Farewell, Craig Biggio
Biggio and Bagwell and two guys that I grew up with. I was never an Astros fan, but being a Pirate fan doesn't leave you with stars to grow up with. Since the Pirates and Astros have been in the same division since 1994, Biggio I've probably seen more of him than any other non-Pirate in the big leagues right now. Everyone will talk this week about his hustle and his grit and his dirty helmet and his willingness to do anything for his team, and all of those are true things about Biggio, but they also irk me. Those are things you say about players that play hard and try hard but aren't particularly good (I'm looking at you David Eckstein). Craig Biggio was a good baseball player.
He's got more doubles than any active player. He's third among active players in total bases, behind only Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. Overall, he's been on base more than any current player not named Barry Bonds, who's in a league of his own when it comes to getting to first base. And yeah, I'm cherry-picking stats, but that's not the point. The point is that under all the pine tar and grit and dirt is a real Hall of Famer. His '93-'99 seasons were about as good as it gets at the plate for second basemen (unless you're Joe Morgan or something). And I know that he's tailed off since about the turn of the century, but things are going to feel seriously weird without him at second base for the Astros next year.