FanDuel - WFBC

February 26, 2008

The Epic of Craig Biggio: You ever go to a movie, it' s pretty good for about an hour and a half but then the story is over but it's like the director can't find the ending so it goes on for another half-hour looking for some way to tie things together? That's kind of Biggio's career; it was over, and then it went on for quite awhile.

posted by justgary to baseball at 09:38 AM - 18 comments

I hate Graig Biggio. I hate him with the white hot burning intensity of a supernova. However if i were not a cardinal fan who was sick of having him as a thorn in my side a long time ago, i would love Craig Biggio. He would probably be my favorite player. i would have his jerseys. Home and away. I would tell my kids to play the game like he does. But alas! He was an Astro. What a little pain in the ass he was. I have the same appreciation for him now, that i have for Troy Aikman (i'm a 49ers fan) now that he's gone. Im glad he has his 300 hits, and i hope to see him in the Hall of Fame.

posted by elijahin24 at 10:08 AM on February 26

I am a Cardinals fan, and having the Astros in the same division has given me the opportunity to see Craig Biggio play a lot. I've always been a big fan of him, purely based on his style of play. He always plays hard, he plays everyday, and as the article stated, he's willing and able to move around the field. I guess he's a - jack of all trades, master of none - type guy. Or to broadcasters he'd be "scrappy". But my favorite part about him? Easy. I seem to latch on to the players that spend their entire career in the same city. (see Yzerman, Steve - and yes, I'm a Blues fan too.) I wish more players would exude that level of loyalty. I understand why it doesn't work that way (money), just wish it was different.

posted by BoKnows at 10:12 AM on February 26

Ha, I just came here to post the same thing. Definitely worth a read (hint, hint) I guess he's a - jack of all trades, master of none - type guy. I'd say he was the exact opposite, a master of a number of small skills that made him comparable to more recognizable, one-dimensional players.

posted by yerfatma at 10:20 AM on February 26

I'd say he was the exact opposite, a master of a number of small skills that made him comparable to more recognizable, one-dimensional players. I would never consider him a master catcher, a master 2nd baseman, a master in center, or a master at the plate. (Although he was a master at stepping into a pitch.) With that said, he was definitely solid (better than average) at all those positions.

posted by BoKnows at 10:30 AM on February 26

From the article:

"[Biggio was a] player who wasn't a star, but who was just as valuable as the superstars because of his exceptional command of a collection of little skills—getting on base, and avoiding the double play, and stealing a base here and there, and playing defense. Here was the guy who scored 120 runs every year because he hit 45 or 50 doubles every year and walked 70 to 90 times a year and led the majors in being hit with the pitch and hardly ever grounded into a double play and somehow stole 25 to 50 bases every year although he really had very average speed."

posted by yerfatma at 10:43 AM on February 26

From Baseball-Reference.com: Biggio stats. I got your point yerfatma, but the stats in the article are a little exaggerated. He was no doubt a solid player and his lengthy career has earned him HOF status. The article is not religion, so I'll stick to my opinion.

posted by BoKnows at 10:53 AM on February 26

I hated the way he (and others) let himself get hit by pitches constantly. That stupid elbow armor. But I did admire that he hung around forever and seemed to enjoy playing the game.

posted by mbd1 at 11:23 AM on February 26

I would never consider him a master catcher, a master 2nd baseman, a master in center, or a master at the plate. (Although he was a master at stepping into a pitch.) With that said, he was definitely solid (better than average) at all those positions. How do you define being a master at a position? Four straight gold gloves at second base (which was not even his natural position) doesn't do it? 3000+ hits doesn't make him a fantastic hitter?

posted by Chargdres at 11:32 AM on February 26

I am a big Astros fan and always have been. I respected the fact that Biggio turned down more money to stay with the Astros. He is a class act off the field as well. There is a lot to be learned from him as a man and a player. He busted his tail and did the right things. There are so many disappointing stories out there right now about guys in trouble for all kinds of things. It has taken away from the joy of sports. As they say, one bad apple... Thanks Biggio for giving me a lot of great years to watch you... Baggs and Berkman too... The money isn't everything... Now Baggs and Biggio can work together on the executive side of the game and enjoy more years staying envolved.

posted by bruce2ww at 11:50 AM on February 26

I watched Biggio from his rookie year until he retired in 2007. Used to go to the Dome before Minute Maid was built. The guy was fun to watch and he'll be missed by the people in Houston. Thanks Craig, it was a joy to watch ya.

posted by texasred at 11:59 AM on February 26

3000+ hits doesn't make him a fantastic hitter? He was a great hitter. Absolutely. Fantastic, Yes! But I used the term - jack of all trades, master of none. What I mean by that is, he was not a hitter only, nor was he a fielder only. He was above average in all those places, but he's not going into the HOF because he was a 4 time Gold Glove winner at 2nd base. He's gonna go in because he was above average in many different facets. How do you define being a master at a position? How do I? Well, I'll try. One example: Yadier Molina. His mastery is catching, great at blocking the plate, keeping balls in front of him, gunning down runners at second, picking players off 1st and 3rd, and managing the starters. Hitting for him is a different story, not great, but tolerable due to his defensive abilities. I would consider him a master at his position. He will always be known as a catcher. Craig Biggio was good, even great, at everything he did for baseball and the Astros. What position do you associate with Biggio? Catcher, 2nd, or CF? Or is it as a hitter? There are so many things he was good/great at, for sure. Rather than associate Biggio with a single attribute, I associate him at being good at everything, but not a master at any one thing.

posted by BoKnows at 12:03 PM on February 26

The first major league game I ever attended happened to be Biggio's 15th as a pro, so I've always liked him for that silly reason. It's amazing that he was able to play with oldies like Terry Puhl, Bill Doran, and Buddy Bell (whose son, he outlasted), and fresh faces like Hunter Pence.

posted by cl at 12:03 PM on February 26

From Baseball-Reference.com: Biggio stats . . . the stats in the article are a little exaggerated. He was no doubt a solid player and his lengthy career has earned him HOF status. You undermine your own opinion by linking to his career numbers. If you wanted stats that downplay Biggio's contributions, you should have gone with the ones in the article you claim overrates him. That the article is about why Biggio is no longer James' favorite player makes it confusing that you could have read the article and still claim it overrates him. The Similar Batters list from your link shows 8 Hall of Fame middle infielders. The fact Biggio was willing to play at 3 positions (and well defensively at one of them, second base) shouldn't hurt him. Yadier Molina is in the league because his glovework compensates for how awful his bat is. It's a funny standard to hold Biggio to-- would you want 20 years of Molina's bat in the Cardinals lineup?

posted by yerfatma at 12:37 PM on February 26

You undermine your own opinion by linking to his career numbers. No. I linked to that to prove he wasn't a "master" hitter. You pulled a portion of the article that featured statistics. I was merely pointing out that those stats aren't entirely accurate. And this, I'd say he was the exact opposite, a master of a number of small skills that made him comparable to more recognizable, one-dimensional players. , and your article quote is the same thing, you just re-worded it. So, I'm not sure if I'm getting your opinion or if you're trying to bait me. For your info, no matter how you spin it, my opinion is going to stay the same on Biggio, you don't have to agree. I'd be happy to continue this discussion, but instead of trashing my opinions, you should debate yours. It's a funny standard to hold Biggio to-- would you want 20 years of Molina's bat in the Cardinals lineup? Yes. Absolutely. For me, his defensive ability is well worth the low BA. I watch that team everyday, and though his contributions don't show up in the Cardinals "runs scored" category, he can easily take a run or two away from the other team. If it's a bad comparison then how about Ozzie Smith? Would you consider his batting average or his stellar defense when considering the HOF? He was a master a Shortstop. The Oz had some big hits along the way but, again, his defensive ability far exceeded the need of offensive production. Biggio might even be considered a more complete player than The Oz, but they're both HOF-ers for different reasons. The fact Biggio was willing to play at 3 positions (and well defensively at one of them, second base) shouldn't hurt him. I think you have misunderstood my use of the word "jack" in jack of all trades. It's not an insult to Biggio, or to undermine his accomplishments.

posted by BoKnows at 01:08 PM on February 26

I linked to that to prove he wasn't a "master" hitter. Well, you linked to a list of numbers that show for his career (which happened during an inflationary offensive era), he was 11% better than the average player over the course of 20 years. For a 6 year stretch, he was more than 30% better than the average of all hitters at all positions. I'd say that qualifies as "mastering" the skill of hitting. If it's a bad comparison then how about Ozzie Smith? Would you consider his batting average or his stellar defense when considering the HOF? He was a master a Shortstop. I'm with you that people contribute in different ways. Smith is perhaps a better comparison because Molina's bat will never allow him to stay in the league for 20 years. Ozzie was a decent hitter (and sometimes a good hitter) in an era and a league where defense and speed were of greater importance than they are now. He was also a much better hitter over 19 years than Molina's been over 4. Molina's still young and may improve enough to stick in MLB given his defense, but not too many teams would carry a guy whose so much worse than average offensively. The point of the game is to score runs. Defensive players other than the pitcher have an effect on how many runs the other team scores, but it's not as great an effect as they're offensive contributions. As best I can see, it's not even very close. I think you have misunderstood my use of the word "jack" in jack of all trades. It's not an insult to Biggio, or to undermine his accomplishments. The second half of the phrase is "master of none" and the word "jack" means "any common fellow". I don't think I misunderstood.

posted by yerfatma at 01:46 PM on February 26

Biggio is my favorite type of player. Down to earth, not flashy, doesn't need the spotlight, does his job and does it well. Great team player, changed positions when it would benefit the team. I don't like the elbow armor either, but Biggio got plunked b/c it got him on first base, the biggest factor in hitting leadoff. Another thing I've always admired about NL players similar to Biggio is their willingness and ability to hit a routine ground ball when needed to move over a base runner. It gives real meaning to team player.

posted by whitedog65 at 02:03 PM on February 26

I agree with you that Biggio performed at an above average level, in fact I said it too. The article portion said: Here was the guy who scored 120 runs every year because he hit 45 or 50 doubles every year and walked 70 to 90 times a year and led the majors in being hit with the pitch and hardly ever grounded into a double play and somehow stole 25 to 50 bases every year although he really had very average speed." My stat link was to correct that analysis. He did that during a stretch in the 90's, but not since. So to me, that doesn't qualify as every year. The second half of the phrase is "master of none" and the word "jack" means "any common fellow". I don't think I misunderstood. I should have used a different analogy. You definitely picked that one apart. My restated opinion: Biggio performed at an above average level in many different aspects of baseball over his twenty year career. I do not think he was a master at any of those. Good? Yes. Great? Yes. Master? No.

posted by BoKnows at 02:13 PM on February 26

Well debated, gentlemen. That was fun to read. I'd also like to echo the sentiments of previous Cardinals fans in this thread that I'd love Biggio were he not an Astro. The guy always seemed to find ways to get rallies going, AGAINST my team. He was a great player, though, that I can't deny.

posted by boredom_08 at 09:35 AM on February 27

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