The wait is over. Craig Biggio — one of the most unselfish baseball superstars ever — is in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Houston Astros great makes the Hall in his third year of eligibility after coming excruciatingly close in the past. He is the only position player to make it this year in a historic, pitcher-heavy class. He also becomes the first player who will ever wear the Astros cap into Cooperstown.
Craig Biggio went hard every day. And now after coming up just two vote shorts last year, he goes barreling into the Hall of Fame.
Biggio's numbers are clearly Hall of Fame material: 3,060 hits, 668 doubles, 414 stolen bases and a .281 career batting average. But it's the relentless way he played the game that may have truly defined him.
Craig Biggio went hard every day. And now after coming up just two vote shorts last year, he goes barreling into the Hall of Fame. His vote percentage jumped nearly eight percent to 82.7 percent this year, his third year of eligibility.
"I haven't been this excited or antsy or nervous in any baseball game I ever played," Biggio says.
For Biggio, the Hall call came with plenty of emotion. And supersized anticipation. Biggio admits he woke up at 4:30 a.m. — and only managed to fall back asleep briefly at 7 a.m. There is no time for sleep when baseball immortality is beckoning.
"I was crying," Biggio says of getting the phone call. "I was an emotional mess."
Biggio joins John Smoltz, Randy Johnson — the towering lefthander whose career includes that 10-1 run with the Astros in 1998 — and Pedro Martinez, arguably the most dominant starting pitcher ever considering his stats in the heart of the steroids era. The scrappy Astro is part of a historic class. This is the first time in 60 years that four players have been elected in one class.
Biggio's proved he belongs in a career that included position switches that many other stars would have balked at.
"I have no regrets in my career," Biggio says in his live MLB Network interview. "I did everything the organization asked me to."
Now that team-first attitude will be on display in Cooperstown when Biggio is inducted with this class on July 26.
Jeff Bagwell has the gaudy Wins Above Replacement stats that should make him a cause celebre of seamheads everywhere. But a cloud of steroid suspicion — lack of real evidence be damned — seems to be keeping Bagwell from even coming close. Bagwell finished with 55.7 percent of the vote in his fifth year on the ballot.
That's an uptick over last year, but still far short of the 75 percent mark needed for induction.
Biggio's induction is causing joy in Houston though. Texans star J.J. Watt — who has worn a Biggio throwback jersey to press conferences in the past — tweeted out his excitement minutes after the live TV announcement. That Astros cap is finally getting into the Hall.
"You play 20 years in one city . . . that's hard to do," Biggio says of his Astros distinction. "The fans become part of your life. It's an unbelievable feeling."