I’m sure I’m not alone in not noticing the passing of the MLB Hall of Fame induction ceremony last week. Seeing as how not a single living individual was inducted, Cooperstown probably seemed a little vacant during the usually bustling week of activities. Looking back, one name stands above the rest as being completely shafted by the baseball writers of America, who clearly know more about baseball than anyone else.
Craig Biggio is easily one of the best second baseman to ever play the game. He has the most runs scored of any second baseman ever, and 15th-most by any player in any position ever. Add that to having the second-most home runs, third-most hits and fourth-most stolen bases in the history of second basemen, and you find yourself looking at a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.
But some ‘experts’ beg to differ.
I remember watching the voting speculation and hearing several baseball writers comment that they would not vote for Biggio because he played in the steroid era. They might as well have said they weren’t voting for Biggio because he chose a bad year to be born, at least then people could have laughed at them.
Another writer said his voting deterrent was that Biggio ‘held on for dear life’ for 3000 hits.
Is that even relevant? When people get to 3000 hits, they are nearing the end of their career. Biggio was 41 when he got number 3000. It doesn’t matter how or when he got there, all that matters is that he did. To say that someone ‘held on for dear life’ to get there diminishes the prestige of being part of the club by adding a time limit stipulation. It’s just another case of the baseball writers standing too high and mighty over the game.
Biggio spent his entire 20-year career with the Astros, taking pay cuts on three separate occasions to stay with the team that drafted him. Hall-of-Famers are supposedly judged not only by their skill, but also by their character. If taking three pay cuts to stay with a team isn’t testament to character, what is?
Every single eligible member of the 3000-hit club was inducted into the Hall-of-Fame on their first ballot except for three people. The first is Rafael Palmeiro, whose PED connections prevented him from getting in. The second is Paul Waner, who was eligible at a time when voting was much different. The third is Craig Biggio, who really should have considered being born in a different era.
Biggio will get into the Hall of Fame — that’s not the problem. The problem is that he was denied the honor of being voted in on the first ballot because some baseball writers who think they own the game disliked factors about him that are out of his control. He played the game right in an era where such a style was a rarity.
Unfortunately, the voters could not see that.
It’s just more proof that the way players are voted into the Hall-of-Fame has to change. Just because someone writes articles about baseball doesn’t mean they know everything about the game, and doesn’t mean they’re qualified to decide on who gets into Cooperstown.