We have a lot of Cooperstown Dreams Park teams staying with us. What wonderful role models are the 2015 slate of inductees to the HOF. This is the first of four profiles of this year’s winners for our younger readers, parents, coaches, loved ones, and onlookers.
See that little yellow sun pin on that Astros cap?
See that Jim Carey smile?
Don’t let it fool you. This guy was all business, and the very definition of ‘team player’, whether it was:
*as a high school linebacker who took a sudden
swing toward baseball to earn that college diploma;
*as a 20-year Houston Astro who switched three
positions but never left the franchise, or
*as a $2 million dollar fundraiser for sick kids.
No wonder Yogi Berra mentioned him in his book,
“You Can Learn A Lot by Watching.”
Career highlights of 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Craig Biggio include:
*7 time MLB All-Star;
*4 time Gold Glove Award Winner;
*5 time Silver Slugger Award Winner;
*9th 3,000 hit club member (3060 career hits) with same team, and
*Holder of modern record for most times hit by a pitch (285).
About that last data nugget: he scored 95 runs after being hit by a pitch—a
35% success rate. AND, He never charged the mound.
In fact, he sent the National Baseball Hall of Fame an arm guard in
recognition of his ‘hit at bat’ record. The late great satirical newspaper
The Onion addressed the situation with an article headlined: “Craig Biggio
Blames Media Pressure for Stalling at 285 Hit-By-Pitches.”
He personified the current meme of “Keep Calm and Carry On” off the
field as well. Here are some of the awards won for his public service:
*2007 Roberto Clemente Award (Sportsmanship, Community Involvement);
*2005 Hutch Award (“persevering through adversity”),
*2004 Sporting News “Good Guys” award, and
*1997 Branch Rickey Award (Community service, named for manager who
broke baseball’s color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson)
The 2007 spring training edict by MLB sought to ban Biggio from
wearing the Sunshine Kids Foundation pin on his ball cap durimg interviews,
photo shoots, or spring training. Houston fans were well familiar with how
the organization supports children fighting cancer by providing exciting
activities for them. They also knew Biggio had recently helped the group
surpass the $2 million dollar mark of fund-raising.
MLB relented, and Biggio, ever the peacemaker, helped them save face.
“I think it’s probably just more of a misunderstanding than anything,” Biggio
said. “I think when they realized what it’s all about and realized I’ve been
doing it for 20 years and it’s all about the kids, now we’re back to doing
our normal thing, which is nice because all the kids are happy.”
Biggio and his wife Patty have three children. Craig coaches
baseball at St. Thomas High School in Houston, Texas. In 2010 and 2011 his
team won the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) state
baseball titles for class 5 A schools. Asked about his coaching philosophy
he told the Houston Chronicle, “…win or lose we’re trying to turn these
kids into men. That’s the thing that’s important to me.”
Craig Biggio’s retirement game in 2007 is still remembered for
creating a happy new memory for Minute Maid Park (formerly known as
Enron Field). Standing ovations when he left the field the last time at both
offense and defense marked the last time his number, 7. was worn before
becoming one of 4 retired by the Astros club.
Houston fans and others will perhaps find it hard to look at #7
without Biggio’s beloved U-2 music that often accompanied him at bat.
“Mysterious Ways” indeed.