Earlier this spring we ran a tournament to see who the greatest Astro of all time is. The people have spoken and the honor belongs to Craig Biggio. He only had votes cast against him in two rounds (Roy Oswalt Elite 8, Jeff Bagwell Final 4), cruising to victory.
The victory is not unwarranted. Biggio combines the love of Astros fans who remember the distant past as well as the early memories of younger fans. The victory also transitions us to a new series of articles about various Astros from the past call Know Your Stro. Some will be about players we are all very familiar with, like Biggio. Some will feature lesser-known players who had big impacts or were well-loved. Our hope is that we will all have fun exploring heroes past and maybe learn something new about the men who built the franchise.
Know Your Stro: Craig Biggio
Craig Alan Biggio was born December 14th, 1965 in Smithtown NY. He became a two sports star at Long Islands Kings Park Highschool excelling at both football and baseball. Biggio has said that football was his first love, but that his classroom performance hindered his big-time program scholarship potential.
Fortunately for him, several MLB teams were already interested in drafting him. His high school coach says they would move him around the field to match the needs of the scouts attending. No doubt a practice that would serve him later in his career.
From there it was on to Seton Hall and a partial baseball scholarship. Both he and his mother felt getting an education would be the best path. One that Biggio credits with his making it in the big leagues, saying he was not mature enough to handle it as an 18-year-old.
After spending three years as a standout catcher at Seton Hall, Craig Biggio was drafted 22nd overall by the Astros in the 1987 draft. 141 games over parts of two seasons was all he needed to be major league ready.
When Biggio started his first full season in 1989 he had the catchers position locked up for the club. In that first full season, he made his presence known by earning his first of 5 Silver Slugger awards. Biggio would soon be joined by Hall of Fame teammate and friend Jeff Bagwell. Together they formed the core of the “Killer B’s” that would be a fixture of the franchise for a decade. It was on some of these early 90’s teams that Biggio says he made some of his favorite memories and most fun times.
However, it was in the 2000’s that Craig Biggio made his greatest achievements as an Astro. In 2005 Biggio and company finally made it to the World Series. Sadly, the good guys were swept in 4 games by the White Sox. The 2005 will always be remembered as the first team from Texas to make it to the Series despite the crushing defeat.
The biggest moment of his career came on June 28, 2007. In the bottom of the 7th, on his third hit of a 5 hit night, Craig Biggio became the 27th player to reach 3000 career hits. The prestigious milestone all but guaranteed Biggio’s trip to Cooperstown. Biggio made comments in the media about not wanting a big deal made out of it when he reached the feat. He must have thought that being on second base would stop his teammates from coming out to congratulate him. However, his attempts to stretch a single into a double put him out at second and the mob scene ensued.
Biggio retired at the end of the 2007 season. He left the game with .281/.433/.363 slash as well as the club record in over a dozen categories. Some of those being at-bats (10876), hits (3060), doubles (668), hit by pitch (285), and Baseball-Reference offensive WAR (76.2).
Any discussion about the career and life of Craig Biggio is incomplete without mentioning the Sunshine Kids. The Sunshine Kids were founded in 1982 to help bring joy and some fun to the lives of kids battling cancer. Biggio found them early in his career and immediately decided to help. He continues to work with the organization through fundraising and sponsoring outings for the kids. Biggio became known for putting the Sunshine Kids star logo pin on his hat as soon as games were over. The club honored that tradition by adding it to his retired number banner. If you would like to donate to the Sunshine Kids, click here.
Hall of Famer Craig Biggio & his wife Patty host their annual party for the Sunshine Kids and their families at Minute Maid Park pic.twitter.com/retS5dVtNM— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) October 26, 2016
It will be fun to continue to watch Craig Biggio’s continued involvement with both the club and the city of Houston in the future. Join us again for our next Know Your Stro here at Crush City Station.