in Raleigh, N.C. Biggio’s youngest son, Cavan, is a freshman infielder for the Irish and has started all 11 games this year, hitting .263. His oldest son, Conor, is a junior who’s an extra outfielder.

Astros director of scouting Mike Elias has been leaning on Biggio to get give him a scouting report of some players while he gets to see his sons play.

“I’ve been in dialogue with Mike Elias and they’ve given me a list of guys that are potential people, and I’ll go look at them and we’ll get the opportunity to go back there for another week and see some more guys and some of the same guys, so it’s good,” he said.

Biggio said the scouting process takes teamwork, and he’s glad to provide it.

“Scouts are a huge part of your organization, and once scouts hand them off to the player development side of things and [director of player development] Quinton [McCracken] and everybody, it’s up to those guys to hopefully teach these young men how to tap into certain things,” Biggio said. “It’s up to them, predominantly. It’s fun with the whole process and the way it works.

“The draft is our future, and I think Mike is doing an excellent job of it so far. If we’re going to a game, we might as well see some guys and help out as much as we can. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

La Russa goes to bat for Bagwell, Biggio

Three-time World Series champion manager Tony La Russa, who’s going into the Hall of Fame this year, spent a decade battling the Astros led by Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio as manager of the Cardinals in the National League Central.

La Russa has an immense amount of respect for the Killer B’s and said on Friday that both Bagwell and Biggio should get into the Hall of Game. Biggio came up two votes shy of reaching Cooperstown, N.Y., this year in his second year on the ballot in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Bagwell has been on the ballot four years and has yet to crack 60 percent.

“There’s no doubt that Craig’s going to be a Hall of Famer. It’s going to happen,” said La Russa, who’s a special assistant to Commissioner Bud Selig. “He almost got in the first time and didn’t get in the second time. I’m sure he gets a little impatient, but I’m sure it’s going to happen for him, and when he does it will be well deserved.”

La Russa, who was in Kissimmee, Fla., on Friday for a meeting about instant replay, said he enjoyed battling yearly with the Minnesota Twins while he was manager of A’s in the 1990s, and he said he had a similar rivalry with the Astros when both were in the NL Central.

“Houston, in our division, Bagwell, Biggio and [Lance] Berkman, they had good surrounding characters the couple of years you had [Carlos] Beltran and [Jeff] Kent,” he said. “So I saw Bagwell as a huge influence, not just on the field but off. One of the best players of our generation.”

La Russa said he doesn’t understand the criteria members of the BBWAA use to vote for the Hall of Fame.

“Otherwise Jack Morris would be in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “The new metrics have a real important place, just don’t exaggerate them, and I think they get exaggerated at times. Like with Jack Morris, and maybe Bagwell.”

Biggio says Jeter’s legacy is secure

Fellow 3,000-hit member Craig Biggio counts himself has a huge fan of Yankees legend Derek Jeter, who announced on Wednesday he was retiring at the end of this season. Biggio, a New Yorker and 20-year Astros legend, has great admiration for Jeter and the way he played the game.

“I guess you know all good things come to an end,” he said. “For Derek, he’s had an unbelievable career. his legacy with the Yankees and in baseball is really second to none. He’s got a long of things to be proud of. I think the biggest thing is, the most important thing, is the respect he got from his teammates and the respect he got from other players.”

Biggio announced he was retiring before the 2007 season, so he knows what Jeter will be going through when he makes the rounds to different ballparks. He received several gifts along the way, including a grill and a supply of bratwurst prior to his final games in Milwaukee.

“I just think the biggest thing is to enjoy it, and I think it’s such a classy move,” he said. “If you know what you’re going to be doing, to be able to announce to the fans so they can get an opportunity to watch you play one more time, that’s great. A lot f times when players don’t know or keep holding on, the fans will be held at bay because the players don’t know. If they know it’s going to be the end, the fans could go out and show their kids and grand kids and say ‘Hey, I watched him his whole career. He played the game the way you were supposed to play.’ It’s a classy move on his part. He knows what he wants to do, and I think it’s just great.”

Biggio HOF statement

“Congratulations to Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. Obviously, I’m disappointed to come that close. I feel for my family, the organization and the fans. Hopefully, next year.”

Biggio integral in Astros manageral search

Craig Biggio might not be ready to throw his name into the team’s managerial search, but he’s certainly going to have a say in finding the Astros’ next skipper. Biggio, a special assistant to general manager Jeff Luhnow, is involved in the interview process to find a full-time manager.

“I’m honored and excited about it,” he said. “I’ve been part of this organization for a long period of time and they trust my judgment and my decision-making. I’m honored to be part of this process.”

With the Astros still undergoing a large-scale overhaul in their on-field talent, Biggio recognizes the importance of finding the right man for the job.

“It’s an exciting time for this organization,” he said. “You’re looking at getting a guy, a baseball man that’s going to lead these kids in the right direction and get them back to where we were before. Whenever you’re looking for a manager, you’re looking for somebody who’s hopefully going to be around here for the  next 10 years. That’s the type of personality you’re trying to look it.”

Of course, Biggio played for seven different managers – Hal Lanier, Art Howe, Terry Collins, Larry Dierker, Jimy Williams, Phil Garner and Cecil Cooper – during his 20-year Astros career, so he knows a little bit about what it takes to be a successful manager.

“There’s no doubt about it,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that go on when you’re with the manager and coaching staff and players and the relationships you have with them and relationships you have in the clubhouse and in the airplane. There’s a lot of things that go on, and we’ve had some really good ones over the years, and we’re trying to find a lot more.”

Biggio endured a rebuilding phase early in his career, with the club losing 97 games in 1991. They improved to 81-81 in 1992, 85-77 in 1993 and had a 66-49 record in the strike-shortened season of 1994. Beginning in 1997, the Astros won four division titles in five years.

“That’s how quickly it turns around when you have the right personnel and the right people and right leadership involved,” Biggio said. “It doesn’t happen overnight, but when you have the right people in the right situations it can turn around quicker than the players think it could.”

Biggio has become a trusted adviser to Luhnow, and his presence is the interview room during the managerial search is much more than window dressing.

“I like this side of it,” Biggio said. “You’re a part of a team down here [on the field] and part of a team up there [in the GM’s box], but as an organization you all work together. When we all work together we’re going to be pretty successful, and that’s the reason why the years we had here when we had the second-best record over a 10-year period is because your ownership group and front-office group and field personnel and the team were all on the same page, and once you get back to that we’ll start winning a lot more baseball games.”

Biggio enjoying role with the Astros

Craig Biggio, the Astros’ all-time hits leader who’s eligible for Hall of Fame induction next year, said Wednesday he’s looking forward to continuing his role with the organization as a special adviser to general manager Jeff Luhnow.

Astros owner Jim Crane told KRIV-TV in Houston on Wednesday he had completed a deal with Biggio to keep the long-time Astros star in the organization. Biggio has served as a special assistant to the GM since retiring following the 2007 season.

“What we’re doing now is the same thing we were doing before, getting out to the Minor Leagues and seeing the kids a little bit and at the beginning of the year going to Spring Training and getting to as many Astros games as I can and just try to be around as much as possible and lend a hand whenever it’s possible,” Biggio told MLB.com from Florida. “This is something we’ve been doing for the last four years.”

In addition to his duties with the Astros, Biggio is the head baseball coach at St. Thomas High School in Houston and has won two private school state titles. When he’s not coaching the kids, he’s been visible around the ballpark.

“I get the opportunity to get to at least half the games, and whenever they’re on the road you watch the games and you go out to the Minor Leagues whenever you can,” Biggio said. “When you’re around you see things, and when something needs to be said you pass it along. It’s fun and it’s part of the deal. We’ve got a lot of coaches in place and the more good people you have in the organization, the better.”

Crane hopes to keep former Astros star Jeff Bagwell in a similar role.

Will Hall call Bagwell?

Jeff Bagwell will find out today if he’s received enough votes to make the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The results of the voting by eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will be revealed during an MLB.com simulcast of the announcement on MLB Network live at 1 p.m. CT.

The vote was conducted by the BBWAA this past December. Because of the least-imposing first-year group of eligible players in recent memory, former Reds shortstop Barry Larkin seems to be the lone possibility for election.

Bagwell appeared on 41.7 percent of the ballots in his first year of eligibility last year and will need to get 75 percent to get elected. It’s unlikely he’ll make that kind of jump this year.

Bagwell probably would have been a slam dunk to make the Hall of Fame had he reached 500 home runs. He fell just 51 shy of that mark when a degenerative shoulder ended his career early, but his numbers across the board appear Hall of Fame worthy. Sure, there will be those who will hold it against him that he played in era when many sluggers were under the suspicion of performance-enhancing drugs, but Bagwell has been clean of any allegations. There’s no reason to believe he didn’t do everything the right way.

Those same voters who are inclined to take into account such intangibles should remember Bagwell played most of his career in the cavernous Astrodome, which surely took several home runs away from him. And if you look beyond the gaudy numbers, the voters should remember Bagwell was a terrific defensive player and base runner.

“I’m pulling for him,” long-time Astros teammate Craig Biggio said. “You know my feelings about him. To me, he’s a Hall of Famer. He had 40-something percent last year and you hope the number keeps climbing and gets to that 75 percent. He was a tremendous player and did a lot of great things on the baseball field. To me, there’s no doubt about it – he’s definitely a Hall of Fame baseball player.”

Of course, Biggio will be on the Hall of Fame ballot next year as part of a star-studded class that includes former Astros pitchers Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, along with Mike Piazza, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Biggio said. “These last four years went by super-fast.”

Biggio, of course, seems to be a lock to reach Cooperstown, considering he reached 3,060 hits and has more doubles than any right-handed hitter in history. Bagwell didn’t play as long as Biggio, but his numbers are equally as impressive.

During Bagwell’s 15 seasons, the Astros had their most successful run in franchise history, qualifying for the postseason six times while finishing at .500 or above 13 times. The Astros had the third-best winning percentage (.531) in the NL from 1991-2005.

In 1994, Bagwell became just the third player in history to win the NL Most Valuable Player Award by a unanimous vote after hitting .368 with 39 home runs, 116 RBIs, a .750 slugging percentage, .451 on-base percentage and a career-high 1.201 OPS.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star, earned three Silver Slugger Awards, a Rawlings Gold Glove Award and remains as the only first baseman in NL history to reach the 30-30 club in home runs and stolen bases in a season, which he did twice in his career.

Here are some of Bagwell’s accomplishments (entering 2011 season):

HOW BAGWELL MEASURES UP ALL-TIME

  • .948 career OPS ranks 22nd in Major League history and 10th among right-handed hitters. Four of the nine right-handed hitters ranked ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame, while four others are not yet eligible for induction.
  • .408 career on-base percentage ranks 15th all-time among right-handed hitters and ninth all-time among first basemen (3rd among RH first basemen).
  • is one of just 12 players in baseball history to hit at least 400 home runs while compiling a .408-or-higher onbase percentage.
  • is the only first baseman in NL history to reach the 30-30 club in home runs and stolen bases, and the only first baseman in ML history to reach this milestone twice in a career.
  • is the just the eighth player in ML history to win both the Rookie of the Year (1991) and Most Valuable Player (1994) awards.
  • is the only first baseman in ML history and one of 12 players all-time to reach 400 home runs and 200 stolen bases.
  • is one of five players in history to collect 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored in six consecutive seasons (1996-2001). Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Albert Pujols are the others.
  • is the only player in history to record 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, 100 runs scored and 100 walks in six consecutive seasons (1996-2001).
  • .297 career average ranks 18th all-time among players with 400 home runs, and 10th all-time among righthanded hitters with 400 home runs.

AMONG HIS PEERS (1991-2005)

  • 1,529 RBIs ranked second in the Majors and first among right-handed hitters.
  • 1,517 runs scored ranked third in the Majors.
  • ranked third in the Majors in hits (2,314), walks (1,401) and extra-base hits (969).
  • ranked fifth in the Majors in home runs (449) and games played (2,150).
  • reached 100 RBI eight times, 100 runs scored nine times, 30 home runs eight times, 100 walks seven times, 1.000 OPS four times, .300 batting average six times.
  • finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting five times.

SOLID DECADE

  • from 1994-2003, led all first basemen in hits, runs, walks, extra-base hits, doubles and stolen bases, ranked second in games and RBIs and third in home runs.

Biggio happy for Jeter

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter joined the 3,000 hit club on Saturday, becoming the first member of the elite group since Craig Biggio collected his 3,000th career hit more than four years ago. Biggio was asked by MLB.com for his thoughts on Jeter’s accomplishment.

“I think for Derek, in general, he’s been such a great player and a great role model for the game of baseball, where you’re in that New York market and it’s one of the most difficult markets to work in,” Biggio said. “For him to be able to play there and be the ambassador of the game he has been and be such a great player, it’s really says a lot about him. I’m happy for him.”

Biggio knows Jeter will be savoring the moment he gets 3,000, but thinks he’ll appreciate it more as he gets older.

“He’s going to enjoy it after he’s passed it,” he said. “I think what happens, it gets to a point you want it to happen quickly because you’re tired of year teammates having to answer questions about it in every city you go to. ‘What do you think about it?’ In his mind, he can’t get there soon enough.

“The sooner he gets there and gets it, he’s going to enjoy that moment. After the fact and after it happens, he’s really going to savor the moment, really look at it and think how hard it was to do that and get there.”

Biggio believes Bagwell will do great things

Before we get to the topic at hand, I would like to remind my readers this will be my last blog entry for a few days. I’m going to take some time off during the All-Star break, so play nicely until I return.

Craig Biggio, who spent 15 years as a teammate of Jeff Bagwell, had split emotions Sunday. He was saddened to hear friend and former teammate Sean Berry had lost his job as Astros hitting coach, but he was thrilled that Bagwell was taking his place.

“I’m happy for Baggy,” Biggio said. “He’s going to a great job and great things for some of these kids. Both of us feel sorry for Sean because he is a friend and this is the business side of things. It’s something [Bagwell] wasn’t looking at doing. I think he’s going to be really good at it. It’s what we do for a living, and he loves the game.”

Bagwell and Biggio are ranked 1-2 on the most of the club’s offensive record books, with Lance Berkman beginning to put his name in the mix in a few categories. Bagwell is the club’s all-time leader in homers with 449 and RBIs with 1,529, and Biggio said that will carry a lot of weight with the younger players.

“Baggy’s a great hitter,” Biggio said. “The kids have to be able to buy into the program you’re selling. Obviously, it was very successful for him and he’s an excellent hitter, a disciplined hitter. Whether you’re at the amateur level or in college and now kids in the pros, nobody walks anymore. Nobody’s concerned with on-base percentage.

“When we were in our heyday, we took walks, stole bases and got into scoring position. These are going to be the same things Jeff is going to address with a lot of these younger hitters, how to take a walk and take what the pitchers give you and get on base.”

Biggio, who played with Bagwell from 1991-2005, doesn’t envision following Bagwell back into a Major League dugout anytime soon. He recently guided St. Thomas High School in Houston to a private school state baseball championship, with both of his sons playing on the team.

For now, he’s content to let Bagwell put the uniform back on.

“They’re going to benefit from him,” Biggio said. “Sean’s a good friend and did a great job. The change was made and the kids are going to listen and work hard like they did for Sean and hopefully get the results on the field. For me, I know where I’m going to be for the next year, but who knows what the future is going to bring. I’m just excited for Jeff to have this opportunity and he’s going to do great.”

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