Former Houston Astro Craig Biggio was elected to the 2015 Class of the Baseball Hall of Fame on his third year of eligibility.
Having missed out on being inducted last year by two votes, Biggio made his third time on the ballot truly a charm.
Joining Biggio in the Hall’s first four person induction class in 60 years are pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz who each were elected on their first year of eligibility.
The selection of Johnson, Martinez, and Smoltz marks the first time that a trio of pitchers was inducted in the same Hall of Fame class.
Failing to make the cut this year were a pair of Biggio’s former teammates, Jeff Bagwell and Roger Clemens.
Biggio received 82.7 percent of the votes (549 ballots cast). Johnson received 97.3 percent, Martinez 97.1 percent and Smoltz received 82.9 percent.
While each of the three pitchers elected to the Hall played on multiple teams during their careers, Biggio spent all of his 20-year Major League Baseball career from 1988 until 2007 with the Houston Astros.
Biggio is the 49th Hall of Famer to have played his entire career with one organization.
The seven-time All-Star will become the first player enshrined in an Astros cap when the induction ceremony is held on July 26, 2015 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
It is fitting that the Astros first Hall of Famer was born the same year that the team took on the Astros name since perhaps no other player has been so widely associated with the Astros brand as Biggio.
There are of course other players in the Hall of Fame who have played for the Astros during a portion of their career, including Nolan Ryan, whose last year with the Astros was Biggio’s first season with the team, but each of those players were inducted wearing another team cap on their Hall of Fame bust since the bulk of their success occurred on teams other than the Astros.
In fact, fellow 2015 inductee Randy Johnson also briefly played for the Astros as a teammate to Biggio but he will not be enshrined wearing an Astros cap and will most likely have an Arizona Diamondbacks cap on his bronze statue since he won the only World Series title of his career in the desert.
Biggio was an Astro to the core and is often mentioned by fans as their ideal manager candidate to lead the team back to the glory days that seemed to disappear right around the same time that Biggio retired.
Whether he was playing catcher, outfield, or second base one consistent component of Biggio’s game was his performance at the plate.
As a member of the exclusive 3,000 hits club, Biggio finished his career with 3,060 hits to become one of only 28 players to have at least 3,000-hits. Biggio is fifth all-time in doubles and first among righthanded hitters with 668.
Whenever Biggio would come to the plate, the entire Ballpark would chant B-G-O in unison.
In true remember the glory days fashion, the Astros will honor Biggio with a public celebration at Minute Maid Park on Friday at 5 p.m. and it is likely that the B-G-O chant will once again echo through the rafters as fans pay their respects to a player who gave his all whenever he stepped onto the field.
The Astros will also offer fans a seven-game ticket plan centered on games where Biggio will be honored this season.
No word yet on whether those seven games will fall under the umbrella of dynamic pricing, or if they will be made affordable for the every day fan.
As the Astros continue to rebuild and move forward, there will no doubt be many moments this upcoming season where they look back at what was during the Biggio years.
There were certainly many memories generated during those two decades with the Astros.
I started following the Astros towards the tail end of his career but even in that short time Biggio became on of my favorite players and reminded me of a player I grew up following, Cal Ripken, Jr. Like Biggio, Ripken also played the game the right way while spending his entire career with the same team.
In this era of free agency and trading for prospects, it is entirely likely that Biggio will be the last member of the Astros to spend 20 years with the team.
Such are the economics of baseball where teams trade away their players in the same way that children used to trade baseball cards with their friends.
But once in awhile a team will stick with a proven commodity and the results can truly be Hall of Fame worthy.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to dust off my Biggio shirt for one more trip to the Ballpark.
Copyright 2015 R. Anderson