Craig Biggio Making Houston Proud

While this weekend is a special one for all four of Major League Baseball’s latest Hall of Fame inductees, Craig Biggio’s means a bit extra in Houston.

You wouldn’t know it, mainly because the media have been focusing on three of the greatest pitchers who dominated during and despite a time of unprecedented offensive production in the Major Leagues, but Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz are not the only ones being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend. Long-time Houston Astros’ catcher turned one of baseball’s all-time best second basemen, Craig Biggio, will also become a member of the Hall of Fame in 2015.

While this might not seem like a bigger deal than the three pitchers he will be being inducted with, it is. It’s a very big deal. It’s a special moment for the franchise, team, the city of Houston and Astros’ fans everywhere. Why? Craig Biggio will be the first player in the history of Houston baseball to enter the Hall donning an Astros’ cap on his plaque.

17 Aug 2008:  Craig Biggio speaks to a sell out crowd at  his jersey retirement ceremony at Minute Maid Park Aug. 17, 2008 in Houston, Tx. Biggio finished his career with 3,060 hits, 668 doubles, 291 home runs and 1,175 RBIs in 2,850 games and is the club's all-time leader in games played, at bats and runs scored. He is the ninth Astros to have his number retired.

You may wonder how could that be possible? A number of players who played for the Astros are already in the Hall of Fame such as Nolan Ryan, Don Sutton, Nellie Fox; heck even Biggio’s fellow inductee Randy Johnson played briefly for the Astros during his career.

The Hall of Fame – with input from the player – chooses the team logo each player will have on their plaque that marks their place in the Hall. Nolan Ryan wore a Texas Rangers’ cap on his plaque, and Johnson will be wearing an Arizona Diamondbacks’ logo on his.

So, Houton is pulling out all the stops for Biggio’s Hall of Fame weekend, both in Houston and in Cooperstown. According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick the team has chartered a plane to bring in their Biggio entourage, it’s that big.

He’s not kidding. It’s no wonder that the Astros are sending a large group, as fans are also heading to Cooperstown in droves. You can find pictures of fans’ adventures en route to the Hall of Fame prominently featured on the Astros website. This is a special moment for a team, a city, even a state that has just two Hall of Famers, including Biggio, and has never brought home a World Series Championship to its fans.

Biggio spent his entire 20-year career with Houston trying to make that happen. He and fellow Astros’ great Jeff Bagwell were the first to lead a team from Texas close to winning the coveted trophy in 2005, winning the National League Pennant and bringing the World Series to the state of Texas for the very first time (the Texas Rangers have since won two American League Pennants, but no Texas baseball team has ever been victorious in the World Series).

That 2005 team went on to be swept by the Chicago White Sox in the World Series and unfortunately, the Astros haven’t been any good since.

Back in Houston, the Astros are having a Hall of Fame weekend for their non-traveling fans as they take on the Diamondbacks. Friday’s game will feature fireworks and a Craig Biggio Hall of Fame Bobblehead. Saturday, they’ll celebrate Biggio with a replica number seven pinstripe jersey giveaway and Sunday, fans will receive a replica of the plaque that will immortalize Craig Biggio, of the Houston Astros, in the Hall.

30 September 2007 - Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio #7 acknowledges the crowd during a pre-game ceremony to celebrate his career with the Astros. Biggio is retiring after 20 seasons. The Houston Astros defeated the Atlanta Braves 3-0 to close out their season September 30, 2007 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.

It’s been a decade since that 2005 National League Pennant and even though Biggio had to wait through three agonizing winters on the ballot to finally be elected as an inductee, it’s actually quite fitting that it is this very season that he’ll get his turn.

The Astros have had their best start in ten years. Led by reigning batting champion Jose Altuve, this new young group of Houston Astros are well on their way to a spot in the 2015 postseason.

As things are finally seeming to fall into place for the team, it’s fitting that the first official Houston Astro will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Craig Biggio was a hero in Houston for 20 years. He may be being overshadowed in the national media by three amazing pitchers in his Hall of Fame class, but he has not been overshadowed in Houston or the state of Texas. Biggio is still, and will always be, a hero in the state of Texas and a legend in the city of Houston.

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