Diamond Dirt: Solo Biggio election would make a statement
Well, the moment has finally come: Players wrapped around steroid controversies are on the baseball hall of fame ballot.
And it includes three guys who have their supporters and their haters — Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa.
Out of the three it appears only Clemens has the only route to enshrinement. Despite trials and accusations and this and that, there has been nothing that points to Clemens using anything but water. But the accusations and negativity around Clemens is too fresh, there hasn't been time for the haters to take a moment and see the light of truth. Plus, there hasn't been time for Clemens himself to get out and be a coach or be involved with a major league club to refurbish his reputation. Trust me, the day he becomes a pitching coach for a competitor, the love for Clemens will come back.
The best thing for the baseball writers to do is elect Craig Biggio unanimously and show those who took steroids — and send a message to those considering using them — that going against the game's rules, not playing naturally can, and will, hurt your career. It's clear Bonds had his issues with steroids and Sosa came forward confessing he used them during the peak of his career.
Biggio is just the best choice of the top four popular names on the list anyway because no one played with more effort, more heart and more dedication than him. Clemens was a great competitor, so was Lee Smith — who had a great career as a closer and is also highly favored on the ballot — but Biggio did everything but pitch.
Biggio was the kind of guy who made pitchers take deep breaths before every pitch because they really had to concentrate to face him. He did everything to beat you offensively. He made hitters and runners groan when he snagged the ball defensively because he very rarely messed up. And when he did he made up for it on the next play or at-bat.
Biggio's 3,000-plus career hits are more than enough to get him into the hall his first time on the ballot and the efforts he made in the field everyday should make him a unanimous choice. He started out as a catcher, moved on to second base and even spent time in the outfield. I can remember when he would start games at catcher and finish the game at second base. He was made of concrete and bricks, it seemed like nothing could stop Craig Biggio and because of him the Houston Astros — the team he spent his entire career with — had successful runs into the postseason becoming the second team in the history of the NL's Central Division to win the pennant in 2005. The Cardinals were the first to do so in 2004.
A franchise can only have so many faces as each baseball season comes along and Biggio is certainly one of Houston's many — and in most eyes he is the only.
There are a number of players waiting for that opportunity to get "the call" with the voice on the other end telling them they've been elected to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame and Biggio should be the one who gets it this year. A lot of folks will say that if he doesn't get in now, he'll get in eventually. Well okay, I get their logic, but if he's going to get in eventually, let's just put him in now and not someone who needs to work his way back in to the hearts of baseball fans after a steroid controversy.
If it were up to me, I'd like to see both Biggio and Smith go in. That'd be quite the induction class to go along with former Cardinals shortstop Marty Marion, who seems to be highly considered by the Veterans Committee.
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