Posted at 8:57 PM on June 26, 2007
by Chris Dall
There are a number of baseball milestones being approached and passed as we near the season's midpoint. We all know and have our own opinions about Barry Bonds closing in on the all-time home-run record. Then there's Sammy Sosa recently passing the 600 home-run mark, Ken Griffey Jr. hitting his 584th home run to pass Mark McGwire, and Frank Thomas closing in on 500. Perhaps it's because the gigantic shadow Bonds has cast over the home run record, and perhaps its because the steroid controversy has diminished the significance of career home-run numbers, but no one seems too excited about any of these achievements.
But down in Houston, Craig Biggio is nearing a milestone that seems to have remained unscathed--the 3,000 hit mark. For me, the 3,000 hit mark conjures up images of guys like Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, George Brett, and Tony Gwynn, professional hitters who plied their trade with class and were models of sportsmanship. (Yes, the mark also conjures up figures like Pete Rose, but that's beside the point.)
I don't know if I'd put Biggio in the same category as Molitor, Yount, Brett, and Gywnn, but he's a guy who's quietly put together a Hall of Fame career over 20 seasons, with a career average of .282 and an on-base percentage of .365. At his peak (1994-1999), he consistently hit around .300 with an obp that hovered around .400. He won four gold gloves as a 2nd baseman, but also played centerfield, left field, and spent time behind the plate. He was a key member of a Houston Astros team that regularly made the playoffs.
So here's to Craig Biggio passing the 3,000 hit mark. It's too bad more people aren't noticing.
Corrected on 6/27/2007 at 8:40am.