Despite being a Texan by birth, I was never much of a Craig Biggio fan. Just never was enamored with the brand of baseball he played. I should also mention that I’m a huge Cincinnati Reds fan, so that pretty much made it impossible to wholeheartedly cheer on a member of the DisastrosAstros. All that said, as I have aged just a bit, it’s hard to feel anything but respect for the way Biggio conducted himself on and off the field over the course of his remarkably consistent 20-year career. The fact that he spent two decades with a single organization is incredible in and of itself. The reason Sports Radio Interviews is featuring Biggio today is because his longtime friend and teammate, Jeff Bagwell, was recently denied induction into the Hall of Fame in his first appearance on the ballot. Bagwell did receive a healthy percentage of votes however, a good sign for his future if nothing else.
Biggio joined KILT in Houston to talk about being a high school baseball coach, his special relationship with Jeff Bagwell during their playing careers and since their retirements, Bagwell falling short of the necessary votes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, how he thinks Bagwell will be enshrined in Cooperstown at some point in the future, his thoughts on the ‘steroid era’ potentially adversely affecting the candidacies of guys like Bagwell despite there being no cloud of suspicion surrounding him, how shocked he was to see just how impressive Rafael Palmeiro’s career stats were (Palmeiro received far fewer votes than did Bagwell for those keeping score at home), and his reaction to Astros owner Drayton McLane putting the team up for sale.
On what’s new in his life as a high school baseball coach:
“It’s pretty good! When your producer called me a little bit ago, I was on a 16-foot ladder trying to tie down some of my windscreens and stuff that needed a little attending to. So it’s typical life as a high school baseball coach. It’s fun, it’s hard work, but I’m enjoying every minute of it.”
On how much his relationship with Jeff Bagwell means, who of course just recently learned that he wasn’t selected as a 2011 Hall of Fame inductee:
“Well it’s meant a lot to me. I think we were No. 1 or No. 2 all-time as far as baseball lives, two guys playing together for the longest period of time. It doesn’t happen very often and that was from a lot of loyalty from myself, from Jeff, Drayton McLane, and the entire organization. So that means a lot to me. And playing with a guy of his caliber, side by side, day in and day out, trying to go out there and bring a championship to the city of Houston and the organization, it means a lot to me. And Jeff takes a lot of pride in it too. It’s just something we wanted to get done, and we were very fortunate to play together as long as we did. I think if we were two similar players, as far as he was a big home run guy and I was more of a table setter; if we were both big home run guys, we wouldn’t have been able to play together as long as we did because of that – because of the economics of the game. So that’s what makes it even more unique.”
On if he thinks the ‘steroid era’ of baseball might hurt Bagwell’s candidacy even though there’s no reason to associate him with PEDs:
“Well I don’t know. Obviously we’ll find out as we see how this thing goes from here on out for the next few years at least. I sure hope not. I don’t know. It’s just a hard thing to comment on. I just went out there and played the game, and whatever choices people made, they made. But we move on, and we’re a better game because of it now.”
On Rafael Palmeiro getting only 11 percent of the vote despite sporting gaudy Hall of Fame worthy numbers:
“Oh his numbers are crazy. I had never really looked at them before. Once he hit a double against us and it was his 1,000th extra base hit. And there’s only like 30 guys in the history of the game to have 1,000 extra base hits. It was something I just thought about, and then I just looked at his numbers, and he played for another five years after that. So his numbers are just crazy good, but obviously the writers feel strongly because of the other situation.”
On his reaction to Astros owner Drayton McLane putting the Astros on the sale block:
“Well Drayton’s been an unbelievable owner. I’ve had two owners in my life – John McMullen for one, and Drayton McLane for the last 18 or 19 years or whatever it’s been still working with the organization after playing. And he’s been a tremendous owner. I had Phil Garner come by here yesterday, he needed things signed, and we had a nice visit about a lot of different things. And as a player and he was management, when we had an opportunity to win, if there was a player to be had and we could do it with the right deal and the right structure, Drayton was never afraid to pull the trigger and give the organization an opportunity to win. And not every organization and not every owner is willing to do that, so we’ve been very fortunate to have one owner for close to 20 years now. And he loves it. Who knows, he may still own it for another five years. We don’t know where this thing might go. And he might sell it tomorrow. But I think for one thing, we’re very very lucky and fortunate to have such a great man and family man that took us to the World Series for the first time ever in the history of Texas.”