June 29, 2007


Biggio shares moment with Bagwell (Alyson Footer, 6/29/07, MLB.com)

As Jeff Bagwell raced from general manager Tim Purpura's booth down to the dugout Thursday night, he felt tears well up in his eyes.

Bagwell knew what 3,000 hits meant to Craig Biggio, having witnessed most of those in person as Biggio's partner in crime on the right side of the infield. Bagwell, who took a two-day hiatus from his golfing excursion in Colorado in order to be there for the big event, couldn't wait to get to the dugout to give his longtime friend and teammate a congratulatory wave, and perhaps a quick hug.

But Biggio, already in tears after being mobbed by his teammates and engulfed by hugs and kisses from his wife and three kids, had more in mind for Bagwell at this moment. Much, much more.

Biggio has never shaken the void he's felt ever since Bagwell left the game. He's never quite gotten over Bagwell's career ending the way it did. An argument could be made that Biggio took Bagwell's retirement harder than Bagwell himself.

On Thursday, Biggio knew just how to bring closure to a chapter left unfinished.

Biggio was determined to be on the field with Bagwell, one last time, even if it was in a symbolic manner. This gesture was as much for himself as for the fans who Biggio feels never had the opportunity to say the proper goodbye to the beloved first baseman.

Never mind that Bagwell wasn't in uniform, or that his crisp blue shirt and designer jeans didn't match Biggio's Astros attire. No one -- certainly none of the 42,537 screaming fans at Minute Maid Park -- could have predicted that Biggio would pull Bagwell onto the field to share the glory of the moment.

This night was about Biggio. But Biggio knows better than anyone that his legacy is firmly tied to Bagwell.

For Biggio, it's the names, not the numbers (Jayson Stark, 6/29/07, ESPN.com)
In case you hadn't noticed, only two other men in the history of this sport ever got 3,000 hits while spending most of their career at second base -- Eddie Collins and Nap Lajoie. Which means the last time a second base legend did anything like this, Calvin Coolidge was president.

So try to digest this for a moment. Craig Biggio has gotten more hits than Rogers Hornsby, more hits than Joe Morgan, more hits than Ryne Sandberg or Robbie Alomar or Red Schoendienst.

Pretty cool names.

And it's those names -- not the numbers -- that get Craig Biggio's attention.

The numbers -- they go flying by nightly, spinning like a slot machine, impossible to comprehend or take stock of. But the names? The names are tough to ignore.

"It's not a numbers thing for me," Biggio said last summer, during a conversation about all the lists he was climbing. "Oh, certain numbers will hit you. There's no doubt about that. But to me, if you don't appreciate the clientele you start finding yourself hanging with [on those lists], you're nuts.

"I passed Babe Ruth in doubles one time. Babe Ruth. That was unbelievable to me. And I passed Carl Yastrzemski. I'll never forget that one. You know, you're just out there playing. You're not even thinking about stuff like this. And then you find yourself thrown in with all these icons of the game, and it's a great feeling. So it's not the numbers, really. It's the names."

Yeah, it's the names, all right. They're the golden names of baseball. The best there ever was.

And now Craig Biggio is one of them.

Questioning his Hall of Fame credentials--as ESPN Radio was this morning--is just moronic. Bagwell deserves it too. Together they may have been the best right side of the infield longer than any two teammates ever.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 29, 2007 9:18 AM

If they played in NY and not Houston, writers would want to change the rules to put them in sooner. That's okay -- people who know baseball know how good they were, even if they really kind of spoiled us locally.

Posted by: Kevin Whited at June 29, 2007 9:48 AM

Bagwell's an obvious massive steroid abuser. I vividly recall a picture SI ran of him & Giambi from spring training several years back where each was half the man from the year before.

Posted by: b at June 29, 2007 10:59 AM

I also heard Eric "the idiot" Casillies this morning question whether Biggio gets in to the HOF and Buster Olney promptly stated how stupid it is to question Biggio's credentials. The tied it to Frank Thomas' 500 hr. I do agree that 500 hrs isn't as important as it used to be but 3000 hits is downright amazing (only 27 players have done it).

Later they were talking about those stupid ESPY awards and Eric C. was actually trying to make the case that Michelle Wei and Danica Patrick deserved some type of recognition for female athletes of the year or some such nonsense. Sure, comparing the Baseball HOF and some meaningless sports television station award is like comparing apples to F-18's; however, theser guys on sports radio are just pulling stuff out of their nether-regions. Wie and Patrick are total creatures of the ESPN hype machine.

On the Colin Cowherd show some other ESPN flunky also tried to make the case that Biggio 3000 hits ain't a big deal regarding entering the HOF.

What does it take to get a job at ESPN?

By the way, I would have killed to have been at that Astos game last night: (1) Biggio goes 5 for 6 and gets to 3000 (2) with the Astos one run down in the bottom of the 11th inning, Carlos Lee hits a grand slam in extra innings to win the game (3) Biggio scores the winning run. That is Roy Hobbs stuff.

Posted by: pchuck at June 29, 2007 11:03 AM

...and Don Mattingly deserves to be in the HOF too.

Posted by: Bartman at June 30, 2007 7:12 AM

He was great too briefly.

Posted by: oj at June 30, 2007 8:04 AM