Long Island’s Craig Biggio Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Craig Biggio Hall of Fame
Craig Biggio, who grew up on Long Island, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Tuesday, his third time on the ballot. (Wikimedia Commons/eschipul)


After falling two votes shy last year of entering the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Long Island-native Craig Biggio on Tuesday learned that he had appeared on enough ballots this time around to enter Cooperstown.

Biggio, who grew up in Smithtown and attended Kings Park High School, appeared on 82.7 percent of the ballots cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America—comfortably eclipsing the 75-percent threshold to earn induction. It was his third time on the ballot.

“It still hasn’t hit me,” Biggio said at a press conference after the results were announced. “It’s still very surreal.”

Struggling for words, Biggio said his induction was “pretty cool, I gotta be honest with you.”

Biggio will be inducted at a ceremony on July 26 in upstate Cooperstown along with three pitchers: one-time Yankees southpaw Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, the Boston Red Sox ace who happily inflamed and already heated Red Sox-Yankees rivalry (and spent four years with the Mets), and John Smoltz, a key member of the Atlanta Braves’ three-headed pitching monster that included recent hall of fame inductees Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.

Johnson and Martinez, both of whom were on the ballot for the first time, appeared on more than 90 percent of the 549 ballots cast—with Johnson coming in at an impressive 97.3 percent.

Out of the four, Biggio is the only inductee to play for one team during his lengthy career.

He spent 20 years with the Houston Astros—a career that began in 1988, only one year after he was drafted by the franchise in the first round of the amateur draft.

Known for his durability and versatility, Biggio secured more than 3,000 hits while playing three different positions: second base, catcher and outfield.

Biggio’s career was not defined by dominant performances, but rather his longevity, which oftentimes precludes a player from induction.

But Biggio, the consummate teammate, compiled impressive numbers during his 20-year career. He was a reliable defender, having been awarded four gold gloves between 1994-97 at second base. He scored more than 100 runs eight times, slugged 291 home runs and drove in 1,175 runs. A seven-time All-Star, Biggio posted a .400-plus on-base-percentage four times.

Biggio’s .281 batting average belied his offensive production: he hit more doubles than any other player in three different seasons, and twice finished with the most runs scored. He was presented the Silver Slugger award—given to the best offensive player at each position—five times, once as a catcher and four times as a second baseman. Biggio was also a threat on the base paths, five times finishing in the top 10 in stolen bases.

Once again falling short of the ballot cut was Mike Piazza, the former Mets catcher who on the surface would seem to be the perfect candidate for the Hall of Fame. But Piazza, who played during the steroid-era, as did all four inductees, has fallen under suspicion of having tainted numbers despite his never being linked directly to performance enhancing drugs.

The four players most closely associated with baseball’s steroid era—Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa—all fell well short of the 75-percent mark.

Don Mattingly, the beloved Yankees first baseman whose career was derailed by a back injury, received only 9.1 percent of the vote in his final year on the ballot.