What the hell did Craig Biggio do to anyone? Did he murder someone? Did he kidnap the family of a baseball writer and then rape and torture them on a webcam for the world to see? All Craig Biggio did for 20 years is show up at his job and do it at a level we should all aspire to. He got on base more times than all of 17 players in the history of the game. He scored more runs than everyone but 14 players. He's 5th all time in doubles - do you know who else in in that top ten? Tris Speaker, Pete Rose, Stan Musial, Ty Cobb, George Brett, Napoleon Lajoie, Carl Yastrzemski, Honus Wagner, and Hank Aaron. Maybe doubles aren't as sexy and home runs, but that is one hell of a list to be on. He played catcher, second base, and center field. Do you know how many other players have ever been regulars at those three positions in their careers? None. That's right, he played three of the four "up the middle" positions for entire seasons at a time. I could go on and on, but just look at his numbers yourself, go on, I'll wait.
Do you know what list you will not find Craig Biggio on? Any list that includes steroid users or rumored steroid users. Now, I am not a Houston Astros fan so I didn't follow his career every day, but I followed baseball pretty damn close for his entire tenure in the majors and never once did I hear even whispers. I have seen several versions of the infamous Mitchell Report - mostly conjecture and nothing based on actual fact (because no one has ever seen it outside of the MLB offices) - and he's never on it. A lot of rumors surround longtime teammate Jeff Bagwell so I guess he is guilty because he sat in the same dugout and clubhouse? Rumors suddenly are contagious? Perhaps Craig Biggio injected Ken Caminiti with the PEDs that won him the 1996 MVP and eventually led to his death? Does the BBWAA have these incriminating photos circulating amongst themselves and they refuse to share them with the laymen fan? I am still trying to piece all this together because the facts by themselves make little to no sense whatsoever.
My eyes were opened to Craig Biggio, like a lot of fans, after reading Bill James' New Historical Abstract in 2001. In it, he listed Biggio as the 35th best player of all time. OF ALL TIME. Now, lord knows James has been guilty of some hyperbole in his time, but he often uses it to make a point. If you have never read the passage, I suggest you do. Once again, I'll wait. Click here if you can't read that link.
So Craig Biggio, who is comparable to first ballot Hall of Famers Robin Yount, Joe Morgan, Paul Molitor, Cal Ripken, and Brooks Robinson (and shoe-in Derek Jeter), has to wait until next year, his third on the ballot, because of second hand hearsay and unelected baseball writers who have decided to be judge and jury to a situation that they admit to not understanding. I want to know where the spike in Craig Biggio's stats are? Where is his 50 home run season? Where is his 30 pound weight gain with backne? And as usual, where is his failed drug test? The player I would compare him to is Charlie Gehringer, who they incidentally called The Mechanical Man. Craig Biggio has the indignity of being a wonderful baseball player who was amazingly consistent who happened to play at the same time when some players used steroids. The baseball writers hate players who are "merely" consistent and obviously have shown their aversion to PEDs and somehow, poor Craig Biggio has fallen through these two nasty cracks at once. I hope when he is finally elected next year, his acceptance speech is simply him reading the names of the writers who didn't vote for him the last two years and then a gypsy curse to befoul all their houses.