Craig Biggio

Craig Alan Biggio (/ˈbɪdʒioʊ/; born December 14, 1965) is an American former second baseman, outfielder and catcher in Major League Baseball who played his entire career from 1988 through 2007 for the Houston Astros. A seven-time National League (NL) All-Star often regarded as the greatest all-around player in Astros history, he is the only player ever to be named an All-Star at both catcher and second base. With longtime teammates Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman, he formed the core of the "Killer B's" who led Houston to six playoff appearances from 1997 to 2005, culminating in the franchise's first World Series appearance in 2005. At the end of his career he ranked sixth in NL history in games played (2,850), fifth in at bats (10,876), twenty-first in hits (3,060), and seventh in runs scored (1,844). His 668 career doubles ranked fifth in major league history, and are the most ever by a right-handed hitter; his 56 doubles in 1999 were the most in the major leagues in 63 years.

Biggio, who batted .300 four times and scored 100 runs eight times, holds Astros franchise records for most career games, at bats, hits, runs scored, doubles, total bases (4,711) and extra base hits (1,014), and ranks second in runs batted in (1,175), walks (1,160) and stolen bases (414). He also holds the NL record for most times leading off a game with a home run (53), and is one of only five players with 250 home runs and 400 steals. A four-time Gold Glove Award winner who led NL second basemen in assists six times and putouts five times, he retired ranking fourth in NL history in games at second base (1,989), sixth in assists (5,448) and fielding percentage (.984), seventh in putouts (3,992) and double plays (1,153), and eighth in total chances (9,596). He was the ninth player in the 3,000 hit club to collect all his hits with one team. Biggio also led the NL in times hit by pitch five times, with his career total of 285 trailing only Hughie Jennings' 287 in major league history.

One of the most admired players of his generation, Biggio received the 2005 Hutch Award for perseverance through adversity and the 2007 Roberto Clemente Award for sportsmanship and community service. The Astros retired the number 7 in his honor the year following his retirement. Since 2008, Biggio has served as special assistant to the general manager of the Astros. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015,[1] and is the first member of the Hall to be depicted in an Astros uniform on his plaque.

Craig Biggio
Craig Biggio HOF
Biggio speaking at the 2015 National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony
Second baseman / Catcher
Born: December 14, 1965 (age 53)
Smithtown, New York
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 26, 1988, for the Houston Astros
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 2007, for the Houston Astros
MLB statistics
Batting average.281
Hits3,060
Home runs291
Runs batted in1,175
Stolen bases414
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction2015
Vote82.7% (third ballot)

Early life

High school

Craig Biggio graduated from Kings Park High School in Kings Park, New York, where he excelled as a multi-sport varsity athlete. Most notably, after the 1983 season Biggio was awarded the Hansen Award, which recognized him as being the best football player in Suffolk County.[2] However, Biggio's passion lay with baseball, such that he turned down football scholarships for the opportunity to play baseball for Seton Hall University.

College career

Although Biggio was an infielder, Seton Hall coach Mike Sheppard switched him to catcher because the team was in need of one. Biggio was an All-American baseball player at Seton Hall, where he played with other future Major League Baseball stars Mo Vaughn and John Valentin. Biggio, Vaughn and Valentin, along with Marteese Robinson, were featured in the book The Hit Men and the Kid Who Batted Ninth by David Siroty, which chronicled their rise from college teammates to the major leagues. Biggio was selected by the Houston Astros in the first round (22nd overall) of the 1987 draft. Biggio remains Seton Hall's leader in triples, second in runs scored, and is in the top ten in eighteen other single-season and career categories. In 1996, Biggio was inducted into the Seton Hall Hall of Fame and had his number 44 retired in 2012.[3]

Major league career

Early career: Conversion from catcher to second base

As catcher

Craig-biggio catcher cincinnati 10-03-1990
Biggio playing catcher in 1990

Biggio was called up as a catcher midway through the 1988 season, having batted .344 in his minor league career. In 1989, his first full season, Biggio became the Astros' starting catcher. He won the Silver Slugger Award in 1989. He was a very speedy runner, and an adept base stealer. Astros' management, in an attempt to keep the rigors of catching from sapping Biggio's speed, tried him in the outfield part-time in 1990, as he had played 18 games there in the minors. Yogi Berra mentioned Biggio's height in his book You Can Observe A Lot By Watching, saying, "I always identified with short catchers – they don't have to stand up as far".[4]

Emergence of the "Killer B's"

The Astros acquired first baseman Jeff Bagwell prior to the start of the 1991 season, who, like Biggio, spent his entire major league career with Houston. A power hitter with higher-than-normal on-base skills, Bagwell played 15 seasons, thus completely overlapping his career with Biggio's and wound up Houston's career leader in home runs. The pair came to be known as the "Killer B's", synonymous with the Astros throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s. A prodigious offensive and defensive unit, during their 10 peak seasons from 1994–2003, they appeared in nine All-Star Games, won five Gold Gloves, ranked in the top five of the Most Valuable Player Award voting five times and averaged 226 runs scored. They totaled 689 home runs, 2,485 RBI and 3,083 runs scored while the Astros advanced to the postseason six times.[5] Other players that the Astros later acquired whose names started with the letter B also were included in this distinction, including Derek Bell, Sean Berry, Lance Berkman,[6] and Carlos Beltrán.[7]

Shift to second base

Craig Biggio
Biggio with the Houston Astros

The Astros finally convinced Biggio to convert to second base in spring training 1992, even though Biggio had made the National League All-Star team as a catcher the year before. Biggio made the All-Star team for the second time in 1992, becoming the first player in the history of baseball to be an All-Star at both catcher and second base. It is remarkably rare for a major league catcher to make a successful transition to middle infielder. If a catcher changes positions, it is usually to first base, or occasionally to outfield or third base.

Biggio became known as a reliable, hustling, consistent leadoff hitter, with unusual power for a second baseman. He holds the National League record for most home runs to lead off a game, with fifty three. His statistics reflect this, having consistently good marks in hitting, on-base percentage, hit-by-pitch, runs, stolen bases, and doubles throughout his career. Biggio was also known for intentionally keeping his batting helmet dirty.

Career setbacks: Injury and the outfield

Biggio played 1,800 games without a trip to the disabled list until August 1, 2000, when he suffered a season-ending knee injury. In the play in which Biggio was injured, the Florida Marlins' Preston Wilson (who would later become Biggio's teammate) slid into second base, trying to stop a double play, and hit Biggio's planted left leg, tearing the ACL and MCL in Biggio's knee. Biggio rebounded with a good season in 2001, but had a lackluster performance in 2002, with only a .253 average, his lowest since entering the league; a highlight occurred on April 8, when he hit for the cycle for the only time in his career.

However, he improved slightly for the 2003 season, averaging .264 with 166 hits despite being asked by management to move to center field after the signing of free agent All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent. In 2004, he put up numbers more typical for his career, batting .281 with 178 hits, including a career high 24 homers. Biggio moved to yet another new position, left field, midway through the 2004 season to accommodate Beltrán, who was acquired in a trade to help bolster the Astros' struggling offense.

Late career: Return to second base and milestones

World Series appearance (2005)

In February, 2005, Biggio and Bagwell were jointly inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.[8] Biggio resumed playing at second base after Kent left for the Dodgers and set a new career high with 26 home runs. He also reached 1,000 RBI, becoming the second Astro to do so, following Bagwell.

After having played 4,714 games and their entire major league careers together in Houston, Biggio and Bagwell appeared in their first World Series in 2005[9] against the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox swept the Astros to secure the championship[10] with the lowest run-scoring differential in World Series history.[11] Both Biggio and Bagwell received Baseball America's Lifetime Achievement Award after the 2005 season.[12]

On May 23, 2006, Biggio became the 23rd player in MLB history to reach 10,000 at-bats.

3,000 career hits (2007)

Biggio.hit.counter
Biggio's hit counter, prior to the start of the 2007 season.

On June 28, 2007, Biggio became the 27th player in the history of Major League Baseball to join the 3,000 hit club, with a single against Colorado Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook. Though Biggio was tagged out on the play attempting to stretch it into a double, drawing the throw allowed a run to score. The game action paused while Biggio shared the moment with his wife and children. Longtime friend and former teammate Jeff Bagwell emerged from the Astros clubhouse to congratulate him. Biggio became the first player in Astros history to accumulate 3,000 hits. It was Biggio's third hit of the game, and he went on to accumulate two more later in the game, one in the ninth inning and one in the eleventh inning. Biggio's 3,000 hit came on the same day that Frank Thomas hit his milestone 500th career home run, both marks which are considered to guarantee one's induction into the Hall of Fame.

In anticipation of Biggio's reaching 3,000 hits, the Astros installed a digital counter just left of center field displaying his current hit total.

With 668 doubles, he ended his career in fifth place on the all-time list. Biggio also holds the record for the most doubles by a right-handed hitter. He is the only player in the history of baseball with 3000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases, and 250 home runs. He ranks 20th on the all-time hits list, though of those 20 players he ranks 19th in career batting average.

Biggio fell nine home runs short of joining the career 300–300 club (300 homers and 300 stolen bases). He would have become only the seventh player to achieve the feat. Incidentally, this also caused him to fall short of the 3,000 hits, 300 homers and 300 stolen bases mark; he would have been only the second player in history to reach that club, the other being Willie Mays.

Retirement

Two of the Killer B's
Jeff Bagwell (left) and Craig Biggio (right).

On July 24, 2007, Biggio announced his retirement, effective at the end of the season (his 20th season with the club, a franchise record). Hours later, with the Astros locked in a 3–3 tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Biggio hit a grand slam in the 6th inning. The Astros went on to win the game 7–4.

In the penultimate game of his career, Biggio started as a catcher and caught 2 innings for the Astros. He also hit a double in his first at-bat of the game.[13]

A sellout, record-breaking crowd packed Minute Maid Park on September 30, 2007, to witness Biggio's final game. He recorded his final career hit, a double in the first inning, and scored his final career run that same inning. In his final career at-bat, he grounded the ball to third baseman Chipper Jones, who threw out the hustling Biggio by half a step. He left the field to a standing ovation from the fans, and when he was replaced defensively in the top of the 8th inning he shook hands with umpires and teammates and left to another standing ovation as he waved to the fans. The Astros won the game 3–0.

Biggio finished his career with 3,060 career hits, 668 doubles, 291 home runs, 1175 RBI, 414 stolen bases, and a .281 batting average.

Post-retirement

Craig Biggio has been a special assistant to the general manager since 2008. In his current role, Craig works in several areas, including with the baseball operations staff in its Major and minor league player development programs with special emphasis on instruction, the amateur draft and scouting, and Major and minor league talent evaluation. Craig was involved in the selection of new Astros Manager Bo Porter in 2012. Additionally, Craig participates in the club's community development program. Houston Astros Executives Webpage

Hit by pitch

Over his career, Biggio gained a reputation for being hit by pitches; some observers criticized him due to the fact that many of the pitches hit him on his sizable elbow pad. Some have even gone so far as to proclaim him the "king of hit batsmen."[14] On June 29, 2005, Biggio broke the modern-era career hit-by-pitch record, previously held by Don Baylor with 267. He is second to only Hughie Jennings on the all-time list with 287. Despite being hit by a record number of pitches, Biggio never charged the mound,[15] and had no serious injuries as a result of being hit by a pitch.

In his final season, however, Biggio was only hit three times. He was hit fewer times total between 2006 and 2007 (9 times in 2006, total of 12) than he was in 10 of his previous 11 individual seasons. In August 2007, the satirical online newspaper The Onion referenced this in the article "Craig Biggio Blames Media Pressure For Stalling at 285 Hit-By-Pitches".[16] Biggio sent an arm guard to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in recognition of his high hit-by-pitch total.

Number retirement

AstrosRet 7
Craig Biggio's number 7 was retired by the Houston Astros in 2008.
Craig Biggio Retired Number 7 at Minute Maid Park
Craig Biggio's retired number 7 at Minute Maid Park

On May 23, 2008, during a pre-game ceremony, Biggio received an award for MLB.com's This Year in Baseball 2007 Moment of the Year award for his 3,000th hit. On June 28, the Astros announced that they would retire Craig Biggio's jersey.[17] The Houston Astros retired his No. 7 jersey on August 17, 2008, prior to the start of a game versus the Arizona Diamondbacks. Biggio was the ninth player in Astros history to have his number retired.

Hall of Fame candidacy

Biggio first appeared on the writers' ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013, the earliest possible year of consideration. He led all Hall of Fame vote-getters by being named on 68.2% of ballots cast, however this was still 39 votes shy of reaching the 75% threshold that is required by the BBWAA for induction. The following year he once again failed to garner enough votes to be inducted, finishing two votes shy with a voting percentage of 74.8%. This ties him with Nellie Fox (1985) and Pie Traynor (1947) for smallest margin not to get into the Hall.[18]

On January 6, 2015, Biggio was rewarded for his career by being elected to the Hall of Fame. He received 82.7% of the votes and was inducted into the hall on July 26, 2015.[1]

Work in the community

Biggio has received awards from various organizations, including the Hutch Award (2005) and being named one of Sporting News' Good Guys (2004). The Hutch Award is given to a player that shows competitiveness and never gives up. Part of the reason Biggio was given the award was for his multiple position changes, but also because of his work in the community and inspiring other teammates to participate as well. He also received the Roberto Clemente Award in 2007. The Roberto Clemente Award "recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team."[19]

Biggio has been a supporter and lead spokesperson for the Sunshine Kids Foundation for over a decade and almost the entirety of his playing career. The organization supports children fighting cancer with exciting activities for themselves and their families. Biggio helps the organization by raising awareness of the organization by wearing a small yellow sun on his cap for interviews, batting practice, and spring training games and by holding a celebrity golf tournament in Houston each spring. Biggio hosts an annual party at Minute Maid Park for about 100 Sunshine Kids to play baseball with Biggio and some of his teammates.

With the 2006 annual golf tournament, Biggio has raised over $2 million for the organization. During 2007 spring training, MLB informed Biggio that he would no longer be allowed to wear the small yellow sun on his cap during interviews, photo shoots, or spring training. Biggio had worn the Sunshine Kids pin for over a decade. This edict was big news in Houston, and Houstonians, long known for their charitable nature and unconditional love of Biggio, reacted very negatively to MLB. After the public uproar, MLB relented and Biggio was allowed to wear the Sunshine Kids pin as he had done since becoming a spokesperson.[20]

Personal life

Craig Biggio signs autographs in Houston June 2014
Biggio signs autographs at a Houston sports collectors show in 2014.

Biggio and his wife, the former Patty Egan, have three children: Conor, Cavan (currently playing for the Toronto Blue Jays), and Quinn. They currently live in Houston. For several years Biggio was the head varsity baseball coach at St. Thomas High School.[21] Biggio coached St. Thomas to back-to-back Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) Class 5A state baseball titles in 2010 and 2011.

Both of Biggio's sons played for the St. Thomas baseball team. Cavan hit a home run in the team's 2011 championship game, while older brother Conor provided the winning offense in St. Thomas' semi-final victory.[22] In Summer 2012, Conor played left field for the North Adams SteepleCats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League; in Summer 2013, he played outfield and second base for the North Shore Navigators of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. When asked by the Houston Chronicle about the success, the elder Biggio replied

I don't get too caught up in that...it's not about me it's about these kids, and win or lose we're trying to turn these kids into men. That's the thing that's most important to me.

Biggio and his family had a home in Spring Lake, New Jersey that they named "Home Plate".[23] Biggio's father-in-law is Assemblyman Joseph V. Egan, a member of the New Jersey legislature.[24]

Many baseball players, such as Whitey Ford, Ken Griffey Jr., Steve Carlton, and Barry Bonds, bat and throw left-handed while writing right-handed. Biggio is one of the rare examples of a baseball player, like Brooks Robinson, and Dale Murphy, who bats and throws right-handed but writes left-handed.

Awards and highlights

Recognition

Honors received
Title Date Ref
Baseball America Lifetime Achievement Award 2005 [12]
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum inductee 2015 [1]
Texas Baseball Hall of Fame inductee 2005
Texas Sports Hall of Fame inductee 2005 [8]
Awards received
Name of award Times Dates Ref
Baseball America National League All-Star at second base 2 1994, 1998
Branch Rickey Award 1 1997
Heart & Hustle Award 2 2007, 2008
Houston Astros Most Valuable Player 1 1998
Hutch Award 1 2005
Major League Baseball All-Star
at catcher 1 1991
at second base 6 1992, 19941998
Rawlings Gold Glove Award at second base 4 1994–1997
Roberto Clemente Award 1 2007
Silver Slugger Award
at catcher 1 1989
at second base 4 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998

Annual statistical achievements

Notes: Per Baseball-Reference.com. †– led Major Leagues.

National League annual statistical leader
Category Times Dates
Doubles leader 3 1994, 1998, 1999
Games played leader 3 1992, 1996, 1997
Hit by pitch leader 5 19951997, 2001, 2003
Plate appearance leader 5 1992, 1995, 1997–1999
Runs scored leader 2 1995, 1997
Stolen base leader 1 1994
Times on base leader 1 1997

Other distinctions

  • National League record for most career lead-off home runs in a career with 53, third in MLB behind Alfonso Soriano and Rickey Henderson
  • Second player with 50 stolen bases and 50 doubles in same season (1998). The only other player to accomplish this is Baseball Hall of Fame member Tris Speaker for the Boston Red Sox in 1912
  • First player in baseball history not to hit into a single double play while playing an entire 162 game season (1997)[25] Two players, Augie Galan (1935) and Dick McAuliffe (1968), had previously played an entire season with the same feat, but did not play in as many games in their respective seasons.
  • 146 runs scored in 1997 was most of any National League player since the Phillies' Chuck Klein scored 152 in 1932
  • Hit for the cycle against the Colorado Rockies, the sixth in Astros history (April 8, 2002)
  • Tops the Astros' career list in games played, at-bats, runs scored, hits, doubles and extra-base hits.
  • Holds the record for most regular season games played before his first World Series appearance with 2,564

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Baseball Hall of Fame: Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz, Biggio elected". CBSSports. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  2. ^ "Major League Baseball – Newsday – Baseball News, Notes, Results and more from MLB". Newsday. Retrieved March 12, 2011.
  3. ^ The Star Ledger. July 26, 2015. p. C6.
  4. ^ Berra, Yogi (2008). You Can Observe A Lot By Watching: What I've Learned About Teamwork From the Yankees and Life. Wiley. p. 155. ISBN 0470079924.
  5. ^ Cohen, Robert W. (2012). The 50 Most Dynamic Duos in Sports History: Baseball, Basketball, Football, and Hockey. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810885565.
  6. ^ de Jesús Ortíz, José (January 29, 2014). "Astros great Berkman retiring after 15-year career". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  7. ^ Shea, John (July 4, 2004). "Astros on shaky ground: Clemens, solid lineup haven't sent them atop NL Central". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Footer, Alyson (February 10, 2005). "Veterans inducted into Texas Sports Hall of Fame". houston.astros.mlb.com. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  9. ^ Vecsey, George (October 22, 2005). "Joy and pain for 3 veterans in first Series". The New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  10. ^ Kamka, Chris (April 12, 2015). "Thomas, Bagwell share 2005 World Series connection". Comcast SportsNet Chicago. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  11. ^ Rogers, Phil (October 28, 2015). "10 years ago, White Sox had historic run". MLB.com. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  12. ^ a b McTaggart, Brian (December 7, 2005). "Lifetime Achievement Award: Biggio and Bagwell". Baseball America. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  13. ^ Alyson Footer (September 29, 2007). "Astros even series with Braves | astros.com: News". Houston.astros.mlb.com. Retrieved March 12, 2011.
  14. ^ Berardino, Mike "Craig Biggio—king of hit batsmen". Baseball Digest, September 2005.
  15. ^ Carpenter, Les "Bruised and Battered, Biggio Nears Record". The Washington Post, June 15, 2005.
  16. ^ "Craig Biggio Blames Media Pressure For Stalling At 285 Hit-By-Pitches | The Onion – America's Finest News Source". The Onion. Archived from the original on February 19, 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "Astros to retire Biggio's jersey Aug. 17", Krysten Oliphant, MLB.com, May 23, 2008.
  18. ^ "Maddux, Glavine, Thomas to HOF". ESPN. Associated Press. January 8, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
  19. ^ Footer, Alyson (October 27, 2007). "Biggio receives Clemente Award". astros.com. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  20. ^ McTaggart, Brian, "Biggio's pin approved by MLB", Houston Chronicle, March 30, 2007
  21. ^ Mctaggart, Brian (May 19, 2008). "Biggio to become head baseball and assistant football coach at St. Thomas High School (Houston, Texas)|St. Thomas". Chron.com. Retrieved March 12, 2011.
  22. ^ "Craig Biggio leads team to two straight state titles". Rivals.com. May 27, 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2011.
  23. ^ Bamberger, Michael. "Second Effort: A work ethic instilled by his father helped the Astros' Craig Biggio convert from All-Star catcher to Gold Glove infielder ", Sports Illustrated, April 1, 1996. Accessed August 2, 2011. "Craig Biggio leads the sort of idealized life that one associates with black-and-white TV.... The house itself—in the charming, sea-battered town of Spring Lake, on the New Jersey shore—is a timeless, fixed-up beauty with an appropriate name, Home Plate, a view of the ocean and the comforting proximity of millionaires."
  24. ^ PolitickerNJ.com, first published October 25, 2005; Accessed December 2, 2011.
  25. ^ "Single Season Grounding Into Double Play Records". baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved April 4, 2012.

External links

Achievements
Preceded by
Miguel Tejada
Hitting for the cycle
April 8, 2002
Succeeded by
Greg Colbrunn
1987 College Baseball All-America Team

An All-American team is an honorary sports team composed of the best amateur players of a specific season for each team position—who in turn are given the honorific "All-America" and typically referred to as "All-American athletes", or simply "All-Americans". Although the honorees generally do not compete together as a unit, the term is used in U.S. team sports to refer to players who are selected by members of the national media. Walter Camp selected the first All-America team in the early days of American football in 1889.The NCAA recognizes two different All-America selectors for the 1987 college baseball season: the American Baseball Coaches Association (since 1947) and Baseball America (since 1981).

1994 Houston Astros season

The Houston Astros' 1994 season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Houston Astros attempting to win the inaugural season of the National League Central division; they finished in second place. First baseman Jeff Bagwell was a unanimous selection for the National League Most Valuable Player Award. Despite nearly the last two months of the being cancelled due to the 1994–95 strike, Bagwell set a then-club record for home runs with 39 and a club record for batting average (.368) and slugging percentage (.750).

1995 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1995 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 66th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 11, 1995, at The Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Texas Rangers of the American League. It was the first All-Star Game held in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but not the first hosted by the franchise (as the Washington Senators, the team hosted the game in 1962 and 1969).

In this All-Star Game, American League pitchers held National League batters to just three base hits, but all three were home runs. The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 3-2. This is also the most recent All-Star Game to be televised by the ABC television network.

Because of the MLBPA Strike, and the lack of official champions, the leagues chose to designate the managers of the unofficial league champions (teams with the best record at the time of abandonment of the season) as managers for this All-Star Game.

There were two color guards participating in the pregame ceremonies. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police National Color Guard from Ottawa, Ontario, carried the Canadian flag, while the 1995-96 Del Rio (TX) High School ROTC Color Guard carried the American flag. Country singer Michelle Wright later sang "O Canada", while fellow country singer (and native Texan) Lyle Lovett sang "The Star-Spangled Banner". Nolan Ryan threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

National League President Len Coleman presented Jeff Conine with the All-Star Game MVP Award in lieu of the Commissioner of Baseball, marking the second year in a row that Coleman presided over the MVP Award presentation.

2005 Houston Astros season

The Houston Astros' 2005 season was a season in which the Houston Astros qualified for the postseason for the second consecutive season. The Astros overcame a sluggish 15–30 start to claim the wild card playoff spot, and would go on to win the National League pennant to advance to the World Series for the first time in franchise history. It was longtime Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell's final season and first World Series appearance.

2007 Houston Astros season

The Houston Astros' 2007 season began with the team trying to take the NL Central title back from the World Series winners, the St. Louis Cardinals, after the Cardinals won it in 2006. They will have to do so without Jeff Bagwell, who retired after the Astros declined option on his contract for 2007, as well as pitchers Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens, who both filed for free agency on November 6. To make up for losing those key players, they signed pitcher Woody Williams, and traded with the Colorado Rockies for Jason Jennings, and Miguel Asencio. The largest offseason move the Astros made was signing outfielder Carlos Lee to a 6-year contract worth $100 million, the most in franchise history. On June 28, second baseman Craig Biggio achieved his 3,000th career hit. The club officially retired Bagwell's jersey number 5 on August 26.

2015 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2015 proceeded according to rules most recently amended in 2014. As in the past, the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from a ballot of recently retired players, with results announced on January 6, 2015. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martínez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio were elected to the Hall of Fame. It was the first time since 1955 that the BBWAA elected four players in one year.The Golden Era Committee, one of three voting panels by era that replaced the more broadly defined Veterans Committee following an earlier rules change in July 2010, convened at Major League Baseball's winter meetings in San Diego on December 8, 2014 to select from a ballot of 10 retired players and non-playing personnel who made their greatest contributions to the sport between 1947 and 1972. None of these candidates received enough votes to be elected.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies were held on July 26 at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, with new commissioner Rob Manfred presiding for the first time. On the day before the actual induction ceremony, the annual Hall of Fame Awards Presentation took place. At that event, two awards for media excellence were presented – the Hall's Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters and the BBWAA's J. G. Taylor Spink Award for writers. The other major Hall of Fame award, the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, was not scheduled to be presented again until 2017. Among the other portions of the ceremonies was a presentation by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus honoring the service of baseball personnel in World War II; he also announced the naming of the littoral combat ship USS Cooperstown.

3,000 hit club

In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 3,000 hit club is the group of batters who have collected 3,000 or more regular-season hits in their careers. Cap Anson was the first to join the club on July 18, 1897, although his precise career hit total is unclear. Two players—Nap Lajoie and Honus Wagner—reached 3,000 hits during the 1914 season. Ty Cobb became the club's fourth member in 1921 and became the first player in MLB history to reach 4,000 hits in 1927; he ultimately finished his career with 4,191. Pete Rose became the second player to reach 4,000 hits on April 13, 1984 while playing for the Montreal Expos. Cobb, also the major leagues' all-time career batting average leader, remained the MLB hit leader until September 11, 1985, when Rose collected his 4,192nd hit. Rose, the current record holder, finished his career with 4,256 hits. Roberto Clemente's career ended with precisely 3,000 hits, reaching the mark in the last at bat of his career on September 30, 1972.In total, 32 players have reached the 3,000 hit mark in MLB history. Of these, 17 were right-handed batters, 13 were left-handed, and two were switch hitters, meaning they could bat from either side of the plate. Ten of these players have played for only one major league team. Six players—Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez—are also members of the 500 home run club. At .367, Cobb holds the highest career batting average among club members, while Cal Ripken Jr. holds the lowest at .276. Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Wade Boggs are the only players to hit a home run for their 3,000th hit and Paul Molitor and Ichiro Suzuki are the only players to hit a triple for their 3,000th; all others hit a single or double. Craig Biggio was thrown out at second base attempting to stretch his 3,000th hit, a single, into a double. Biggio and Jeter are the only players whose 3,000th hit came in a game where they had five hits; Jeter reached base safely in all of his at bats. The most recent player to join the club is Pujols, who collected his 3,000th hit on May 4, 2018, while playing for the Los Angeles Angels.Baseball writer Josh Pahigian writes that reaching 3,000 hits has been "long considered the greatest measure of superior bat handling", and it is often described as a guarantee of eventual entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame. All eligible players with 3,000 or more career hits with the exception of Palmeiro, whose career has been tainted by steroid allegations, have been elected to the Hall, and since 1962 all who have been inducted were elected on the first ballot, except for Biggio. Rose is ineligible for the Hall of Fame because he was permanently banned from baseball in 1989. After four years on the ballot, Palmeiro failed to be named on 5% of ballots in 2014, and accordingly his name was removed from the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot for future elections, although it is possible that the Veterans Committee could select him. Twenty-one different teams have had a player reach 3,000 hits.

Barry Axelrod

Barry Axelrod is a sports agent from the United States.

Axelrod, a graduate of UCLA Law School, is an attorney who specializes in sports, entertainment and business law. Axelrod has continually been active in many sports associations and fund raisers. He has served on the United States Anti-Doping Agency; dealing with several issues surrounding drugs and sports. Axelrod, a sports agent, has a large client list that includes: Jake Peavy, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Matt Morris, Matt Clement, Phil Nevin, as well as Arizona Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers, broadcasters Rick Sutcliffe, Mark Grace and Wally Joyner, actors Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber, and lastly professional figure skater Michelle Kwan. (see this page).

Houston Astros award winners and league leaders

This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Houston Astros professional baseball team.

Killer B's (Houston Astros)

The Killer B's were players on the Houston Astros whose names started with the letter B.

List of Houston Astros first-round draft picks

The Houston Astros, originally called the "Colt .45s", are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Houston, Texas. They play in the American League West division. Since the institution of Major League Baseball's Rule 4 Draft, the Astros have selected 56 players in the first round. Officially known as the "First-Year Player Draft", the Rule 4 Draft is Major League Baseball's primary mechanism for assigning amateur baseball players from high schools, colleges, and other amateur baseball clubs to its franchises. The draft order is determined based on the previous season's standings, and the team that had the worst record receives the first pick. In addition, teams which lost free agents in the previous off-season may be awarded compensatory or supplementary picks. The First-Year Player Draft is unrelated to the 1961 expansion draft in which the Astros initially filled their roster.

Of the 56 players picked in the first round by Houston, 24 have been pitchers, the most of any position; 21 of these were right-handed, while 3 were left-handed. Nine catchers were selected, while nine outfielders, nine shortstops, two first basemen, and two third basemen were taken as well. The team also selected one player at second base. Thirteen of the players came from high schools or universities in the state of California, while Texas and Tennessee follow with five and three players, respectively. They have also drafted two players from outside the United States: Carlos Correa (2012) and Ramón Castro (1994), both from Puerto Rico.The Astros won their first World Series title in 2017 with three of their first-round picks on the World Series roster—Correa, series MVP George Springer (2011), and Alex Bregman (2015). One Astros first-round pick is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Craig Biggio (1987), who played his entire 20-season MLB career (1988–2007) with the Astros and became a member of the 3,000 hit club, was elected to the Hall in 2015. Carlos Correa is the only Astros first-round pick to have won a Rookie of the Year award, joining Jeff Bagwell (1991, originally drafted by the Red Sox) as the two Astros to win ROY. No Astros first round pick has won a Most Valuable Player award or Cy Young Award with the team. Brad Lidge (1998) won the Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2008 with the Philadelphia Phillies, his first season after leaving the Astros.The Astros have made 12 selections in the supplemental round of the draft. They have made the first overall selection in the draft five times; in 1976, 1992, 2012, 2013, and 2014. They have had 16 compensatory picks since the institution of the First-Year Player Draft in 1965. These additional picks are provided when a team loses a particularly valuable free agent in the prior off-season, or, more recently, if a team fails to sign a draft pick from the previous year. The Astros have failed to sign three of their first-round picks. First, pitcher Randy Scarbery (1970) did not sign though the Astros received no pick in compensation. John Burke (1991) and Brady Aiken (2014) also did not sign. The Astros were given the 37th pick of the 1992 draft and a pick in the 2015 draft in compensation.

List of Houston Astros team records

This is a list of individual single-season records for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball.

List of Major League Baseball career doubles leaders

In baseball, a double is a hit in which the batter advances to second base in one play, with neither the benefit of a fielding error nor another runner being put out on a fielder's choice. A batter may also be credited with a ground-rule double when a fair ball, after touching the ground, bounds into the stands or becomes lodged in a fence or scoreboard.Hall of Fame center fielder Tris Speaker holds the Major League Baseball career doubles record with 792. Pete Rose is second with 746, the National League record. Speaker, Rose, Stan Musial (725), and Ty Cobb (724) are the only players with more than 700 doubles. Craig Biggio has the most career doubles by a right-handed hitter with 668. Only doubles hit during the regular season are included in the totals (Derek Jeter holds the record in post-season doubles, with 32).

List of Major League Baseball career hit by pitch leaders

In baseball, hit by pitch (HBP) is a situation in which a batter or his clothing or equipment (other than his bat) is struck directly by a pitch from the pitcher; the batter is called a hit batsman (HB). A hit batsman is awarded first base, provided that (in the plate umpire's judgment) he made an honest effort to avoid the pitch, although failure to do so is rarely called by an umpire. Being hit by a pitch is often caused by a batter standing too close to, or "crowding", home plate.

Below is the list of the top 100 Major League Baseball players who have been hit by a pitch the most during their MLB careers.

Hughie Jennings holds the Major League record for most hit by pitches, getting hit 287 times in his career. Craig Biggio (285), Tommy Tucker (272), Don Baylor (267), Jason Kendall (254), Ron Hunt (243), Dan McGann (230), and Chase Utley (204) are the only other players to be hit by 200 or more pitches during their careers.

List of Major League Baseball doubles records

Major League Baseball has various records related to doubles.

Players denoted in boldface are still actively contributing to the record noted.

(r) denotes a player's rookie season.

List of Silver Slugger Award winners at second base

The Silver Slugger Award is awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), as determined by the coaches and managers of Major League Baseball (MLB). These voters consider several offensive categories in selecting the winners, including batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage, in addition to "coaches' and managers' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value". Managers and coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their own team. The Silver Slugger was first awarded in 1980 and is given by Hillerich & Bradsby, the manufacturer of Louisville Slugger bats. The award is a bat-shaped trophy, 3 feet (91 cm) tall, engraved with the names of each of the winners from the league and plated with sterling silver.Among second basemen, Ryne Sandberg, who played 15 seasons with the Chicago Cubs in his 16-year career, owns the most Silver Sluggers with seven wins, including five consecutive from 1988 to 1992. Three other National League players have won the award four times. Jeff Kent (2000–2002, 2005) won three consecutive awards with the San Francisco Giants, before adding a fourth with the Los Angeles Dodgers; Craig Biggio, who played his entire career with the Houston Astros, won the award four times as a second baseman (1994–1995, 1997–1998) after winning another as a catcher. Chase Utley followed Kent's last win by capturing four consecutive awards (2006–2009).In the American League, José Altuve and Robinson Canó have won five Silver Slugger awards. Altuve won five consecutive awards (2014–2018), all with the Astros, while Cano won all five of his Silver Slugger awards as a member of the New York Yankees, including four consecutive wins (2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). Altuve and Cano's five Silver Slugger awards are second-most all-time for a second baseman and first among American League winners, ahead of four second basemen who are all four-time winners in the American League. Roberto Alomar won the award at the same position with three different teams (Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians). Julio Franco won four consecutive awards (1988–1991) with two different teams, and Lou Whitaker won four awards in five years (1983–1985, 1987) with the Detroit Tigers.Altuve holds the record for the highest batting average in a second baseman's Silver Slugger-winning season with the .346 mark he set in 2017. In the National League, Daniel Murphy's .347 batting average in 2016 ranks first. Willie Randolph, who won the inaugural award in the 1980 season, set a record for on-base percentage (.427) that has not yet been broken. Chuck Knoblauch is second behind Randolph in the American League with a .424 on-base percentage, a mark that was tied by Jeff Kent in 2000 to set the National League record. That year, Kent also set the record among second basemen for highest slugging percentage (.596) and the National League record for runs batted in (125). Bret Boone is the overall leader in runs batted in (141) and holds the American League record for slugging percentage (.578); both of these records were established in 2001. Sandberg hit 40 home runs in 1990, the most ever by a second baseman in a winning season, while Alfonso Soriano set the American League mark with 39 in 2002.

Second baseman

In baseball and softball, second baseman is a fielding position in the infield, between second and first base. The second baseman often possesses quick hands and feet, needs the ability to get rid of the ball quickly, and must be able to make the pivot on a double play. In addition, second basemen are usually right-handed; only four left-handed throwing players have ever played second base in Major League Baseball since 1950. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the second baseman is assigned the number 4.

Good second basemen need to have very good range, since they have to field balls closer to the first baseman who is often holding runners on, or moving towards the base to cover. On a batted ball to right field, the second baseman goes out towards the ball for the relay. Due to these requirements, second base is sometimes a primarily defensive position in the modern game, but there are hitting stars as well.

Silver Slugger Award

The Silver Slugger Award is awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League, as determined by the coaches and managers of Major League Baseball. These voters consider several offensive categories in selecting the winners, including batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage, in addition to "coaches' and managers' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value". Managers and coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their own team. The Silver Slugger was first awarded in 1980 and is given by Hillerich & Bradsby, the manufacturer of Louisville Slugger bats. The award is a bat-shaped trophy, 3 feet (91 cm) tall, engraved with the names of each of the winners from the league and plated with sterling silver.The prize is presented to outfielders irrespective of their specific position. This means that it is possible for three left fielders, or any other combination of outfielders, to win the award in the same year, rather than one left fielder, one center fielder, and one right fielder. In addition, only National League pitchers receive a Silver Slugger Award; lineups in the American League include a designated hitter in place of the pitcher in the batting order, so the designated hitter receives the award instead.Home run record-holder Barry Bonds won twelve Silver Slugger Awards in his career as an outfielder, the most of any player. He also won the award in five consecutive seasons twice in his career: from 1990 to 1994, and again from 2000 to 2004. Retired former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza and former New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez are tied for second, with ten wins each. Rodriguez' awards are split between two positions; he won seven Silver Sluggers as a shortstop for the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers, and three with the Yankees as a third baseman. Wade Boggs leads third basemen with eight Silver Slugger Awards; Barry Larkin leads shortstops with nine. Other leaders include Ryne Sandberg (seven wins as a second baseman) and Mike Hampton (five wins as a pitcher). Todd Helton and Albert Pujols are tied for the most wins among first baseman with four, although Pujols has won two awards at other positions. David Ortiz has won seven awards at designated hitter position, the most at that position.

Sunshine Kids Foundation

The Sunshine Kids Foundation is a non-profit organization established in Houston, Texas in 1982 by Cristian SaavedraRhoda Tomasco[1] that provides a variety of free programs and events for children who are receiving cancer treatments in hospitals across the United States and North America.

Since 2001, the executive director of the Sunshine Kids Foundation has been actor G.W. Bailey, who has volunteered with the group for over fifteen years since being introduced to the organization by his goddaughter, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 1982.

The Charity Navigator, a group dedicated to the evaluation of charity groups, gave The Sunshine Kids Foundation its highest rating of four stars in 2006. In 2004, the group had a total revenue of over $1.9 million, and spent nearly $1.3 million on program expenses.[2]The most well-known supporters of The Sunshine Kids are Bailey and retired Houston Astros legend Craig Biggio, who has been the organization's national spokesperson for more than 10 years. He wore a Sunshine Kids pin on his hat during Spring Training for over 15 years, the majority of his career. It also appeared on his '3000 hits' banner when he reached the historic milestone during his final season.

Craig Biggio—awards and honors

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