clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Craig Biggio elected to Baseball Hall of Fame, Jeff Bagwell left out again

New, 141 comments

Biggio elected, Bagwell left outside of Hall once again.

Houston finally has a Hall of Famer of its own.

Craig Biggio was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday, along with Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz.

Biggio received 454 of the possible 549 votes this year, good for 82.7 percent. He easily cleared the 75 percent bar for election. Longtime teammate Jeff Bagwell, however, received just 55.7 percent of the vote, finishing behind Mike Piazza for the sixth-most votes.

Biggio garnered 74.8 percent of the vote in 2014, falling two votes shy of election in his second year on the ballot. In his first season, Biggio got 68.2 percent of the ballot.

The former Astro was drafted in 1987 with the No. 22 pick in the first round out of Seton Hall. Biggio spent 20 seasons in Houston, hitting .281/.363/.433 while playing catcher, second base and center field. Biggio finished with a club-record 3,060 hits, 291 home runs and 414 stolen bases.

Biggio was named to seven All-Star teams while winning four Silver Slugger awards and four Gold Gloves at second base. His highest finish in the MVP voting came in 1997, when he took fourth place after hitting .309/.415/.501 with 22 home runs, 47 steals and 37 doubles, helping the Astros to the postseason for the first time since 1986.

Biggio's best season may have come that year, when he was worth 9.4 bWAR, thanks to 25 runs above average in the field and seven more on the basepaths. Biggio topped 2.0 bWAR 14 times in his career and had a span of nine straight seasons of 4.0 bWAR or better.

That streak of productivity ended when Biggio suffered a catastrophic knee injury midway through the 2000 season, when Preston Wilson slid into his leg in the seventh inning of a 4-3 win over the Marlins. At 34, Biggio's speed was likely on the decline, but the second baseman still only stole 56 bases in the next seven seasons. He averaged 31 steals per season from 1989-1999.

Biggio holds the Astros career records for most games played (2,850), most runs scored (1,844), most hits, most total bases (4,711), most doubles (668), most extra-base hits (1,014) and most hit-by-pitches (285). He is fifth all-time in baseball history in doubles, 21st in hits, 15th in runs scored and is second in HBPs.

Bagwell failed to be elected for a fifth time. After reaching 59.6 percent of the vote in 2013, Bagwell's total fell to 54.3 percent in 2014. This year, the Hall of Fame changed its voting guidelines, limiting players to 10 years on the ballot. Bagwell will have five more chances to clear the 75 percent necessary for election.

Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) members are eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame after 10 consecutive years of membership. This year, those writers also were required to fill out a registration form to vote and sign a code of conduct. That's in response to Miami Herald columnist Dan Le Batard selling his vote to Deadspin last season. Le Batard had his vote stripped by the Hall and was placed on suspension by the BBWAA.

Biggio will be the first player inducted into the Hall of Fame wearing an Astros hat. Former Astros like Nolan Ryan and Joe Morgan are enshrined in Cooperstown, but none wore an Astros cap on their official plaque.

Former Astros Randy Johnson was also elected to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, garnering a near-unanimous 97.3 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot. He joins fellow first-ballot hurler Pedro Martinez in this class, along with Braves pitcher John Smoltz.

Johnson pitched for the Astros in 1998, after being traded from Seattle for pitchers John Halama, Freddy Garcia and shortstop Carlos Guillen. Johnson started 11 games for Houston, throwing 84 innings with a 1.28 ERA and 116 strikeouts with 26 walks.

He started two games against the Padres in the NL Division Series, throwing 14 innings with a 1.93 ERA and 17 strikeouts, yet losing both contests.

This is the second straight season that more than two players were elected into the Hall of Fame and marks just the second time since 1999 that three or more players were elected in the same year.

The last time it happened, Nolan Ryan, George Brett and Robin Yount all went in together, with Ryan and Brett each garnering over 98 percent of the vote.

It was the first time since 1955 that four players were elected in the same year by baseball writers. Back then, it was Joe DiMaggio, Ted Lyons, Dazzy Vance and Gabby Hartnett all going in together.