Looking at the Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot: Craig Biggio
Eric: Craig Biggio started his career as a catcher before becoming a second baseman, then a center fielder, then a second baseman at the end. He finished with 3060 hits, and while those last few years were the definition of hanging on, it does give him a nice round number to hang his hat on.
It’s unfortunately that those final years are our last memory of Biggio, because he was a fantastic player in his prime. He wasn’t a conventional power guy, not a surprise given his middle infield position and playing in the cavernous Astrodome. What Biggio was though was an OBP machine. He was moved to second starting in 1992. From that year until 2001 (his age 35 year), his lowest OBP in a season was .373. He had four separate season with an OBP over .400. He also played almost every game in that stretch, playing less than 155 games only three years in that stretch, one of which was the strike year.
After that came his decline, but for a year he could still get on base at a decent clip. One way he boosted his totals was getting hit by pitches, a skill at which he is the modern master. He’s 2nd all-time in the category, and first place peaked in the 1890s. All that getting on base (on which he is 18th all-time) helped Biggio score a lot of runs: 1844 to be exact, 15th all-time.
Some might call Biggio a complier, using the end of his career as proof. However, a second baseman who hit .297/.393/.455 for a ten year peak while playing almost every game is a complier in the best way, by really good and being in the lineup every day.
This is another easy call for me, an enthusiastic YES for Biggio. It should’ve happened last year.
Pat: I also believed that Biggio should have been elected last year, along with his former teammate Jeff Bagwell. Biggio's numbers offensively are excellent, and I think his willingness to put his team first and play any position they ask of him is something that should at least be considered. There are very few players in that mold now, and Biggio provided solid defense at 3 completely different but very valuable positions.
WILL HE GET IN (Pat): Honestly, I don't think so. He absolutely should, but the more I look at the ballot, the more I'm convinced that we're going to see a lot of snubs. Biggio will be among them, since there are so many bigger names on the list. He'll get in eventually, but I don't think this is his year.
WILL HE GET IN (Eric): For those that don’t remember, Biggio was the closest to getting elected last year with 68.2% of the vote. However, this year he seems almost forgotten, given the high profile newcomers, the attention on Jack Morris in his final year, and the usual PED gnashing of teeth. I hope he gets in, but I’m guessing he falls just short again, and given the other big names coming in the next few years, he might actually keep falling short for a while. He’ll get in eventually though.
Previously: Frank Thomas