In his second year on the ballot, Houston Astros icon Craig Biggio has come up just two votes short in his quest to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Only 74.8 percent of the 571 Baseball Writers' Association of America members voted for Biggio — two-tenths below the 75 percent that is required for election.
Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and White Sox slugger Frank Thomas earned election in their first year of eligibility and will join managers Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre at the induction ceremony this summer.
Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell earned only 54.3 percent in his fourth year of the ballot, down from 59.6 percent last year.
In his second year on the ballot, Houston Astros icon Craig Biggio came up just two votes short.
Biggio's snub is positively mind-boggling. His Hall-worthy statistics speak for themselves, starting with his 3,060 hits, which is 21st all time. He also hit the most doubles (668) of any right-handed hitter in baseball history.
Biggio played in seven All Star games and earned four Gold Gloves awards. He is the Astros all-time team leader in a variety of statistics including Opening Day starts (19), at bats, hits, runs and doubles. He broke into the league as a catcher before moving to second base and even played center field for a couple seasons to accommodate Jeff Kent.
While some voters have dismissed Biggio as a "compiler" who was merely pretty good rather than great for a long time, baseball writers Joe Posnanski points to Biggio's six year peak from 1994 to 1999 when he "hit .306/.401/.473, scored 120 runs a year, hit 20 or so homers a year, stole 35 bases a year, (and) won four Gold Gloves." Posnanski ranks Biggio the 93rd greatest baseball player of all time.
As good as Biggio was, Bagwell, statistically, was even better. That's reflected in Bagwell's higher career WAR (79.5 vs 64.9). He is the Astros all-time leader in home runs, RBI and walks. Bagwell's 449 home runs, a total depressed by years playing in the cavernous Astrodome, still ranks 36th all time, and his career OPS of .948 is 21st. Bagwell also played great defense and was a smart baseball runner (over 200 steals).
Some writers' suspicions that Bagwell may have used performance-enhancing drugs is cited for his exclusion from the Hall, even though he has consistently denied use and never tested positive. "Bagwell's incredibly well-rounded game makes him a blatantly worthy Hall of Famer," wrote Grantland's Jonah Keri. "His exclusion from the Hall of Fame will remain a black mark against voters until they put him in."
Together, Bagwell and Biggio led the Astros to their greatest period of success with six playoff appearances between 1997 and 2005, when the team made its only appearance in the World Series. They are the greatest players in franchise history, which is why their statutes are displayed outside Minute Maid Park. Both are Hall-worthy. Eventually, the voters will come to their senses and enshrine them.
Elsewhere, Houstonian Roger Clemens earned 35.4 percent in his second year on the ballot. Clemens earned seven Cy Young awards, is third all-time in strikeouts and ninth all-time in wins; he is, in other words, one of the greatest pitchers to have ever played the game. Unfortunately, his candidacy is also marred by PED accusations.