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Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday …Craig Biggio

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BiggioBiggio 2Craig Biggio

Biggio spent his entire 20-year baseball career, from 1988 through 2007, as a second baseman, catcher, and outfielder for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). Considered to be one of the best all around position players in club history, the Astros retired the number 7 in his honor the year following his retirement.

Biggio was called up as a catcher midway through the 1988 season, having batted .344 in his minor league career. In 1989, his first full season, Biggio became the Astros’ starting catcher. He won the Silver Slugger award in 1989. Biggio was a very speedy runner, and an adept base stealer. Astros’ management, in an attempt to keep the rigors of catching from sapping Biggio’s speed, tried him in the outfield part-time in 1990, as he had played 18 games there in the minors. Yogi Berra, when asked about Biggio being short for a catcher, said “Short catchers are better, because they don’t have to stand up as far.”[citation needed]

The Astros finally convinced Biggio to convert to second base in spring training 1992, even though Biggio had made the National League All-Star team as a catcher in 1991. Biggio made the All-Star team for the second time in 1992, becoming the first player in the history of baseball to be an All-Star at both catcher and second base. It is remarkably rare for a major league catcher to make a successful transition to middle infielder. If a catcher changes positions, it is usually to first base, or occasionally to outfield or third base.

Biggio became known as a reliable, hustling, consistent leadoff hitter, with unusual power for a second baseman. He holds the National League record for most home runs to lead off a game, with fifty. His statistics reflect this, having consistently good marks in hitting, on-base percentage, hit-by-pitch, runs, stolen bases, and doubles throughout his career. Biggio was also known for intentionally keeping his batting helmet dirty.

Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday salutes …Craig Biggio.

Awards

All-Star

  • 1991 (Catcher)
  • 1992 (2nd Base)
  • 1994 (2nd Base)
  • 1995 (2nd Base)
  • 1996 (2nd Base)
  • 1997 (2nd Base)
  • 1998 (2nd Base)

Gold Glove

  • 1994: National League Gold Glove (2nd Base)
  • 1995: National League Gold Glove (2nd Base)
  • 1996: National League Gold Glove (2nd Base)
  • 1997: National League Gold Glove (2nd Base)

Other Awards

  • 1989 NL Silver Slugger Award (C)
  • 1994 Baseball America NL All-Star 2B
  • 1994 NL Silver Slugger Award (2B)
  • 1995 NL Silver Slugger Award (2B)
  • 1997 NL Silver Slugger Award (2B)
  • 1997 Branch Rickey Award in recognition of his exceptional community service.
  • 1998 Houston Astros Player of the Year
  • 1998 NL Silver Slugger Award (2B)
  • 1998 Baseball America First-Team Major League All-Star 2B
  • 2004 Texas Baseball Hall of Fame inductee
  • 2004 Texas Sports Hall of Fame inductee
  • 2005 Hutch Award (honors baseball great Fred Hutchinson and is given annually to a Major League baseball player who best exemplifies his fighting spirit and competitive desire)
  • 2006 Heart & Hustle Award
  • 2007 Heart & Hustle Award
  • 2007 Roberto Clemente Award

Highlights

  • Led the Majors in runs scored in 1995 and 1997 and in doubles in 1998 and 1999.
  • In 1997, became the first player in baseball history not to hit into a single double play while playing an entire 162 game season.[14] Two players, Augie Galan (1935) and Dick McAuliffe (1968), had previously played an entire season with the same feat, but did not play in as many games in their respective seasons.
  • In 1997, scored 146 runs, which is the most of any National League player since the Phillies’ Chuck Klein scored 152 runs in 1932.
  • Tops the Astros’ career list in games played, at-bats, runs scored, hits, doubles and extra-base hits.
  • Holds the record for most regular season games played before his first World Series appearance with 2,564.
  • In 1998 he became the second player to have 50 stolen bases and 50 doubles in the same season. The only other player to accomplish this is Baseball Hall of Fame member Tris Speaker for the Boston Red Sox in 1912.
  • Holds the National League record for most lead-off home runs in a career with 53. He is third in MLB behind Alfonso Soriano and Rickey Henderson.
MLB debut
June 26, 1988 for the Houston Astros
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 2007 for the Houston Astros
Career statistics
Batting average .281
Hits 3,060
Home runs 291
Runs batted in 1,175
Stolen bases 414
Teams
Career highlights and awards

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