Baseball: Craig Biggio Punches His Ticket to the Hall of Fame with His 3,000th Hit – Part 3

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

Earlier this year Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros became the 27th player in major league history to get 3,000 career hits. Another 84 players have 2,500 career hits.

If it were easy to get 3,000 hits, many players would have done it, however, three factors stand in the way:

1) Injuries. Players like Ken Griffrey Jr. would have many more career homers than his current 590 were it not for his injuries.

After moving to the Cincinnati Reds from the Seattle Mariners, Griffey had four injury-prone seasons during which he hit 22, 8, 13 and 20 homers per season. Take away those 4 years from his 19-year career and Griffey averages 35 dingers a season. Without injuries he would have 665 career homers at this point.

2) Longevity. The majority of players have an 8 to 10-year major league career. Only a rare player could average 200 hits a season, and even at that, he would have to play 15 seasons to get 3,000 hits.

Biggio, who is playing his 20th season, has been with the Houston Astros his entire career. He started as a catcher, became a second baseman and has also played in the outfield.

Biggio is the only player in major league history to be chosen an All-Star both as a catcher and as a second baseman.

3) Consistency. Biggio became known as a reliable, consistent leadoff hitter with speed and unusual power for a second baseman. He has 289 career home runs, and needs only 11 more to join the 300-300 club (300 homers and 300 stolen bases), a feat only 6 players have ever accomplished.

Should he reach the 300-300 milestone he would be the only player in history to do it playing for the same team throughout his career. With his 3,000 hits he would join legendary Willie Mays as only the second player ever with 300 homers, 300 stolen bases and 3,000 hits.

Biggio, a 7-time All-Star, is the only player in history to reach at least 2,700 hits (now 3,000 and counting), 250 homers, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases and 1,000 runs batted in during his career.

Biggio also holds the National League record for lead-off career home runs with 52, and has the modern-era, career hit-by-pitcher record (285 times). Despite getting hit by so many pitches, Biggio has never charged the mound or been injured by a pitch.

Reaching 3,000 hits is a huge accomplishment. Every eligible player who has reached the 3,000 hit club after 1962 has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Nineteen sixty-two was the first year players were inducted on the first ballot.

Craig Biggio plans to retire after this season.

Only two players in major league history have 4,000+ career hits. Pete Rose holds the record with 4,256 and the legendary Ty Cobb has 4,191.

Besides Pete Rose, players who have 3,000 career hits since 1958 include Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Carl Yastrzemski, Paul Molitor, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken, Jr., George Brett, Robin Yount, Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield, Rickey Henderson, Rod Carew, Lou Brock, Rafael Palmerio, Wade Boggs, Al Kaline, Roberto Clemente and Craig Biggio.

In addition to Ty Cobb, the old-timers include Tris Speaker, Cap Anson, Honus Wagner, Eddie Collins, Nap Lajoie and Paul Warner.

(Editor’s Note: This is Part 3 of a 3-Part Series.)