Craig Biggio has done it all in Major League Baseball. He’s a seven-time National League All-Star with four NL Gold Glove Awards. He’s the only player in history to be an All-Star at catcher and second base, has been hit by more pitches than anyone in history and has played for only one team in his entire 19-year major league career.
Called up as a catcher midway through the 1988 season, Biggio didn’t waste any time before winning the starting job from veterans Alex Trevino and Alan Ashby. By 1989, Biggio was providing a spark in the Astros’ lineup as he hit 13 home runs while driving in 60 and stealing 21 bases, good enough to earn the Silver Slugger Award for best-hitting catcher in the National League.
1991 was Biggio’s coming out party as he wound up in the All-Star Game for the first time thanks to a .295 batting average and 19 steals. In 1992, the Astros were growing concerned with Biggio’s legs staying healthy behind the plate. That concern prompted Biggio’s move to second base where he made his home for the next several seasons.
In the ’92 season, Biggio’s stolen base total went from 19 to 38, and his hitting took off from there. Biggio, who now has 281 career home runs, hit over 20 for the first time in 1993, the first of eight times that he would reach that plateau in a season.
Defensively, Biggio had also become one of the best in the business and was rewarded with four consecutive Gold Gloves from 1994.1997. As Biggio was growing into his own at second base, the Astros were starting to gel as a team. Led by the Killer Bs.Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Derek Bell and Sean Berry.the Astros went to the playoffs for the first time in 11 years in 1997.
It wasn’t until 2004, Biggio’s fifth trip to the postseason, that he would really come through at the dish. A combined 7-for-54 during his first four postseason series, Biggio broke out in the 2004 NLDS against the Braves by going 8-for-20 with a home run and four RBI as the Astros won a postseason series for the first time in franchise history.
In 2005, Houston, led by Biggio’s career-high 26 home runs, would win two more postseason series, culminating in their first trip to the World Series. While the World Series didn’t go the way the Astros had hoped after getting swept by the Chicago White Sox, Biggio ended a streak of playing in 2,564 regular season games without playing in the Fall Classic.
Biggio finished the 2006 season with 21 home runs and 62 RBI. He also found himself just 70 hits away from becoming the 27th player in history to record 3,000 hits in a career. All of the others, with the exception of Pete Rose and those not yet eligible, have a plaque in Cooperstown which should already be dusting off a spot for Craig Biggio.
In July 2007, Biggio announced his retirement.
Biggio is a member of the Astros Hall of Fame. He is widely considered to be the best all around position player in club history.
He was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.